The Preschool program is a multi-aged classroom setting, including children ranging in age from 3 – 5-years old; it is structured as one large classroom with 28 children and 4 teachers. Throughout the day there are times when we gather into smaller, intimate home groups consisting of one teacher with seven children. As a Reggio-inspired program we base our curriculum on the questions and interests of the children in our classroom. Listening carefully to the children and observing their interactions with each other and their environment, allows us to learn what interests them. Children contribute to the educational experience by questioning what to study, what topics to tackle, and how to study the topic as part of a group. Teachers also share their own interests through projects with the children. Our curriculum is often taught through the use of long-term, investigative projects, where the topics are presented through a variety of activities:
• Topics shared during our whole group discussion and read-aloud.
• Books, which may be explored at our Teacher Table for children to gather information, ask questions, and draw their interpretation of what they observe.
• The children may be presented with a variety of materials to represent the topic 3-dimentionally, such as through clay, wood, and other textures.
• We may add a literacy piece where the children create a book or story, in which the children dictate or write some or all of the words.
Social and Emotional Development – Our teachers’ role is to gain knowledge about our individual children’s social competencies in order to support further social and emotional growth using a variety of methods that incorporate Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Early Childhood Standards. Our teachers and adult staff support social emotional security and growth through modeling positive behaviors such as being empathetic, solving problems and taking risks. Modeling may occur by teachers verbally expressing that they are listening to each child or pointing out that they themselves have worked through a problem.
We support children in developing positive self-identity through valuing their interests, family and diversity. Our teachers talk with children regarding self-identity issues to convey acceptance and understanding amongst peers. We assist children in labeling their emotions in simple terms as a way to identify with the emotions that they are feeling. Teachers encourage self-help skills in ways that are consistent with children’s abilities and developmental levels. We encourage the next level of challenge once children have mastered the current one. We assist children with conflict resolution. We will discuss and mediate with the children to choose one solution together that all can agree to try. Teachers will then stay near the children to offer follow-up support.
Physical Development – Children are provided with a variety of fine and gross motor opportunities. They benefit from a large outdoor play space, hills and hiking trails as well as an inside large motor room where they are provided with opportunities to run, jump, climb, throw and kick balls, play instruments and dig. We plan movement and physical experiences that introduce a range of movement options. Teachers include movement songs and games regularly and offer opportunities for developing and exercising creatively.
Language and Literacy – We provide a language and print rich environment. It includes a language area with writing tables stocked with materials, mailboxes, book area, language games, rich use of language on documentation boards, functional use of language in making and using lists, naming dramatic play areas, stocking dramatic play with print and writing materials when appropriate and reading to children daily in small groups. Teachers attend to and encourage children’s language and conversation. Open-ended questions that typically result in more elaborate verbal responses, expand upon information provided, and answer questions and research them when necessary.
Math – Teachers introduce activities and games for the development of children’s sense of numbers. Children begin to build and understand numeric values, magnitudes, quantities, and begin to establish one-to-one correspondence. Available classroom materials include dominos, dice, number cards, etc. We give children the opportunity to write numbers whenever possible. This includes writing page numbers for books, numbering the order for children taking turns, writing amounts in recipes and prices while playing store. We introduce concepts such as shapes, classification and ordering through sorting, seriating and block building activities using a variety of materials and shapes.
Science – Teachers provide opportunities for children to represent their scientific experiences through: artwork, dramatic play, writing, lists, charts, and graphs. We encourage children to reflect on the process they observe and say what they think will happen. Teachers make comments, ask open-ended questions, and call children’s attention to things that contradict their expectations.
Social Studies – Children learn about their community by taking walks to explore the community where our center is located on S.U.’s South Campus. Maps and globes can be found in the classroom, which helps children become familiar with the geography of their immediate surroundings and our world as a whole. Children may discuss their visits to various locations and teachers can assist them with finding these locations on maps. We will also provide mapping opportunities for children to become familiar with the concepts of orientation and geography. We introduce the concept of ecology through reading books and creating games on topics such as the importance of recycling.
Preschool Daily Schedule
8:00 – 9:20 Child Initiated Activities
9:20 – 9:30 Circle
9:15 – 9:45 Morning Snack
9:45 – 10:00 Assembly
10:00 – 11:15 Child Initiated Activities
11:15 – 11:30 Home Groups + Cubbies (Sunscreen/Dressing)
11:30 – 12:00 Outdoor Play
12:00 – 12:15 Home Groups + Cubbies + Wash Hands
12:15 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 1:45 Home Group Activities + Toilet and Teeth
1:45 – 3:15 Nap/Early-Risers
3:15 – 3:45 Circle Time (Whole Group Discussion)
3:45 – 4:15 Afternoon Snack
4:15 – 5:30 Child Initiated Activities/Outdoor Play