We believe the purpose of preschool is to provide learning experiences that are developmentally appropriate in order to meet the diverse needs of children, and promote a positive attitude toward lifelong learning. Our goal is to provide experiences and curriculum that promote social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth and development of the whole child.
Preschool is a time for social interaction, for developing communication skills, and for discovery and exploration with each other and with adults in the classroom. It is a time for developing a child’s self-concept, his perceptual skills, and a positive attitude towards a school environment. It provides concrete experiences on which to base future learning. Play is child’s work, offering the child success in developing skills and learning to deal with and master his environment.
We incorporate an integrated curriculum approach with projects, themes, playful activities and learning centers. An integrated curriculum is more meaningful to the child…and the teacher! An example of some of our themes include but are not limited to apples, pumpkins, the Gingerbread Man, dinosaurs, the five senses, and author studies. Time is reserved for the pursuit of class interests.
It is our hope that as teachers, we work in partnership with parents, communicating regularly and effectively to build mutual understanding and a greater consistency for children. We communicate frequently through posts and pictures on an easy to use app.
We always keep in mind that a young child’s learning cannot always be easily measured. It is not always even and predictable. We do not use standardized testing. Each child’s progress is assessed regularly through observation and recording at regular intervals. We keep in mind a quote from Lucy Haab:
“What a child takes from in his hand is not as important as what he takes home in his heart.”
We thank you for your interest in our preschool! We invite any questions that you may have!
Language Arts and Phonics
We use a “Balanced Literacy” program in our classroom. Children are involved in all modes of communication: reading, writing, listening, speaking, observing, illustrating, experiencing, doing, and creating. Activities are provided in which children learn to read by actually reading. They learn to write by writing.
Components of a Balanced Literacy Program:
- Reading Aloud: Teacher reads selection aloud to students
- Shared Reading: Teacher and students read text together
- Guided Reading: Teacher introduces a selection at student’s instructional level. (Leveled Readers)
- Independent Reading: Students read independently
- Modeled/Shared Writing: Teacher and students collaborative to write a text. Teacher acts as a scribe.
- Interactive Writing: Teacher and students compose together using a “shared pen” technique in which students do some of the writing.
- Independent Writing: Students write independently
Our resource for balanced literacy includes, but is not limited to, Four Block Literacy Model.
Examples of writing opportunities in the classroom include, but will not be limited to:
Children dictate to teacher; teacher writes copy on white board; child uses written word as a model and produces his own written work on paper.
Children are given materials such as paper, stamps, pencils/markers/crayons, envelopes, stencils, word cards, etc…and are encouraged to spend their time at this center exploring writing in their own ways.
Children are given specific topics for discussion and writing. Modeled writing is prepared by the teacher, and the child produces his own written work on paper.
We incorporate the Dolch List of sight words for children at the Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade level.
We implement a “Take Home Bookbag” program, allowing children to bring home early readers and share reading time with the parents. While children may not actually be “reading” these books, the program allows children to familiarize themselves with print, use picture and word clues to problem solve in reading, sound out words using phonics, and build confidence in their own reading skills.
Phonemic awareness will be a part of our Language Arts program. In our threes/young fours program, children are introduced to a new letter each week, which remains the focus for a full week’s time. Focus on that letter includes formation, sound, and initial placement in words. Progressively, and when developmentally appropriate, children will be introduced to blends, long/short vowels, and eventually “sounding out” words. Phonics is a process that goes hand in hand with balanced literacy, and will come at a natural pace to each child.
Children develop reading skills at different paces. Therefore, we meet each child where he is, and encourage him to work just above his comfort lever, pushing every child to grow at an appropriate pace in his reading skills.
We incorporate Math into all parts of our curriculum beginning in circle time and continuing through the remainder of their day. Children throughout their day will encounter a circle time where we use the linear calendar to encourage counting by rote, skip counting, and patterns.
In our three’s and four’s classrooms teachers will help students to learn:
- Basic shapes
- Sorting by various characteristics: size, shape, color, etc
- Counting objects
- Simple AB patterns
- Number recognition 1 to 10
As our children continue to develop we will then introduce to them concepts such as:
- 3-dimensional shapes
- Classifying into categories
- More complex patterns
- Continued number recognition
- Simple addition and subtraction
Areas of Science study will include, but not be limited to:
The nature of science and technology
- Students are actively engaged in beginning to explore how their world works. They explore, observe, ask questions, discuss observations, and seek answers.
- Students use numbers, pictures, and words when observing and communication to help them begin to answer their questions about the world.
The Physical Setting
- Students investigate, describe, and discuss their natural surroundings. They begin to question why things move.
The Living Environment
- Students ask questions about a variety of living things and everyday events that can be answered through shared observations.
The Mathematical World
- Students use shapes to compare objects, and they begin to recognize patterns.
- Students begin to understand how things are similar and how they are different. They look for ways to distinguish between objects by observation.
Social Studies and History
Children are introduced to important people and events both historical and present day. We include themes such as Favorite Authors, Famous Artists, Black History, Athletes and Sportsmanship, and Holiday Traditions Around the World to open a child’s mind to the world outside himself. We incorporate multi-cultural ideas and celebrations, as well as specific men and women of different cultures who have made or are making an important mark on our world.
We incorporate art in our classroom with the focus on process, not product! Children will be introduced to materials used in the art world including but not limited to: markers, crayons, paint, glue, scissors, and clay. Art is intended to teach creativity, and not limit a child’s thoughts and ideas. While a model is often given for a project, children are encouraged to take that idea and build on it with what she sees in her mind’s eye.
Children are given ample opportunities to work daily on their fine motor skills. Some examples include:
- Sensory tubs and bins
- Cutting with scissors
- Modeling with Dough
Gross motor opportunities are also presented daily. Weather permitting, children will get morning and afternoon playground time. If the weather is not appropriate for outdoor play, children will be given indoor opportunities for gross motor development, such as games, parachute play, and indoor obstacle courses in our gym area.
Children will have time in the STEM lab each week. While in the STEM lab children will take part in science experiments, work together to complete building challenges, create on the Lego wall, and opportunities to build and create freely. We have a staff member on our team who pulls children out of their classrooms in small groups to work alongside them.
Providing regular experiences in emotional and social growth is imperative when teaching the whole child. Respect and responsibility are modeled by teachers, and expected from students in return. Our Guidance System encourages, promotes, and rewards good choices. These choices may include kind words, kind voices, and kind touch, as well as always trying YOUR very best. We believe this system helps to prepare children to become productive, responsible, and compassionate adults, who also maintain a good work ethic.
Our character education incorporates and encourages the following qualities:
Our school rules are as follows:
- Safety first!
- Respect your friends
- Respect yourself
- Respect your environment
Play Based Learning Centers
When you enter a classroom and a child is “playing,” do you ever wonder what the benefit is to that? As adults, we view ourselves as experts in problem solving, communication, number crunching, and a variety of other areas. When you enter a classroom and see your child playing in a center with other children, take a step back and ask yourself what’s really going on there:
- Are they communicating?
- Is there problem solving going on?
- Are they turn taking?
- Are they planning and then carrying out a plan?
- Are there fine/large motor processes taking place?
- Is there exposure to something new? Is it creating an opportunity to think “outside the box”?
- Are they having fun??
A child who is asked to sit at a desk for long periods of time is missing out on opportunities for the development of skills that will be useful for the rest of his/her life. Take a minute to PLAY! Even as an adult, I bet you’ll be surprised at how your brain starts churning…
Homework…What can we do at home?
Your child will receive a monthly calendar of homework activities if they are enrolled in our Pre-Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten classrooms. You will complete a specified number of activities each week, and return the calendar at the end of each month. The activities listed on the calendar will be fun, hands on activities that you can do with your child. Our hope is that these activities lead to questions, conversations, and even more hands on activities that stimulate your child’s mind.
There may occasionally be additional homework and/or projects that come home. These will be accompanied by directions and an explanation of what we hope to culminate from these additional projects.
We love partnering with our families and so if you are ever looking for ways to help your children at home, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher or our Director of Education as we have several resources on hand we could supply you with.