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Early Childhood

Toddlers | Two-year-olds
PreKindergarten 3 | Three-year-olds
PreKindergarten 4 | Four-year-olds
Kindergarten | Five-year-olds 

Kindergarten School Day | 8:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. 
Preschool School Half-Day | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. [Toddlers & PreK 3]
Preschool Full-Day | 9:00 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. [Toddlers, PreK 3 & PreK 4

Head of Lower School | Trudi C. Buscemi
Assistant Head of Lower School - ECC | Anna Boodoo

Assistant Head of Lower School - Elementary | Stacey Hendershot
PYP Coordinator | Lisa Vicencio
PYP Lead Teacher | Ruth Piazza

Graphic illustration of the curriculum and key elements of the PYP

Carrollwood Day School began as a preschool with a group of small children who asked big questions. In more than 35 years, that has not changed. Our early childhood program is still about asking big questions and nurturing a small child's curiosity and confidence. 

One thing that has changed is our backyard.  It has become much larger. In fact it is global, which is why beginning with our early childhood program, our curriculum builds on the framework of the International Baccalaureate programmes. Beginning in preschool we introduce our students to inquiry-based learning as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP).  It is the first step in an international education that begins in early childhood and lasts a lifetime.

School Day

Kindergarten School Day: 8:15 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. 
Preschool School Half-Day: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. [Toddlers & PreK 3]
Preschool Full-Day: 9:00 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. [Toddlers, PreK 3 & PreK 4]

Early Childhood Curriculum

In the earliest years of our Lower School, our goal is to provide the tools and opportunities to support children as they grow into independent, self-confident learners as they construct knowledge of their world. Our academic program uses developmentally appropriate practices that integrates the core subject areas and combines the components of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) to help children build their first steps in gaining an international education with good principles and attitudes and a positive sense of themselves and others.

Our early childhood program provides a warm environment that fosters each child’s natural curiosity, developing critical thinking and research skills that engenders a love of learning not only everyday but for a lifetime. 

Early Childhood Goals

  • to develop executive functioning skills to assist with taking the initiative in making choices and decisions and using time and energy effectively
  • to develop self-discipline and the ability to identify, pursue, and complete self-chosen goals and tasks with originality and responsibility
  • to develop the ability to work with other children and adults in group planning, cooperative efforts, and with shared leadership
  • to openly inquire and develop knowledge of the physical world
  • to develop comfort with physical movement
  • to develop the ability to express thoughts, ideas and feelings; to speak about, dramatize, and represent experiences in order to communicate them to others
  • to develop the ability to comprehend others' spoken, written, dramatic, and graphic representations
  • to develop the ability to apply his or her reasoning abilities to a wide range of situations, using a variety of materials
  • to develop creativity, initiative, spirit of inquiry, and openness to knowledge and other people's viewpoints

Below are key programs that support an enthusiasm for learning and help develop and achieve our goal of a balanced and strong foundation for lifelong learners.

Core Programs

  • HighScope
  • Conscious Discipline
  • Responsive Classroom
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) with integration of core subject areas including science and social studies
  • Language Arts - Being A Reader, Being A Writer, Making Meaning, Handwriting Without Tears (HWT)

Specialized Programs

  • Music
  • Technology
  • Spanish
  • Library
  • Physical Education

Beyond the Classroom


As a visitor to Carrollwood Day School’s Early Childhood Campus, the first thing you will see is toddlers through kindergarteners actively engaged in an environment created by warm and loving teachers. Look a little closer and you realize these are really young scientists, architects, authors, community leaders and more, hard at work practicing the skills necessary to become caretakers of the future.

Extra Curricular Activities that are available to our ECC students are:

  • Culinary Arts
  • Dance
  • Intramural Sports
  • Soccer

Character Development

Character Development

We also know that our strong character development initiative is a major factor in our students’ beginning and ongoing success in school and in life. People who possess high morals and are confident in themselves are more likely to take intellectual risks and to become leaders. We build the foundation for children to think critically, to work together purposefully, to welcome any and all intellectual challenges, and to be come responsible contributing citizens.