In our Pre-K classroom the children are encouraged to explore, create and imagine, all while gettng set for kindergarten. Our classroom is a happy, safe, play-filled place where respect and support among students (and teachers) is of key importance and social skills are emphasized. Our goal is to instill within each child a lasting love of learning while nurturing their confidence in themselves.
Our Theme based curriculum includes a wide variety of topics throughout the year, such as community workers, farm, and featured authors. The children learn in a hands-on manner. An example of our community worker theme would include transforming our dramatic play area into a grocery store. Cash registers, play money, wallets, purses, grocery carts, food to buy, aprons, and bags are available. The children can make an 'OPEN' and 'CLOSED' sign and name their store. So many skills are emphasized including taking turns, role playing, counting money, making decisions on what to buy and working as a team. Additional activities related to the theme might include books about markets, puzzles of various community workers, games, songs, and fingerplays related to the grocery store, an art project, possibly cutting out pictures of favorite healthy choice foods and a cooking project. We expand on subjects as their interest grows.
Circle time provides an opportunity for community building, practicing listening skills and sharing ideas. There are calendar activities, books read, story telling, puppetry, fingerplays, songs and movement. Concepts are introduced such as counting, alphabet and number recognition, matching, rhyming, and opposites.
Free Play/Center Time
Our free play/center time offers rich and varied learning opportunities. Child selected centers include sensory tables, art, blocks, manipulatives, puzzles, book corner, listening center (books on tape), computers, dramatic play area with dress up, writing area, and science. There is a generous amount of time to play, explore and exeriment. The variety of activities are designed to promote social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. During this time, one teacher works with small groups or one-on-one at the table (i.e. dictating a story to the teacher, handwriting activities or doing a cooking project).
Throughout the day we encourage the children's emerging independence and guide them with self-help skills (zipping their jacket, problem solving skills in social situations). Outside play is full of physical, social and creative learning opportunities in our spacious yard. Nature walks and trips to nearby neighborhood parks take place as well.
School Readiness Activities
We offer many school readiness activities that meet the needs of children at all ability levels. Handwriting Without Tears by Jan Z. Olson is a program we use that encompasses so much more than just handwriting in a very approachable manner. Through music, movement, building, coloring and many multisensory activities, the children have fun as they develop important skills including:
- fine motor control
- gross motor control
- language proficiency
- listening skills, direction following
- social skills
- letter recognition
- number recognition and counting
- color and shape recogntion
Throughout our play-filled day the children in our pre-k class are developing important skills needed for kindergarten. We want them to have the language to say what they think, feel and need, to get along with others,to understand their own feelings and feelings of others and to have increased their pre-academic knowledge. We want them to approach school and learning with an eagerness and a sense of wonder.