Stimulating Young Minds Through Education, Activity And The Arts

March 23, 2021

By Nicole Rosenthal

DIX HILLS, NY – In a dynamic and ever-changing world, it has become increasingly important for children to be equipped with necessary social, emotional, and critical thinking tools to navigate the environment around them. Park Shore Country Day School, a premier Long Island preschool and kindergarten for over 60 years, is proud to offer a comprehensive academic curriculum with real-world applications designed to prepare young learners for success.

Conveniently located in Suffolk County, Park Shore Country Day School features individualized programs using a variety of interactive tools, enrichment activities, and cutting-edge technology to promote rigorous literacy, math, geography, history, and science exploration. A variety of 10-month programs are offered for children turning 2, 3, and 4 years old, as well as those entering kindergarten.

“For children to develop and be well-rounded students, they have to be able to maneuver and adjust to all different kinds of settings,” said Education Director Dianne Vitucci. “By having art, music, block play, and much more incorporated into their daily school day, they have a broader perception of building, of sharing, of learning how to work together. If you don’t get that foundation of balanced learning, you’re not going to have the foundation that you need to be successful in school.” 

Each 10-month program runs from September through June, closely following the Half Hollow Hills School District calendar. Several schedule options are available to meet different family needs, with programs running from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Before and aftercare is also available from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Park Shore Country Day School, a Long Island Preschool and Kindergarten,  offers an engaging curriculum with practical applications to challenge young learners through academic, artistic and social learning activities.

Long Island Preschool Offers A Well-Rounded Curriculum

Through activity-based learning that challenges and stimulates active minds, children have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in group projects and problem-solving activities. Students are also able to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology like Smart Boards and a science and robotics STEAM Science Center, as well as an outdoor art studio, library, community garden and multiple recreation areas at Park Shore’s expansive 15-acre campus.

“We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘how else can children learn?’ A lot of it is science and technology. Others learn through creativity and imagination. We provide the tools to accommodate all learning styles,” Vitucci said.

The Education Director describes Park Shore Country Day School’s unique approach to learning as “a well-rounded curriculum that’s educational and hands-on.” Dedicated art time allows children to express themselves while exploring colors, shapes, and the utilization of small motor skills. Physical play fosters interaction and social learning while promoting character education such as respect, teamwork, and responsibility. Specialized music classes establish an understanding of basic mathematical concepts while nurturing collaboration and communication. At Park Shore, communication is emphasized outside of the classroom as well, with teachers regularly updating parents on daily activities and student progress through the Remind phone application.

“Park Shore Country Day School’s well-rounded curriculum was very important to me because I feel that children learn through social interaction, music, movement, and play and I wanted my children to experience all of that with their peers in conjunction with a strong academic curriculum,” added parent Amanda Alaia, whose son Reid has attended the program for the past three years. “The program is wonderful in preparing children for elementary education, the staff is warm and caring and it is such a fun atmosphere for children to learn and grow.” 

“As learners, I credit Park Shore for exposing my sons to all aspects of literacy from the conventions of print to writing their names,” said Ian Morzan, whose sons Roy and Deke have been enrolled in the school for three and one years, respectively. “Roy has blossomed socially and has found a home at Park Shore. Deke continues to develop his social skills and exploration of academics under the guidance of his exceptional and loving teacher Ms.Taneisha … [he is] always excited to discuss and report about his day when he returns home.”

Vitucci adds that, in partnership with its extensive staff, the school consistently updates its curriculum to establish a fresh and engaging rotation of subjects that keep young minds active and inspired.

“It’s all done through fun. It’s not like they’re sitting at a desk and listening,” Vitucci said. “We’re constantly finding new and exciting ideas. We make sure our playgrounds are up to date and we’re always adding new equipment. Every week, there are new lessons on science, math, life skills, and more. Ultimately we are constantly keeping up with their interests.”

Preparing Children For Success In Grade School And Beyond

With small class sizes and access to additional teaching assistants, learners receive individualized attention which caters to their strengths while tapping into areas of growth. Beyond the rigorous academic focus, students are encouraged to teach peers through small groups that maximize social learning skills, promote kindness and reinforce the material in an interactive way.

“The child-to-teacher ratio is very good. Students almost have one-on-one instruction, or are in a very small pod of children with one teacher,” said Maria Mall, a Park Shore educator who teaches four-year-olds. “Every child learns differently, every child is unique. Everyone has their own gift, and we try to foster that and have them be the best that they can be in whatever area that they excel in.”

“At Park Shore, we’re all about kindness,” Vitucci added. “We make special bird feeders for the birds, we always say we’re sorry and we always say thank you. If somebody is sad, we ask, ‘what can we do to make you happy?’ Empathy, respect, and kindness are strong values in the school. It’s more important now than ever, due to COVID-19, that we reinforce just that: when we can’t hug our friends, we show kindness in other ways.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Park Shore has remained dedicated to prioritizing the safety of families and staff by following rigid CDC, New York State, and Suffolk County Health Department guidelines. Protocols including playground sanitization, hand hygiene reinforcement, and small pod sizes have all been implemented to maintain the highest standard of safety without sacrificing essential interpersonal connections and social learning. 

According to Vitucci, Park Shore Country Day School’s ability to successfully merge academics, artistic and social tools has cemented its status as a trusted leader in early childhood education.

“I hope that every child leaves feeling confident that they are kind, that they are loved, and that they are smart,” Vitucci said. “We encourage, we expose, we give all our students every opportunity to learn academically. Combined with arts, technology, and free play, it’s a balanced program. We want each and every child to be prepared for success in grade school and in life. That’s what we’re all about.”