As children are naturally curious and have an innate love of learning, we design curriculum to encourage and facilitate this motivation to learn and develop in a self-directed manner; as children learn best through exploration and play, we design curriculum to give children varied and open-ended opportunities to:
- understand concepts,
- solve problems,
- practice creativity,
- develop an understanding of self and others,
- gain self-confidence,
- learn to communicate,
- practice motor skill and control,
- and create relationships and friendships.
Each preschool teacher generates curriculum that provides a broad range of experiences appropriate for the children in the class. Recognizing that young children have individual strengths, needs, interests, learning styles and developmental schedules, each teacher takes a balanced, whole-child approach to curriculum planning that provides for the positive growth and development of each of the children.
Intentional consideration is given to the enhancing each child’s cognitive development, social and emotional growth, fine and gross motor ability, and creative/artistic expression. Content domains (math, language, social studies, science, physical health, music, and art) are integrated within thematic structures and questions.
SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE
Children learn best within the context of a stable community group that follows a predictable daily routine that they understand. The following schedule is an example of what a typical half-day routine might look like for our preschool children.
8:45 A.M. ARRIVAL
Children enter the classroom and are greeted by teachers, helped to put away personal items in cubbies, and begin to work and play in open centers.
9:15-9:45 A.M. CIRCLE
Children and teachers come together for group time to share news, sing songs, count children, talk about the topic for the day, read a book, begin an investigation.
9:45-10:45 A.M. CENTERS
Children choose from activities prepared for them by the teachers within the context of the classroom centers, such as:
- books and reading
- creation station
- dramatic play
- sensory bins
- patio play
- project work
10:45- 11:00 A.M. SNACK
Children and adults sit together for “family-style” snack and conversation.
11:00- 11:30 A.M. OUTSIDE
Children play together outside on the playground while supervised by adults.
11:30-11:45 A.M. CLOSE
Children return for closing circle, review, and goodbyes.
Periodic assessment of children is an important function of a quality preschool. The purposes of assessment include evaluation of the child’s developmental progress, understanding of the child’s temperamental/learning style, and identification of the child’s developmental needs.
Preschool teachers observe what a child chooses to do in the classroom, how and with whom the child plays, and where the child’s strengths and needs are. Using various methods, including informal notes, anecdotal records, skills checklists, documentation photos, and work portfolios, teachers keep track of the progress of each child. In addition, a developmental assessment tool is used to help teachers understand each individual child more formally and comprehensively. The assessment evaluates the child’s progress in five areas of development:
- fine/gross motor, and
- approach to learning.
In addition, the assessment serves as the foundation for parent-teacher conferences.
Parent-teacher conferences are held in November and March, following the assessment period. These conferences provide formal opportunities for parents and teachers to discuss their impressions of the child and to address any concerns. At the end of the year, the assessment is completed for a third time and sent to the parents.
The preschool learning environment is designed to foster children’s self-control and respect for self and others. Teachers take time to know and value each child in their class, and they are committed to helping children to develop into strong individuals who work and play well with others. Teachers use regular classroom routines, behavior modeling, redirection, positive guidance, and social coaching to teach children how to manage themselves and how to cooperate and collaborate with friends. Clear, consistent classroom rules are developed for each classroom in conjunction with the children, and these rules are practiced consistently. Logical or natural consequences are applied in problem situations.
In the rare events when children are physically or verbally aggressive towards others, disruptive of the learning environment, or destructive to property, parents are notified and are encouraged to work together with the school to find a solution to the problem. Family cooperation with and support of behavioral interventions is required. Our goal is to provide a positive and productive learning community, and we meet this goal consistently.