3 & 4's Pre-School
Our Pre-School students enter a nurturing environment that supports the growth of imagination, curiosity and an understanding of the world around them.
The Pre-School teachers use a team-teaching approach -- two teachers collaborate extensively to implement the program in a ten-to-one student/teacher ratio.
The Pre-School program is a two year program for three and four year old children who interact and learn in mixed age groups. Each day consists of independent play, teacher-directed group activities and individual instruction.
- Children attend for 5 days each week
- Early Morning Care: 7:30-8:00 a.m. (pre-registration required)
- Sunrise Club: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
- Regular class hours: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Lunch Bunch hours: 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Extended Day: 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday (pre-registration required)
- After School: Monday-Thursday, 3:15 to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 1:45-5:30 p.m.
Teachers carefully plan and implement activities in the major developmental areas. All activities are designed to emphasize emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development. Teachers create learning centers to meet the changing needs of Pre-School students. These bright and colorful centers include areas focusing on the major academics such as literacy, science, and mathematics. These carefully planned centers are changed monthly as the children’s needs continue to develop.
The Pre-School program consists of periods of independent play, child-directed and teacher-directed group activities as well as instruction in art, cooking, health, language, letters, sounds, motor skills, music, math concepts, science, and social studies. The program is designed to offer numerous opportunities to take advantage of teachable moments whether a child has acquired a skill and needs to expand on this knowledge or is ready to learn a new skill.
At the Pre-School level, the language arts are taught through an integrated approach – the aim is to create a language and literature rich environment which develops phonemic awareness and beginning phonics skills. Activities occur throughout the day both in small group and whole group settings. The program is designed to accommodate a range of literacy levels. Children who are ready for more challenging experiences have opportunities to work with the teacher in small groups and one-on-one during the school day. Our teachers ensure that lessons include significant exposure to phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge, rich vocabulary, and a wide variety of quality children’s literature.
Oral language is an important part of daily instruction as students tell about their experiences and share each day with the class. Teachers carefully model language to expand vocabulary and develop proper pronunciation. Each day, students participate in learning through question and answer relationships. Morning meeting is an important part of our day when characteristics of a listener are emphasized: looking at the speaker, learning how to greet, sitting quietly, and thinking about what the speaker is saying. Students practice these steps as they decide how to solve problems and share ideas in small and large groups.
Reading and Writing
Students are immersed in reading and writing activities throughout the day. Teachers read and write with the students daily. Our teachers ensure that the lessons include:
- phonemic awareness games
- alphabetic knowledge
- a rich vocabulary
- opportunities for writing during teacher directed activities as well as during center time
- a wide variety of stories reinforcing concept of word, book, print directionality and letter recognition
- books, available at book looking centers and content books which are located in the learning centers
- poems, signs, labels, and captions on display
- the class list of children’s names, posted and used for visual recognition games
- poems, songs, and finger plays
- big books and choral reading
Fine Motor Skills
Children are given fine motor tasks which emphasize correct pencil grip and body posture. Our Pre-School teachers follow the curriculum of Handwriting Without Tears.This program is a developmentally based curriculum created for writing readiness and teaches to all learning styles. The same program is used through Kindergarten. All children have numerous opportunities to use materials such as dry erase boards, dry erase markers, chalk, pencils, stencils, crayons, paint, stamps, glue, and play dough. Children also use manipulative tools such as pinchers, eyedroppers, clothespins, scissors, tops, tongs, tweezers, and beads. The writing centers have words displayed so that children who are able can copy letters, words, or captions.
Pre-school students discover mathematics through hands-on exploration. We recognize and build upon each child’s level of mathematical information and understanding by integrating it across subject areas through verbal interaction, manipulative activities, and individual instruction. Children learn at each stage that mathematical concepts have real life applications and our goal is that children develop understanding and insight into the patterns of mathematics through the use of concrete materials. The activities support a variety of mathematical concepts which include:
- Operations: (adding, subtracting)
- Patterning (observing, copying, extending, and recording)
- Sorting (organizing, comparing, and categorizing)
- Spatial Reasoning
Pre-School students explore basic scientific principles through a variety of hands-on experiences and question and answer relationships. The science curriculum engages students in the scientific method of inquiry: predicting, experimenting, observing, and changing predictions based on new observations. At their level of inquiry, children are encouraged to connect their ideas to new experiences to add to their knowledge base. Pre-School teachers stimulate curiosity and exploration as students continue the initial steps of becoming life-long learners.
In Spanish class, Pre-School students are exposed to the language and have the opportunity to learn basic words and phrases. Students learn colors, main body parts, weather vocabulary, animals, and numbers one through ten. They also learn basic greetings and conversation words. Using visual aids, songs, games and hands-on projects, these goals are accomplished in a cooperative learning environment. Each class meets with the Spanish teacher once each week.
Visual Arts in Pre-School focus on experimental, exploratory, sensory, and creative activities in a wide range of media. A variety of papers, pencils, pastels, paint, printmaking, and construction materials, help foster personal creativity and skill development geared to the wide range of individual interests and abilities at this age. The children are also introduced to the vocabulary and the expressive quality of the basic elements of design -- line, shape, space, color, and texture. The Pre-School classes meet with an art specialist once each week.
Music surrounds the Pre-School students. Musical opportunities for individual expression and group participation are integrated into the curriculum. Children sing for enjoyment, learn to clap in rhythm while singing and listening, recognize instruments by sight and or sound, and dance and move to music. Students explore instruments, and enjoy song stories. Pre-School children are entertained by visiting musicians from other divisions of the School as well as from the community. The Pre-School classes meet with a music & movement specialist once each week.
Dramatic Play rounds out the Pre-School fine arts experience. Children enjoy dramatic play centers which are changed monthly. Stories, songs, and poems are acted out and puppets are used extensively.
While our Pre-School students do not participate in formal physical education classes, the development of motor skills is an important part of our curriculum. We offer daily opportunities for gross motor experiences in both teacher-directed and student-initiated activities providing for individual differences and varying levels of maturity. Our teachers promote the development of fundamental movement abilities involving locomotion, control, quality of movement, and stability. Our goal is that each child will develop gross motor skills, spatial awareness, agility, balance, coordination, and strength.