2021 Session Dates
Week One: June 28–July 2
Week Two: July 5–9
Week Three: July 12–16
Week Four: July 19–23
Week Five: July 26–30
Week Six: August 2–6
Week Seven: August 9–13
Week Eight: August 16–20
Week Nine: August 23–27
About the Program
Children’s School is a developmental preschool for youth ages 3 to 5. The program includes a wide range of social, recreational and educational activities. Weekly themes often incorporate other Chautauqua programs in the areas of music, drama and art. A relationship with the Chautauqua community and its unique opportunities continue.
The program hours are Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–noon. The school has 6 classrooms with a maximum of 15 students in each. A typical day at Children’s School includes:
- Developmental play
- Circle time (reading, singing)
- Activity centers (focusing on weekly theme)
- Special guest programs
- Snack time
- Outdoor play
The Children’s School team is working to plan for a 2021 season that closely resembles previous years. Some program elements, activities, and special events may be amended due to restrictions related to Covid-19.
Built in 1921, the Chautauqua Children’s School pioneered the concept of nursery school education. Additions to the building made in 1926, 1947 and 1969 were followed by a full renovation and expansion in 1994 to its present size and capacity.
Children enrolled in the Children’s School may ride the special bus to and from the school. Please take your child to Children’s School on the first day of attendance to receive specific bus stop information. If you are walking with your child, please be especially careful near the school and the areas designated for bus pick-up and drop-off.
If driving your child (from outside the grounds), you must enter via the Turner Gate, turn right on to Palestine, then make a left and park along Hedding. You may leave your car there briefly while you walk your child to the school. For the safety of our children, do not drive directly to the school or park in any area other than Hedding Avenue.
The Children’s School is under the leadership of Director Kit Trapasso, a retired school psychologist in Medina, N.Y. Kit has served the Children’s School as director since 1984. Each classroom is staffed with: one certified head teacher; one assistant teacher; one college-age assistant; and one high school-age assistant. The teachers work as a team and share classroom responsibilities to create an enriching, positive atmosphere. A high percentage of staff returns to the Children’s School each year.
Frequently Asked Questions
✔ Do any of the staff babysit during the season?
A list of babysitters from the grounds and surrounding community is compiled by the Education Department. This list may or may not include Children’s School staff. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the babysitting list.
✔ How do I register my child for Children’s School?
- Between mid-April and late-June, call the Chautauqua Ticket Office at 716-357-6250, or…
- Fill out the ticket order form and return to Chautauqua Institution, or…
- During the season, you may also register directly at the Children’s School, weekdays 8:30 a.m.–noon.
All youth information forms are collected electronically. Following your registration, you will receive an email with the necessary information to complete your child’s forms. Please make sure that your email is accurate at the time of registration to ensure that you receive this email.
Registration must be completed at least two weeks prior to your session start date. Minimum registration is one week.
✔ What should my child wear?
Children should wear clothing and shoes appropriate for active play (no open-toed shoes). Parents should supply an extra set of clothes for any accidents or emergencies (note: all children must be toilet-trained before attending Children’s School). There is space in each classroom to store extra clothing. Be sure all articles are labeled with the child’s full name.
For the 2021 season, children will be required to wear CDC-recommended face covering when they are unable to maintain 6 ft of distance from other individuals. This applies to indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Children will not be required to wear face coverings when they create an increased safety risk for the wearer such as during aquatic activities
✔ Do the children take naps?
The daily schedule does not include a nap time but the children do take quiet “breaks” and have a snack during the morning.
✔ May I enroll my 2 1/2 year old in the 3 year old class if he/she has been in a nursery school at home or is exceptionally mature?
Children must be at least 3 years of age at the beginning of the program week.
✔ Do the children spend their entire morning in the classroom?
A typical day at the Children’s School includes classroom-based activities but also includes outdoor play, walking to other Chautauqua program sites or visits to the Smith Memorial Library for story hours.
For 2021, the Children’s School team is working to schedule as many activities outdoors as possible.
Special Information to Parents of Three-Year-Olds
Our three-year-old program is designed for children who are “potty trained.” We do not have sufficient staff and facilities to assist children who require diapering or who have consistent problems using the toilet. For program purposes, “pull-ups” style diapers do not constitute “toilet trained.” We urge you to consider your child’s comfort level with using the toilet prior to registering. We recognize that three-year-olds can experience occasional accidents and we invite all parents to send a change of clothing with their child at the start of their child’s enrollment (see below). We also recognize that children who have not been in programs such as this may also experience some regression. However, if your child arrives in diapers and/or is unable to use the toilet with assistance consistently, his or her enrollment will be canceled and a refund issued.
Families of incoming three-year-olds are invited and encouraged to help ease their child’s entry into the program by familiarizing their child with the Children’s School campus and classrooms. Parents and children are welcome to visit the School, the Red and Green three-year-old classrooms and our playgrounds on Monday through Friday afternoons and/or on Saturdays and Sundays.
Regardless of previous experiences, new threes will undergo many new experiences as they begin their stay at Children’s School. Your child may need adult support as he or she enters the program. We invite you to remain in the classroom until your child is comfortable. Please feel free to check back on your child at any point during the morning. You may also ask a staff member to check on your child and give you an update.
Please send an extra change of clothing for your child. Please put the clothing in a bag with your child’s name clearly marked on the outside. This bag will be kept in a cubby and returned at the end of your child’s stay in the program.