The Sabot Difference

As a young school, Sabot has the luxury of designing experiences for all of our students that take into account children’s developmental needs, changing cognitive abilities, neurological and social/emotional development, and the rapidly changing demands and opportunities of the 21st century.

This results in a progressive education that is cutting-edge, child-friendly, and effective. When our students transition to their next school, they go having gained the expected academic content and skills, tools for the social dynamic of school and life, self-knowledge, and confidence. Intrinsic motivation drives our students’ curiosity and effort at Sabot and beyond.



Our Reggio-inspired preschool, one of the first in the United States, is now part of an early childhood program that offers full day care throughout the calendar year (excepting certain school holidays). By combining the services of our extended day program with the morning preschool program, children can be cared for from as early as 7:30 a.m. until as late as 6:00 p.m.

For more than forty years, Sabot’s preschool has been sought after as a place where each child is respected as an individual by teachers with deep knowledge of child development and learning and where parents are connected to expertise and resources that support their journey of parenthood.

The experience of a young child at Sabot is designed to allow them to encounter all of the components that are foundational to learning. Children are born wired to learn. Sabot’s engaging environment and supportive adults provide:

  • A schedule that reflects the young child’s sense of time, that allows them to follow their own inspiration and become deeply engaged in their play and learning.
  • A rhythm to the weeks that allows a child to explore a question, a theory, an idea to its resolution: for a moment, a day, a month and so on.
  • The luxury of time in the outdoors in both designed and wild spaces.
  • The wisdom of adults who support the young child’s emerging understanding of themselves, their feelings, their interactions, and relationships.
  • A strong connection between school and home that creates a circle of support around each young learner.
  • A view of children as capable and resilient.



Lower School

In our lower school, we work to sustain children’s spirit of inquiry, as well as their investment in and ownership of work, by treating their interests and questions with seriousness and respect – not least by devoting the time needed to fully realize an investigation or project. Careful choices about curriculum content and breadth also contribute to this goal.

Our small class size allows us to create strong, supportive learning communities in each of our lower school classrooms. Team teaching (we have two full-time teachers in each class) provides a model for the collaborative practices that characterize our approach; and it also allows us to differentiate instruction and attend more fully to the development of the whole child.

Investigative Research and the Arts
Throughout the school day and across a range of disciplines, students are given time, attention, resources, and teacher guidance to undertake extended collaborative projects of their own design. Teachers encourage students to define goals, identify needs, and solve problems. Integration of the arts fuels thinking in all subject areas. The studio is a place for collaborative investigation and a laboratory for students to represent their thinking in various media, including music, drama, poetry, design, and tinkering. In alternating years, 4th and 5th grade students also participate in Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion.

Kindergarten representation of Richmond and crowds


Language Arts
Early years of Language Arts in the lower school are devoted to developing and supporting literacy; children in kindergarten, first, and second grades not only learn to read and write, but come to see themselves as capable readers and writers. The workshop approach encourages students to regard reading and writing as interrelated; they learn to use their reading to develop their writing skills, and their writing as an avenue for understanding and appreciating the books they read. Through authentic experiences, students also develop the skills of critical thinking, articulate and persuasive speaking, and attentive and empathetic listening.

Our lower school math curriculum (Everyday Math) is a research-based, best practice curriculum. Grade level expectations for students are defined by the standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The curriculum emphasizes both conceptual and procedural understanding; our students gain computational fluency, reason about mathematical ideas, and learn to think strategically. They gain experience in important areas of mathematics, including numbers and operations, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra.

From infancy, children are curious about the world around them and are engaged in figuring out how it works. In our lower school, students ask authentic questions, develop and practice skills, and collaboratively construct understanding through processes based on the scientific method. Each year, choosing from the content areas of Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering and Design, students investigate topics that are meaningful to them.

4th grade drawings of the species they discovered on our campus.


Social Studies
Our inquiry-based social studies program seeks to enable children to begin to understand and participate responsibly in their worlds – in their families, classrooms, and the wider community. Students learn to understand their relationship to other people and to social, economic, and political institutions.  The curriculum emphasizes building skills for researching, critical thinking, problem solving, and the making of thoughtful decisions and judgments.

World Languages: Spanish
We regard world languages as a crucial part of our curriculum, both because learning a language prepares children for global citizenship and cross-cultural competence and because it helps children open themselves to others and increases empathy. Our Spanish program has been developed in line with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and best practices of the profession. Spanish instruction begins in third grade.

Physical Education, Recess, and Forest Time
We recognize the strong link between mind and body, and we approach physical fitness as a life-long endeavor, where the goal is to cultivate skills, habits, interests, and an intrinsic motivation for physical activity. In PE classes, students participate in a range of sports and non-competitive activities that get them outside, moving, and having fun. During morning and afternoon recess time, children engage in imaginative play and play games of their own invention. Larus Park, a 100-acre city park adjacent to our campus, provides access to explore the natural world; lower school children spend several hours each week in what they call “the forest.”





Middle School

Walk into our Middle School classrooms. You will not see heads bowed silently over textbooks, or students who listen passively as a teacher speaks. Instead, you will find small workshops in which students are active, engaged, and purposeful. You will find students designing, developing, and executing their own projects in Exploratory, our innovative independent study program. You will see students presenting original research to peers.

As much as possible, the work that middle school students do is connected to the real world; they address real problems, use real-world resources, and find multiple answers to their never-ending stream of real questions.

Learning in the Middle School is collaborative, investigative, and deeply intellectual. While content is essential – you can’t have genuine understanding without it – students also learn to develop the tools of inquiry and the habits of mind that will make them life-long learners and problem-solvers. Students are encouraged and expected to approach their work with passion, intelligence, and creativity; we believe in depth over breadth. Our goal is not simply to transmit material, but rather to teach students how to think and communicate like historians, writers, mathematicians, scientists, and artists.



Our Extended Day program is designed to provide a relaxed, cozy and nurturing atmosphere that helps children begin the transition from school to home. The program:

  • Offers activities that encourage children of different ages to work together and build relationships.
  • Includes time for children to play outdoors.
  • Offers art supplies, building materials, and games that allow children to continue experimenting and pursuing ideas initiated during the school day.
  • Allows time for older children to do homework and read.
  • Includes time for younger children to nap/rest.
  • Provides healthy snacks and encourages children to help prepare and cook their own snacks, often using seasonal and/or unusual vegetables and fruits.

The Extended Day program operates on a contract basis, with drop-in care offered on a space available basis.

Parents have the option of signing up for early arrival and/or after hours care, providing coverage from 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, and on some school holidays. Pricing depends on the age of the child, number of days per week, and ending time chosen.

Click here to view the 2017-2018 programs and pricing.