Math- Math activities include counting and sorting, comparing and classifying, one-to one correspondence, seriating (putting items in order according to height/size), comparing, measuring, and reasoning. To young children, a cookie in several pieces may appear to be more than a smaller cookie in one piece. To them, the whole is more that the parts. Generalizations are often made by children. For example, my cat is friendly so all cats must be friendly. We help them to understand these kinds of distinctions. We also teach about categorization. A child may know this is an apple but may not understand that it is also a fruit.
Science/Technology-Science often overlaps with math concepts. Classification, cause and effect, logical reasoning, and seriation are science concepts. Cooking is included as part of our curriculum because it involves such things as measuring and the transformation from solid to liquid. We hope also to instill an appreciation of nature in the children through gardening and lessons on seashells, birds, trees, rocks, and other natural elements. Even throwing a ball and building with blocks involve science since they gain understanding of motion, speed, weight and height through these activities.
Oral & Written Communication- Our open library area, flannel board, finger plays, puppets, and story dictation all encourage oral and written communication. Social studies involve learning about events in our community and world. Labeled items throughout the classroom are important to create a print-rich environment where children begin to understand that written words have real meaning.
Art-Self-expression and creativity are essential to the preschool experience. Beginning drawings that appear to us as “scribbles” are the precursors to drawn recognizable objects such as a person or house. There are levels of scribble that come with increased control, from dots, to lines and circles, and then to more complex designs. And with frequent exposure to creative tools such as paint brushes, stamps, play dough and clay, children’s small finger gain strength and dexterity. This improves their control, enabling them to then write letters and numbers.
Music-Our daily “circle time” includes singing songs, dancing, and playing musical instruments. We listen to and gain appreciation for a variety of music styles including classical, jazz, rock, etc.
Active Movement-Our movement program promotes the development of strong, healthy bodies and minds. Young children grow and develop at a rapid rate. Large motor skills using the whole body include running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing, throwing, catching and kicking a ball, and riding trikes. They learn to hop on one foot, walk backwards, skip, and balance objects, which improve coordination. We also work on teamwork skills through group games. Outdoor active play involves a certain degree of risk-taking in a well-supervised setting.
Fine Motor Skills-These include eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity. Children’s little hands and fingers need to be strengthened by manipulating play dough, painting, and drawing, using building toys such as Legos, and doing puzzles. Lacing cards, pegboards, beads, clothing to zip, button, and tie help to refine the small motor skills. These are the precursors to good writing skills and computer keyboarding. Cutting with scissors and doing finger plays also improve hand strength. Right or left hand dominance becomes evident during this period and children are encouraged to learn to hold writing tools such as pencils correctly.
Social/Emotional-By encouraging friendship among our children, we build a sense of community. We talk about our families and culture with pride and appreciation. As a Christian preschool, faith formation is also a part of our daily experience. Children play in small groups daily in the dramatic play area, block area, and with manipulative toys. These times are opportunities for helping, sharing, cooperation, and negotiation. Our teachers model prosocial skills and frequently interact with the children with affection and respect. They help the children solve social problems by talking through the situation and finding a positive solution. We avoid the overuse of “No” and instead redirect the children toward a more positive activity. In this kind of supportive and positive environment, children will grow to develop a healthy self-concept and consideration for others. Important life lessons are learned at this age as children begin to understand empathy, tolerance, and appreciation and respect for diversity in others. This is the basis for their morality. Our Christian faith is demonstrated in everything we do throughout the day. We happily welcome everyone and, as a staff, we model good values and guide the children in their spiritual lives as we worship through prayer together and help them grow in faith.
Creativity & Imagination-These are enhanced through various opportunities with pretend play in the imaginative play area with dress up clothes, housekeeping items, cash registers, dolls and cars, tools, people toys and other props. Art is also a venue for creativity and self-expression.
Adaptive/Self Help-Our children begin to learn self-help skills at snack time where they practice how to serve themselves by scooping their own food, pouring their drink, and cleaning up after themselves. There is nothing more satisfying to a young child than being given the opportunity to do for themselves and they show this by telling us, “I can do it myself!” At our school, we share in this pride with them. We also encourage good manners, safety, health and hygiene that will help the child learn what is socially acceptable for his/her age.