First School

The Key-Wee through Kindergarten programs at Key School offer children aged two years, five months and up a happy and enriching school experience in a secure and caring environment. With the highest priority placed on building self-confidence while developing the whole child, the program is implemented with the utmost attention to the needs, talents, and uniqueness of each individual. An integrated curriculum provides an introduction to a host of intellectual experiences that enhance each child’s understanding of, and appreciation for, the world.

With an emphasis on instilling a love of learning—while strengthening each child’s skills and work habits—the children participate in meaningful learning experiences. The cognitive, social, emotional, physical, moral, and aesthetic aspects of each child’s development are addressed by sensitive and experienced teachers in the daily implementation of the curriculum.

The children learn to work cooperatively with one another, to share, to assert themselves constructively, to respect others, and to honor established standards for classroom behavior. They are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences with both teachers and peers. They assume leadership roles and gain increasing responsibility as they learn to recognize the needs of others, to help one another, and to value the importance of individual contributions to the cooperative endeavor.

While young children flourish in an environment that is creative and dynamic, Key’s First School recognizes that a child’s experiences must be balanced with consistency and predictability. Therefore, the weekly schedule in the First School is designed to provide a variety of activities within a framework that imposes a routine. Activities range from whole group to small group to individual, and from teacher-directed to child-chosen. Further variety is achieved by changing the setting as the students gather in their classroom, on the playground, and in other Key School facilities including the gymnasium, the library, and the music studio. The daily structure and the sequence of activities in each class are established to help the children learn their routine and develop the level of security that is born out of the ability to anticipate.
Each First School class has circle time, story time, center time, snack, and recess. Children engage in active learning experiences through thematic units of study that integrate academic disciplines across the curriculum. Classes in science, music, life skills, physical education, and library are also part of the First Schoolers' regular schedule and are taught by specialized Key School faculty. In addition, First School students work on collaborative projects, use classroom computers, attend assemblies, take field trips, and work in their class gardens.

The Kindergarten program is full-day. Key-Wee, Pre-School and Pre-Kindergarten students who stay at Key through the afternoon remain in their classrooms with their teachers. Their schedule, beginning with lunch followed by recess, again provides consistency while allowing the children to choose from a number of activities.

With an understanding of the developmental needs of the individual student, the First School program nourishes and guides each child’s natural curiosity and exuberance while instilling a love of learning and a respect for others. First School students, inspired by their teachers and the values of the Key community, embark on a journey of discovery that forms the foundation for the work in Key’s Lower School.

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Tiny Explorers at Key

Registration is now open for the Fall 2016 Workshop Series.  Free and open to all, Tiny Explorers is designed to engage children aged 18 months - 3.5 years and their parents in authentic hands-on exploratory work, making use of the resources available in Key School’s Certified Nature Explore Classroom. 

Guided by Key faculty members, parents and children will spend each workshop exploring their natural surroundings as they construct meaning from all they observe.
All activities are designed to support foundational learning skills in mathematics, science, literacy, visual-spatial reasoning, observation, and memory.

All Tiny Explorer workshops are held from 9-10 a.m., rain or shine, at The Key School, 534 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403. Click to register.


  • Kindergarteners Visit with Grandfriends


    Kindergarteners in Ms. Walsh's class boarded the bus for their visit to the Health Care Center at BayWoods of Annapolis. Each of our kindergarten classes make this trip three times during the academic year to visit with the residents, known as Grandfriends. The students spend time playing games, constructing crafts, and sharing songs. This intergenerational experience encourages creativity and empathy in our students and brings their natural energy and enthusiasm to their Grandfriends.

  • Musings from Matthew


    In less than two weeks I will have the opportunity to take part in Key’s 45th Commencement. Unlike most graduation exercises where graduates and their families hear a speech from one individual who, at best, has a few close relationships with them, Key’s Commencement provides every student with the opportunity to have an individual of their choice speak on their behalf. While one speech espousing the virtues of the coming of age that Commencement represents can be entertaining, close to fifty speeches celebrating the individuality of each Obezag is truly memorable.

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  • Alumni Ambassadors Overseas


    Did you know that Key School has produced not one but two United States Ambassadors?

    Ted Osius ’79 has served as the United States Ambassador to Vietnam since December 2014. As part of President Obama’s recent trip to Vietnam, Ted and his family were featured on the PBS News Hour – click here to watch.

    Robert Riley ’74 was just confirmed by the Senate as the next United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia and will assume his post in August.

  • Kindergarteners' Engineering Solutions


    Key’s Kindergarteners took on the role of mechanical engineers this month, working first-hand with engineering students from UMBC to construct “Tippy Taps” in the First School garden. “Tippy Taps,” outdoor devices constructed primarily with sticks, string and plastic containers, are designed to encourage hand washing and good hygiene. Water is held in the plastic container, which is suspended between two sticks and is tipped forward for handwashing by a third stick which acts as a foot lever.

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  • Dylan Lewis Named an Inspirational Leader in the Classroom

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    Key School Math teacher and coach Dylan Lewis was named an Inspirational Leader in the Classroom by What's Up! Annapolis magazine (January 2016). The magazine highlighted independent school instructors who "not only educate and inspire their students, but engage the school community as a whole." Congratulations, Mr. Lewis! Click to read more.

Video: "First School Music: Creativity and Cognition Beyond the Notes"

Watch a program for parents led by First and Lower School music teacher Kevin Brady.

Upcoming Events

Tue Feb 21

Mid-Winter Break - Administrative Offices Open

Thru: Thursday, February 23, 20178:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Fri Feb 24

Mid-Winter Break - Administrative Offices Open

8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Mon Feb 27

School Resumes

Wed Mar 01

Annapolis Book Festival Planning Meeting

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Fri Mar 03

NAIS - Professional Development Day - NO SCHOOL

Fri Mar 10

Annapolis Book Festival Used Book Collection

Location: PODS
8:00 AM - 8:45 PM
Wed Mar 15

Annual Fund Spring Phonathon

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Thu Mar 16

Key Theater presents...Upper School Musical GREASE

Location: Activity Building
Thru: Saturday, March 18, 20177:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Fri Mar 24

Annapolis Book Festival Used Book Collection

Location: PODS
8:00 AM - 8:45 AM