Lincoln Nursery School is inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Our curriculum is rooted in our respect for children’s interests, ideas, and abilities. The curriculum emerges and evolves through a dynamic process of observation and documentation of children’s play. Open-ended materials are offered within intentionally designed environments, inspiring children to make meaning and connections. Children are agents of their play, sharing ideas, developing theories, experimenting, and recognizing their similarities and differences as citizens of the world.

The Importance of Play

Children learn best through play: making choices, solving problems, planning what they are going to do and gaining a sense of control. Play, the foundation of every child’s social, emotional, physical, creative and cognitive development, is a natural medium for children to work through experiences, ideas and feelings. It is the foundation of curriculum at LNS. 


Observing children’s play and documenting their dialogue and interactions, provides an understanding of each child and the group dynamic.

Children’s learning processes become shared knowledge through documentation. By taking time to listen to the child, we understand how they give meaning to their world. Documentation can be seen throughout the classroom in written pieces, displays of works, and photographs. Teachers post weekly blogs sharing the curriculum as it develops.


Children use a rich variety of materials to tell their stories, solve problems, and develop relationships.

Their thinking processes are represented through drawing, block building, dramatic play, sensory play, writing, painting, sculpting, and more. Teachers and children collaborate and reflect, continuing a process of inquiry until the process or project meets the child’s expressed intent.

Studio Red: A transformative year before elementary school

Our program reflects the most updated research and best practices on child development pedagogy and school outcomes. Studio Red provides a bridge to elementary school that respects the integrity of our child-centered values while offering the best possible preparation for academic and social-emotional success in school. We recognize the value of engaged, caring adults in relationship with children as they develop empathy, social skills, and flexible thinking.

Our curriculum develops alongside the children, evolving through their play. Children observe, question, form scientific theories, and experiment as teachers and classmates reflect together and construct shared understandings of our environment, materials, and community. 

Children use mathematics and literacy to express their thinking, problem-solve, and celebrate their imaginations. Teachers provide innovative tools, offering strategies tailored to accommodate children’s learning styles. Play provides a natural context in which the why, how, and what of learning coincide.

We honor the pace of childhood. We understand that while all children grow and develop in similar patterns, each child develops at her or his own pace. We respect each child’s interests, approaches to learning, and ways of being.

Music & Movement

The music and movement program at LNS is taught by Mark Weltner (also a teacher in the Blue Class). Mark models a love for music and movement, responding to the children’s interests and talents.

Activities include creating our own movements for songs, yoga (sometimes creating our own poses), free-form dance, and acting out lyrics. Instruments may be brought out to play rhythms or to imitate the sound of moose hooves on rocks (reflecting current classroom curriculum) although we are more likely to use our own bodies as instruments, as we clap, tap and stomp in different ways and rhythms. Children participate at their own pace and in their own style, as there are as many ways of learning as there are children in the world.


At LNS, much of our curriculum grows, quite literally, from the extraordinary richness of our outdoor environment. We find ourselves constantly returning to the important presence of nature: nature’s slower pace mirrors the children’s inclination to observe, to make connections and form new thoughts to understand their world. We spend a lot of time in the woods, ponds, and fields of the neighboring conservation land, and our experiences with nature inform our curriculum and classroom spaces in a myriad of ways.


woodland walk

The Woodland Walk is celebrated in the fall. Children walk through the forest, discovering several magical, woodland characters (parents!) along the way.

the winter sing and family gathering

The LNS community gathers in the Dewey Gallery for a short program of songs, followed by a shadow play put on by the LNS Staff, after which all return to their classrooms to enjoy a brunch prepared by the children.

May Day

May Day is celebrated on or near the first day of May. The children parade through the sculpture park and dance around a maypole with the music teacher to celebrate the arrival of spring.