POD LEARNING in the Reggio Emilia-style classroom during pre/endemic times aligns with Reggio’s mixed-age classroom philosophy. We rotate indoor & outdoor explorations, and lunch groupings based on pod age, student : teacher ratio, and other developmental factors.

A limited number of spots are available (per age grouping, or “pod”), which instills balance in daily learning blocks and group interaction. Additionally, classroom materials and play environments are viewed as an important, natural aesthetic. In the Reggio World, we say “Environment is the third teacher.” Our school differentiates activities per pod and per individual learning styles. There is no “one way” to teach! As one of our favorite school mottos states, “There’s more than one way to learn—and more than one way to be smart.”

A Note About Post-COVID and Transmission/Risk Level Assessment – School Protocol & Decision Aids

Catoctin Sun administration periodically receives updated guidance from MSDE, in accordance with our local health department, and the CDC. Should local and regional transmission levels increase, so likely will our school protocol. Catoctin Sun Nature Preschool & Kindergarten reserves the right to adjust indoor masking guidelines, COVID sanitation, and other protocol.

Additionally, as we enter the endemic phase of COVID-19, children and staff are welcome to wear a mask. This is a highly personal decision and should be respected. If you see a member of our community wearing a mask, please allow them additional space and kindly observe social distancing in their presence. Since the implementation of masking in the classroom began two years ago, Catoctin Sun has seen an unprecedented drop in childhood illness. Teachers and children have had fewer colds & tummy bugs, as viral contagion / respiratory droplets were significantly reduced. If your child returns to school with a cough or other respiratory symptoms, s/he may be asked to temporarily wear a mask; if you do not wish for your child to wear a mask, please do not return until coughing or other residual symptoms completely recede. Health & safety of ALL children is our number one priority.

During pandemic or endemic, a limited number of make-up days can be scheduled in advance, depending upon daily classroom numbers. For staffing purposes, kindly note that our school needs a full 24-48 hour notice to schedule a make-up day.


Little Acorns Pod


2.5 yrs of age by September 1st

Sunflowers Pods


3.5 ys of age by September 1st

Pre-Kindy & Kindergarten


4.5 to 5.5 yrs of age by September 1st

Maple Tree Pod

Elementary-Aged Learners

6 yrs of age by September 1st

*Catoctin Sun accepts a limited number of enrollment slots for each pod, as an effort to keep ratios, activities, and age-groupings in-balance. This may be altered from year-to-year, and at the discretion of the Owner/Head of School & Co-Atelierista Ms. Natalie.