American International School of Thessaloniki, Greece

Early Years Program


The Early Years Program at Pinewood consists of a Pre-K I, Pre-K II and  Kindergarten classes. Classes in the Early Years Program offer a full-day, developmentally -appropriate program designed for three, four, five and six-year olds in self-contained classrooms. A blend of teacher-directed activities, self-selected activities, projects and learning centers provide a variety of large group, small group and independent learning experiences. The encouragement of social, emotional, physical and academic development is provided in a supportive, active, and nurturing environment.

The Early Years Program is a program of immersion that enables students to become bilingual quickly and effortlessly.  It is tailored to meet the needs of both Greek and international children, provides a rich and varied curriculum to include language development, early math skills, science, social studies, arts and crafts. In addition, children have instruction by specialists in music, physical education and library. As a whole, the program provides students with an understanding of cooperation, compassion and appreciation of global differences as they learn and play side by side with children of different cultures.  The teachers of the Early Years Program are all certified in Early Childhood Education. Teacher Assistants are provided as necessary. 


Alumna Ornella Akrivopoulou attended Pinewood from the age of 4 and graduated in June 2011.  Currently, she attends City College Brighton & Hove in the U.K. doing an Art & Design course. This is what she says about her Pinewood Early Years Program experience:

"Discovering my passion for art through finger painting, realizing I was left handed while I learnt to write my name and the slight panic I felt when I looked at my desk as we began to sing the ' Tidy Up' song. Although only about four when I started, I remember my years in PreK- Kindergarden as vibrant and exciting; filled with moments I will cherish my whole whole life. The classroom was my second home and my teachers my surrogate mothers. Teachers that remained in my daily life as I moved forward in Pinewood, exchanging smiles and memories of the past. What better gift than having your first teachers at your graduation, I still wear the bracelet they gave me on that day."

Stephanos Liamos attended the Early Years Program while his mother Natasha Jarnot worked in the Kindergarten.  He is currently attending the IB program at Anatolia. This is what he says about his Pinewood Early Years Program experience:

"I can still remember my time in Pre-K and Kindergarten at Pinewood. I remember having quiet time and really trying hard not to get up and play with the toys on my own while the other children relaxed. The canteen had butterfly pasta shapes which are still my favorite kind today! I loved the music lessons – the teacher had a guitar and I learnt about Thanksgiving – even dressing up as a pilgrim! When I was in Pre-K I thought the K kids were so big and then when I went to Kindergarten the Pre-ks were tiny!! I only have happy memories , I loved my teachers and felt safe and happy. I can still remember feeling sad when I left Pinewood but I am lucky to still be in touch with a few of my teachers!"

natandstephNatasha Jarnot mother of Stephanos and ex-Pinewood staff member says:
"I was fortunate enough to work at Pinewood for three years before leaving to set up a business. The early year’s program was a joy to work in and working alongside experienced teachers really taught me so much professionally. The atmosphere was a very happy one where the teachers developed a special nurturing bond with the children which really enhance d the learning environment. I truly feel that the curriculum and the high standards of teaching benefitted the children and prepared them for more the academic studies of elementary school. I was continually amazed by the fact that the non-English – speaking children would come back after the Christmas break and start chattering in English, just as if all the pieces of a puzzle had been put into place.

Pinewood Alumna, ex-Pinewood Board member and proud mom Christine Willis says:

"When I asked my son Bruce to tell me what he remembered about his time in the Pinewood early learning experience he answered " being right next door to the art room. drawing dinosaurs,playing with Legos and making friends."  All three of my children had the privilege of attending Pinewood's Pre-K program where they learned the art of respect and kindness.  They were enveloped by loving teachers, small intimate groups and fun activities that nurtured their desire to learn...Today as young adults they are going to first rate universities in the US where they are applying the euphemism "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten"."