History and Philosophy
The Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School, or SPNDS, was started in 1950 by the Reverend Joseph Bishop, Minister at that time, and Mrs. Meme Dickson, a local educator, who became the first Director. The school still reflects the philosohpy of its founders: children should find an adequate expression of their individuality while learning to respect the rights of others. It is under the care of the Nursery Day School Advisory Committee.
At SPNDS children are seen as whole developing beings. All areas of development, social/emotional, cognitive, and physical, are of equal concern. We seek to help children understand and meet their own needs while being aware of the needs of others and of the group itself.
In the classroom, the teachers design their programs with the belief that children learn most and best from taking an active role in the process. Thus experiences are planned that enable the child to manipulate, discover, experience and create. The teacher serves as a facilitator by stimulating the child's thinking and reasoning, by creating an environment that is flexible enough to address the varied levels of development among the children and by being a source of support and information.
Daily Schedule / Activities
The regular Nursery Day School is a five-day-a-week program only. The day usually begins on the playground unless weather prohibits. The large playground includes areas of pavement, grass, and sand. Climbing structures, wheel toys, and movable wooden blocks and toys provide a variety of opportunities for exercise and muscle development. Classrooms are equipped with books, blocks, painting easels, clay, puzzles, music, manipulatives, games, writing materials, and props for dramatic play to provide a variety of individual and group experiences.
At some time during the day each class has a free play time, a structured group time, a music time, and refreshments. The length of each of these activities varies from class to class depending upon the age and characteristics of the group. Special classes such as science, woodshop, creative movement, and art are also offered.
Staff and Special Programs
The staff is composed of experienced teachers and specialists and is headed by Director Debby Richardson. Each child will have a head classroom teacher, an assistant teacher, and other special teachers. Special teachers are employed in art and music, which the children have each day, and in woodshop, science, and creative movement in which they participate once a week. Contact with a variety of adults during the school week adds another valuable dimension to the child's experience.
The Nursery Day School has always been concerned with the education of future teachers interested in preschool children. Thus we have students from Delaware County Community College and Swarthmore College on the premises who intern or are engaged in child-centered research.
Extended Day Program
The Extended Day Program is available to morning session children. The children bring their lunches and remain at school until 3:00 pm.
The program is held in the large downstairs rooms. After lunch and a quiet period, special projects, games, toys and outdoor play are available for creative and free play activity. The educational approach described elsewhere applies here too.
The Kindergarten Program is an enrichment program offered to children who attend public Kindergarten. The children come, with their lunches, to the Nursery Day School for a morning or afternoon session.
The Kindergarten is a 5-day program, and is designed to be supplemental to public school. It offers experiences in woodshop, creative movement, art and music, as well as creative and stimulating activities in a relaxed classroom setting. The Kindergarten curriculum is available upon request.
Applications may be obtained by calling the Nursery Day School or downloaded from our website (please visit Documents). Applications are available in early February. Those interested in the school are advised to call during school hours to arrange a visit.
All children enrolled must be at least three years old by October 1 of the year entering and must be toilet trained. Applications should be received by the school as soon as possible. Notice of acceptance will be received by March 15.
The morning enrollment consists of four groups of 12 to 16 children per group. The morning Kindergarten program is limited to 14 students; the afternoon Kindergarten program is limited to 14 students.
SPNDS is able to offer financial assistance for families in need. The Scholarship Fund is maintained principally through monies raised by the activities of the Parents' Committee and by private contributions. Application for scholarship assistance may be made through the Director.
The Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for
the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Morning Nursery School 9:00am - 11:45am
Extended Day 11:45am - 3:00pm
Morning Kindergarten 9:00am - 12:00pm
Afternoon Kindergarten 11:50am - 3:00pm
Stay and Play 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Early Birds 8:30am - 9:00am