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River School language arts program

The Work Sampling System charts your child's progress in the following areas:

For Preschool Toddlers  (18 months - 2 years)  

Preschooll blocks

For Preschool (3 years) - Grade 3  

PS-G3 blocks

The River School Plans for the 2020-21 School Year

River Opens for In-Person Learning Sept. 8

The River School has prudently planned for a variety of scenarios for fall including:

  • On-Campus Education
  • Distance Learning Program for Full School Year for those families with specific health concerns for a child or family member
  • Short-term and Enhanced Distance Learning Program (e.g., perhaps for a few weeks for a single classroom, or for several students in a classroom if quarantining protocols require it)
  • Longer-term Closure and Enhanced Distance Learning Program (e.g., in the event of another city mandated closure)


At this stage, we are carefully moving forward with an On-Campus, In-Person Model, for parents that select that learning program option, based on constant monitoring and guidance from the city, from legal and medical advisors, and from the leadership of respected national and regional educational and independent school associations. 

We are fully committed to delivering a safe, joyful, on-campus learning experience for the students whose families select the in-person learning model for the 2020-21 school year. It will be critical for all families to commit and adhere to the health and safety protocols we establish for risk-mitigating behavior inside and outside of school to ensure the safest environment possible for the children and our faculty and staff. Please review the separate Health & Safety Protocols section in our 2020-21 School Year Plans Document for details.

River leadership will closely monitor:

  • Community compliance outlined in River’s Social Compact
  • Multiple classroom cohorts having confirmed cases or evidence of community spread between one classroom and another 
  • Metrics in DC and surrounding counties, including: new cases reported; testing positivity rate; effective reproduction number (i.e., average number of new infections caused by each infected person); and cases per 100,000 in the population

Current Plan Highlights:

  • Limited number of students per class with consistent faculty members
  • Established cohorts to prevent mixing of groups (see Cohorting/Daily Routines section of the Plans Document) 
  • Increased outdoor time (e.g., playground, PE, yoga)
  • Use of multiple entrances and exits to allow for increased social distancing
  • Enrichment Classes will be hosted virtually this fall

Health & Safety Protocols:

River will follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), DC Department of Health and independent school association leadership. River's current health and safety protocols can be found in the 2020-21 School Year Plans Document. All families will be expected to adhere to these requirements, including agreeing to our Social Compact that outlines responsibilities and precautions outside of school.


River's new Distance Learning program will be based on faculty and parent feedback on and lessons learned from our spring efforts, as well as current best practices in early childhood education provided by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and other groups.

Our planning team and faculty will systematically and creatively find ways to deliver instruction. Our 2020-21 Distance Learning Program will feature increased structure and clear goals, and it will also require flexibility and a willingness to try new things. These requirements apply to the teaching team, the students and the parents. For those families who opted for Distance Learning for the 2020-21 school year, a dedicated teaching team will be assigned to your children, ensuring the academic progress of each child and providing opportunities for interaction with other River children.

Key highlights include:
  • Thoughtful blend of age-appropriate live, some recorded and self-guided instruction, focusing on: Language;  Literacy; Cognition; Social studies; Mathematics; Scientific Thinking; and Social Development
  • Live Morning Meetings to start off each day and Closing Circle Times with social-emotional focus 
  • Live social-emotional check-ins and coaching sessions for students, regularly scheduled and as needed 
  • Read-aloud sessions with special guest readers 
  • Live Arts & Sciences age-specific classes using a studio approach and quarterly rotation, providing a deeper dive into that particular ‘specials’ class
  • Links to videos and mini-lessons 
  • Opportunities to maintain crucial connections between teaching teams and child, and among the students 
  • Age-level learning benchmarks that parents can follow in tandem with teacher feedback 
  • Consistent schedule, with weekly plans or Daily Notes, including multimedia approach 
  • Robust Learning Kits 
  • Dedicated Regroup & Refresh Day each school week for parents and students to recharge, refocus and revisit some assignments if needed


Regardless of delivery format, River uses The Work Sampling System as the developmental framework for our curriculum to foster growth and follow each child’s progress. It is a dynamic approach to teaching and assessment intended both to inform and reflect best practices.

We utilize a thematic approach to engage children in the learning process. Themes provide a dynamic, child-centered and cohesive context for learning. They inspire vocabulary development, experimentation, problem solving, and the ability to make connections between different academic areas. Every assessment is guided by a set of values about learning and instruction, and how children should be treated in order to enhance their growth and development.

River School language arts program

The Work Sampling System charts your child's progress in the following areas:

For Preschool Toddlers  (18 months - 2 years)  

Preschooll blocks

For Preschool (3 years) - Grade 3  

PS-G3 blocks
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