Early Childhood

Premier Preschool and Kindergarten in Indianapolis

The Orchard School's nationally recognized Early Childhood program includes Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten classrooms. All grades have two highly-qualified lead teachers in each class. Our Early Childhood grade-level teams also include specialist teachers for music, art (KG only), science and Spanish. Our programs utilize spaces in and around our 43-acre wooded campus as both outdoor classrooms and unstructured play areas all year round. The emphasis of a nature-based approach to Early Childhood supports the curricular and social-emotional goals for our students.
Here, you can expect something unique for your child. An Orchard education stands out because of the partnerships that form between students and their teachers. Our Preschool (3/4s), Pre-Kindergarten (4/5s), and Kindergarten (5/6s) teachers understand that a student’s success depends greatly on their ability to connect to the adults around them. Feeling safe, understood, and challenged provides a foundation for students to be successful and contributing members of their community.

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Preschool (3/4s)

    Preschool (3/4s) at The Orchard School offers two options for families. The most popular option at Orchard is the full-time 5-Day program that runs Monday - Friday. We also offer a 3-Day program is scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is perfect for families looking for a part-time preschool experience for their three-year-old.

    From 8:00 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., our youngest Owls have opportunities to learn, explore, and play outside across our entire campus. Our classroom communities value diversity, equity and inclusion by encouraging our youngest students to share their opinions and observations. The classroom environments encourage a joy of learning by exploration through play and exposure to multiple programs including science, Spanish, music, and enrichment classes throughout their projects.

    Students spend class time exploring outside across our 43-acre wooded campus and often utilize outdoor classrooms for projects and explorations. Rest time, snacks, and a hot lunch option are available for both 5-Day and 3-Day options.
  • Pre-Kindergarten (4/5s)

    Pre-Kindergarten (4/5s) at The Orchard School offers a 5-Day full-time program that is structured to provide a child-centered, emergent curriculum with full exposure to hands-on experiential learning using a nature-based approach.

    Each classroom has two lead teachers who work together to create a classroom community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our classroom environments encourage a joy of learning by exploration through play and incorporate multiple programs including science, Spanish, music, and enrichment classes throughout the school week.

    Students spend class time exploring outside across our 43-acre wooded campus and often utilize outdoor classrooms for projects and explorations. Snacks, rest time, and a hot lunch option are provided.

    The Pre-K program runs Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. and serves four and five-year-olds. 
  • Kindergarten (5/6s)

    Kindergarteners focus on who they are and what makes them special. They discover how they learn by spending lots of time outdoors exploring and using nature as a teacher. Every class is taught by two lead teachers, allowing more time for small group and one-on-one instruction. Kindergarteners experience more academic challenges inside the context of play-based learning. Children focus on themes in math, literacy, science, art, Spanish, and music while growing in their social development.

    A quick review of the core elements explored in the Kindergarten classroom:

    Math/Science Kindergarten provides direct learning opportunities and math lessons involving mathematical thinking and problem-solving. Scientific investigation including inquiry, physical and earth sciences, and the process of investigation are stressed.

    The math curriculum, Bridges and Mathematics, is a comprehensive Kindergarten through 5th Grade curriculum that aligns with the Common Core standards for math.

    Language/Literacy While developing skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, students learn to construct meaning, make connections to their own lives, and gradually begin to critically analyze and interpret what they hear, observe, and read.

    It's very common at Orchard to see all of these subjects being explored throughout our 43-acre wooded campus. 

    Children need to be five years old by August 31st to start the kindergarten program. Kindergarten is a 5-Day full-day program. Before care begins at 7:00 AM and aftercare runs from 3:20 - 6:00 PM.

  • Diversity and Identity

    The Orchard School is an inclusive community deliberately rich with diversity. We strive to maintain a safe and welcoming environment that encourages courageous conversations about differences in beliefs, identities and perspectives.

    One of our diversity goals is to help all members of the community overcome a sense of “otherness” and reserve judgment when encountering something unfamiliar and new. Therefore, Orchard teaches about race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, family structures, physical differences, political and social values, culture, religion, abilities and learning styles in a developmentally appropriate manner that leads to appreciation and understanding of the variety of human experiences.

    A healthy sense of identity at a young age helps students to understand and feel good about themselves and others. It also helps them celebrate and not fear what makes each person different and unique.
  • Communication with Parents

    Parent communication is an important part of creating a connection that supports a play-based and developmentally appropriate practice. When teachers and parents listen and reflect together about a child’s strengths and goals, it allows learning to be authentic and reflect a child’s entire experience. We know that unique learning also happens outside of school, that’s why communicating with families is a priority to help complete a portrait of each student at Orchard.

    Multiage Preschool and Kindergarten use an app called SeeSaw to keep parents updated, sometimes in real time, on their child's learning experience. Parents are able to "like" and comment on benchmark updates, receive immediate notifications, as well as download any pictures from the app. SeeSaw provides a unique opportunity for parents to be partners during key learning moments, while making it easier to discuss daily happenings with their child.
  • Featured Articles

    Orchard Kindergarten Teachers Use Fairy Tales To Enhance Academics

    Click here to read more and scroll through the photos explaining how writing/literacy, science, engineering/mathematics, technology, and art are integrated into this impressive project.

    Orchard Preschool Students Debut Meaningful Identity Work After Year-Long Study

    Click here to read how the study of identity is a major focus in all preschool classrooms at The Orchard School. Teachers believe that by having these important discussions about identity at such an early age, children will discover the true meaning of diversity, equity and inclusion. We believe this progressive education tenet is the key to make the world a better place.
  • Feature Videos

    Orchard Preschool Students Create Powerful Identity Wall

    Experience The Best In Progressive Education

Early Childhood Highlights

Visits & Tours

Join us to chat with current Orchard parents and tour our 43-acre wooded campus. Learn about progressive education and our unique hands-on approach to learning. 

CLICK HERE to choose a Coffee with Admissions date below:
Please note: You'll be able to select your preferred date on the last page of the form. Space is limited! 

December 16th, January 13th, January 27th, February 3rd, March 3rd, March 17th

We would love to have you join us on campus for an admissions tour. Private tours give parents and guardians a more detailed look at our 43-acre wooded campus and can help you envision how your child can flourish at Orchard. Please follow the links below to sign up for an open spot. See you soon!

December Tour Schedule
January Tour Schedule

Enjoy this VIRTUAL TOUR of Orchard!

For the safety of our students, please bring your driver's license with you in order to check-in and tour the campus. Tours last approximately one hour. We look forward to seeing you!


If you're new to Orchard, please follow the link above. We would love to tell you more about our mission to develop and educate the whole child. Hope to hear from you soon!