At University School of Milwaukee, our Preschool is grounded in the belief that children are competent and capable. Our vision is to create a community where children approach each day with wonder, joy, and curiosity. Along with passionate teachers, students embark upon intentional explorations, balanced with purposeful play and meaningful academic skills.
Within a safe and nurturing environment, children build relationships and develop the social-emotional competencies of kindness, empathy, and respect. Through the strong collaboration of our families and teachers, children will grow to be successful learners, leaders, and citizens. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a young child who loves to come to school each and every day.
For both prekindergarten and junior kindergarten, families are able to choose the option that works best for the start of their child's educational journey.
- Full-day program (8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.)
- Half-day program (8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.)
In addition, our First Steps program is offered for children who reach 3 years of age between the start of the school year and January 1. These students join the existing prekindergarten classrooms, either five- or three-mornings per week (three morning option on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays only).
USM’s Preschool curriculum is guided by educators who value relationships with each child and the community. They have a passion for early childhood learning, and they take developmentally appropriate approaches to teaching the whole child. Our curriculum focuses on the critical areas of cognitive, creative, social, physical, and social-emotional development. Our teachers work to pique curiosity in everything their students do and, in doing so, develop a lifelong love of learning in the children they work with.
Our Preschool classrooms are structured in a way that allows for small-group interactive play and exploration in centers that evolve and change throughout the school year. While our specialist teachers typically come to the classrooms for lessons, our Preschoolers often leave the classroom to explore other areas of the school, either for lessons or social activities. Engaging outdoor classroom and play areas also support innovative teaching methods for our faculty and provide many opportunities for children to explore and collaborate.
Although the learning spaces at USM are incredible, it is our Preschool teachers—who form such strong relationships with our youngest learners and their families—that make all the difference. A successful education for our Preschool students requires that faculty and administrators partner with families to ensure a positive experience for every child in a supportive, inclusive community. Teachers monitor each child’s growth and development through ongoing observation and individual assessments throughout the year. Ongoing communication between USM and home builds a strong foundation that supports every child’s daily school experience.
I love all of USM, but Preschool is really the shining star. I felt fortunate with all the teachers that my kids had here, but especially in the Preschool. My daughter's junior kindergarten teacher was the best ever!
With a low student-to-teacher ratio in every prekindergarten and junior kindergarten classroom, our Preschool teachers are able to truly get to know and love each and every child, which creates an incredible learning environment in which children can grow and gain confidence. Although they are still very early in their journey, the support that our youngest children receive, with an emphasis on development of the whole child, sets a strong foundation as they begin to embody our Portrait of a USM Graduate.
Prekindergarten (ages 3 & 4)
As some of our school's youngest learners, our prekindergarten students are part of a community where social-emotional development and age-appropriate academic learning are combined with personal attention and care to support child development. Our teachers introduce language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies concepts daily as part of play and social interactions.
Junior Kindergarten (ages 4 & 5)
Our junior kindergartners are just beginning to find their own unique voices and personalities, and also starting to see themselves as part of a larger community of learners. Each school day begins with a morning meeting for children to share stories and set the day's agenda with their teachers. Academic learning is infused into play and exploration, with students becoming confident young children.
First Steps (age 3 during school year)
Children who reach age 3 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 are able to enroll in our First Steps program, where they will have the opportunity to learn and grow individually while exploring cooperative play and interaction with peers. First Steps provides developmentally appropriate experiences, care, and instruction to children and links families to the larger USM school community ahead of the prekindergarten year.
On behalf of our faculty and administrative team, I want to thank you for exploring University School of Milwaukee for your child's preschool experience. Once you have learned all that you can from these pages, I would invite you and your family to visit our campus and classrooms for a conversation and a tour, to see for yourself what makes a USM education so special. When you're ready for the next step, just click on one of the buttons below. I look forward to meeting you.
Head of Preschool and Lower School