Our curriculum includes both child-initiated and teacher-directed learning experiences that are intended to support and enrich a child’s development socially & emotionally, cognitively, physically, and in language & communication. Some of our resources come from Pre-K Pages, SEEL, and Starfall.
Classrooms Designed with Intention
Our classrooms are set up in a way that allows children to move freely through the different activities offered based on the child's interests. All of our learning experiences are hands on activities that promote skills such as beginning sounds, letter recognition, number recognition, writing skills, one to one correspondence, rhyming, positional words, and more! Hands on activities encourage children to learn about cause and effect and gives them the opportunity to be messy, creative, cooperate, and learn through experience. We provide engaging activities in the core subjects including art, science, math, literacy, and dramatic play.
Outdoor play is important to a child’s development and will be included throughout the day. There is less structure in an outdoor learning environment; however, teachers actively lead and engage in fun activities. Outdoor play is an opportunity for children to run, jump, climb and use their bodies in ways that would otherwise be unsafe in an indoor classroom. In addition, a large amount of social interaction takes place when children play outdoors. Children will go outside year-round, including winter. Only during extreme weather conditions or days with poor air quality will we remain indoors.
Often times we forget that transitions are an important part of a child’s day; therefore, we use tactics such as five minute clean up announcements, games, and movement activities in an effort to make transitioning more meaningful. Transitioning can be stressful and frustrating, especially for the children who are worried about running out of time, not finishing their projects, or cutting their games short. Transitioning independently from one activity to the next is a key skill for preschool aged children.
Overstimulation is common in young children and can be caused when there’s a lot of noise, a child is tired, or there’s just a lot going on. In an effort to provide a healthy way for children to decompress we provide a 30 minute rest time (or longer if needed) after lunch.
Assessments are used as a tool to help our teachers personalize and adapt learning experiences to an individual child’s needs. Assessments are done three times a year for children age 3 to 5, in September, January and May. Once the assessments have been completed, they are sent home for parents to review. We use developmental milestones throughout the school year to track children’s progress, you can refer to some of the specifics below. We encourage our parents to use assessments and developmental milestones as a way to help guide learning at home.
Play gives children the chance to practice what they are learning.
Researcher Mildred Parten suggested that children’s social development is mirrored by their play. After studying the social play of children ages two to five years, Parten identified four developmental stages of play. Once a child has developed the ability to participate in a stage of play, he or she may use various forms and different combinations of that stage, and preceding stages, throughout the day.
A child plays alone with little or no reference to what other children are doing. They may talk to themselves during play. The social aspect of play can seem overwhelming for children who are in this stage. (Mostly 2 year olds, but can apply to any age)
Though using similar toys, a child plays beside, rather than with the other children. Example: Children building with blocks side by side. They aren’t playing/ building together. They are participating in the same activity without interacting.
Children play together but do not organize their play toward a common goal.
The beginnings of “team work”; children play together for a common purpose. (This typically happens when a child is around school age).
The research of Sara Smilansky resulted in her identification of four types of play and the connections between play and learning.
Functional Play - The child uses simple, repetitive movements to experiment with materials and discover how things work and/or go together.
Constructive Play - The child’s play is focused on the accomplishment of a goal (i.e. completing a puzzle or building a castle with blocks).
Dramatic Play (solitary) and Sociodramatic Play (group of two or more) - Children take on roles and use language, gestures, and real or imagined objects for pretending. Sociodramatic Play comes later because it requires negotiating and self regulating.
Games with Rules - The child controls his/her behavior in order to conform to prearranged rules or limits (i.e. table games and physical games).