The Harbor School, Bethesda

Average Parent Rating


Parents choose The Harbor School because they want the best possible education for their young children. As one of the few accredited independent schools in the Washington area that focuses exclusively on the intellectual and social development of Preschool through Second Grade students, The Harbor School ensures that children master core skills and concepts that are vital to future academic and social success. What makes The Harbor School special? Our Program The Harbor School’s dynamic academic program prepares students not only for the next level of education, but for life. The Harbor School’s research-based, hands-on program: Uses a multi-sensory approach to meet curricular goals, Teaches to the individual child’s learning style, not to the test, Incorporates special programs with variety and frequency: Art, Music and Performing Arts, Physical Education, Library, and Spanish and Utilizes multiple forms of assessment of each child’s progress. Our Teachers The Harbor School is fortunate to have outstanding faculty who are trained in early childhood education, who love children, and whose goal is to inspire children to be active, creative and confident life-long learners. The Harbor School faculty: Create an engaging, intellectually challenging curriculum with emphasis on the integration of all subject areas, Tailor the multi-sensory, hands-on curriculum to individual learners, Develop our Spiral Curriculum, a school-wide integrated unit of study, Make time for daily conferences with each child, Encourage children to be active socially responsible members of the community by demonstrating, modeling and providing instruction in areas of social interaction, and Communicate frequently with parents about the social and academic progress of each child. Our Class Size At Harbor, we intentionally keep class size small for the benefit of our children. As a result, Harbor students: Experience greater individualized instruction and attention and Engage in dynamic, meaningful social interactions with teachers and fellow students. Our Community At Harbor, your child does not get lost in the crowd, nor do you. All our parents: Belong to the Harbor family, where everyone knows each other's name, Engage in an ongoing dialogue with teachers regarding their child's progress - a hallmark of the Harbor experience, and Share their unique talents and strengths through volunteering. Our Reputation At Harbor, your child will benefit from the strong educational foundation we provide. Harbor students: Develop strong leadership skills - our second graders get to be the "big kids" at school, serving as role models for our younger children, Enjoy lasting friendships/bonds with fellow students, and the entire Harbor community, Gain admission to a wide variety of private/independent schools in the area, and Experience a smooth transition when moving on to the next stage because they leave Harbor with strong academic and social skills. Giving your child the benefit of an education at The Harbor School will allow you to make appropriate long-term educational decisions for your child after he or she has grown and matured in a wonderful nurturing environment. The mission of The Harbor School is to develop the mind and the creative spirit. We believe that children are diverse learners and achieve success by working in a setting that promotes learning, self-expression and creativity. Children are encouraged to question, experiment, explore, take risks and assume responsibility in the world around them. In this way, The Harbor School fosters the child's continuing love of learning and a respect for the uniqueness of each individual. Our community of families and the School's entire professional staff work to provide a positive school environment where children feel safe, nurtured and respected. The Harbor School's Preschool program is dedicated to the development of the whole child. The program, which is offered for children between ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, focuses on encouraging development in all areas - cognitive, social and emotional, and physical. Given that the Preschool years are a time of rapid developmental change, we recognize the importance of providing an environment that is protective and nurturing as well as cognitively challenging. Learning through play is the foundation of the Preschool program because play is the primary way young children learn about the world around them. Throughout the day, the children receive a suitable balance of independent time and teacher-directed activity. Children are given choices and are encouraged to explore and experiment, ask questions and learn to take risks. The program emphasizes open-ended activities in which each child experiences a feeling of success and process is valued over product. Teachers facilitate learning by structuring appropriate play opportunities, modeling positive social interaction and engaging children in developmentally appropriate activities and lessons that lead to success. In this way, children discover "how to learn," take pride in their accomplishments and become confident in their own abilities. The Harbor School's unique Junior Kindergarten program provides a wonderful transition between Preschool and Kindergarten for those children who need an additional year of growth and maturation before beginning the more formal side of school. The JK program fosters the development of problem solving skills, focusing on initiating ideas and resolving conflicts. Junior Kindergarten children develop confidence through cooperation and compromise when working in small or large groups. These students are encouraged to build on ideas and activities as they continue to grow and learn at their own pace. JK children also develop self-confidence and begin to understand the meaning of community service through a system of room jobs. They are ready to be responsible for their own personal belongings and needs and practice these skills every day. The children have a diverse choice of educational settings; they can choose the language arts table with the teacher, play word and math games, work at the art table, play in the building area or housekeeping area, or visit the library corner. Teachers expose the children to Mathematics, Reading readiness, and Writing in a more formalized manner. Longer-term projects are also now possible. Junior Kindergarten children enjoy instruction outside the classroom in other areas including Physical Education, Art, , Spanish, Music and Performing Arts and Library. Junior Kindergartners also have a healthy amount of outdoor play. Kindergarten is an exciting time as the children and teachers work and play together to make learning an unforgettable and enjoyable experience. While learning through play is still an important cornerstone of the program, students are ready for cooperative work in a larger group setting with skill development in all areas as the goal. Teachers gently guide their students to become independent thinkers and cooperative learners in a caring and nurturing classroom environment. Kindergartners are encouraged to show respect for themselves, adults, each other and the environment through modeling and role-playing. Each Kindergarten class writes and posts a set of rules to teach expected positive behavior, promoting a strong social and academic learning environment. In addition to making our Kindergarten a place where children are happy and excited to come to school, the teachers offer a challenging curriculum to help the children acquire the skills and behaviors that will promote their growth - socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Kindergarten students enjoy more direct instruction in Reading, Writing/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. In addition, they continue to enjoy lessons in several special subjects: Art, Library, Music and Performing Arts, Physical Education and Spanish. Kindergartners also enjoy an appropriate amount of outdoor playtime. The First Grade curriculum is designed to promote and encourage learning, self-expression, and creativity in a caring and happy classroom environment. The First Grade program encourages students to assume responsibility in the world around them and provides children with challenges necessary in developing skills for future learning. First Grade is a more formal time where children's activities require a longer period of time to complete. This is an exciting time as reading and writing become a major focus of First Graders' lives and are integrated throughout the curriculum. Instruction in these subjects comes in varied forms -- from reading and responding to the Morning Message, to instructional reading groups, to writing as a class, to individual writing. Likewise, Mathematics instruction is formalized, but also integrated throughout the curriculum as it builds on the activities in the classroom. First Graders continue to enjoy instruction in special subjects including: Art, Library, Music and Performing Arts, Physical Education and Spanish. Second Graders at The Harbor School continue developing and learning in the same positive manner as they did in earlier years. The teacher encourages each child to become an independent, self-motivated learner who takes an active part in his or her own learning process. The curriculum in Second Grade is integrated across subject matters. Math investigations can lend themselves to music or art, and scientific experiments may cross over into language, writing, math and art. Similarly, reading opens the door to the world in Second Grade. Though the children continue to have daily reading lessons in small groups, children also read many fiction and nonfiction books relating to the Science and Social Studies curriculum. Reading and Writing are everyday activities and are done in all subjects including Science, Math, Spanish and Social Studies. Second Graders are Harbor's senior class. As the oldest children in the school, they shoulder greater responsibility. They are encouraged to see themselves as role models for the younger children and realize that teachers and other students have high expectations of them. They act as "buddies" to the Preschool children, preparing stories and games to share with them. Extended Day The Harbor School has a variety of extended day opportunities available. Families may register for these programs on a semester or yearly basis, or in some instances on a drop-in basis when the need arises. These programs are supervised by Harbor faculty, and provide a safe, nurturing and fun place for children to be before and after school.
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8:00am - 5:30pm
3 years - 8 years
Before School Care
After School Care
AIMS, MSDE Accredited
Meals Provided
  Indoor Gym