Philosophy   |   Curriculum   |   Day

Gentle Dragon Preschool's curriculum is based on a routine of playing, exploring materials, making friends and understanding one's place in the community of children, parents and teacher. We follow the Guidelines for Preschool Learning set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Education, which encourage extending learning opportunities into math (measuring, estimating, counting), science (engineering, building, mapping, balance, categorizing), literacy (language development, vocabulary, early writing and reading) and fine and gross motor games.

We are committed to providing a balance between free play and structured activities. As children enter the classroom every morning, they explore everything from play dough and moon sand to books and blocks. They paint, climb and engage in dramatic play. They play games, solve puzzles and engineer train tracks. Every day at Gentle Dragon should feel special and new, yet comfortable and consistent.

Curriculum themes may be focused on the seasons, interests of the children and families or areas that warrant exploration based on the content of the children's play. Holiday activities are addressed as a way for individual children to share family backgrounds with the group — and for the group to show respect for individuals. We explore multi-cultural activities like cooking, songs and literature. We study geography with a map unit, connecting our community learning to field trips like the post office or farm. And our teacher has a special love of literature, often linking art projects to the daily story.

Our teacher

The teacher/director is responsible for ensuring that Gentle Dragon Preschool complies with Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care (EEC) regulations and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation standards.

The teacher is in charge of the classroom — setting the tone, keeping the children safe and making sure it is well equipped and always engaging. It is also the teacher's responsibility to:
  • Set and carry out developmentally appropriate curriculum goals
  • Set goals for individual children and keep track of progress
  • Communicate with parents about their children on a daily basis
The teacher makes home visits prior to the school year and holds two conferences per year with each family, with written reports about each child. If a child has an Individualized Educational Plan, conferences are held every three months.

Eleanor Sugarman has been our teacher/director — and Gentle Dragon's heart and soul — since 1992. During her tenure, the school became an integral part of Medford Community Partnership Program (prior to our move to Winchester) and became accredited by NAEYC. Eleanor likes to call Gentle Dragon "the smallest accredited preschool in the nation."

Gentle Dragon is proud to announce a successful five year reaccreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Association accredits programs that maintain high quality in many standards including child assessment, curriculum, leadership, physical environment, community relationships, health, and work with families. The teacher maintains a classroom portfolio and a program portfolio that documents over 400 criteria. Gentle Dragon achieved a 95% pass rate and remains one of the smallest accredited schools in the nation. As of the time of reaccreditation (January 2018), Gentle Dragon is only one of two preschools in Medford to receive this accreditation.

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© 1985—2015 Gentle Dragon Preschool. All rights reserved. This organization is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.