With a balance of strong academic and hands-on developmentally appropriate experiences, children move through thematic and project-based curricula in an environment which promotes differentiated levels of difficulty in order to meet each individual child’s need and interest.
The Pre-Kindergarten teachers serve as guides encouraging independence, promoting a positive nurturing environment, and inspiring a love of learning. After a year in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom, children begin their elementary academic career secure, capable, and confident with the tools necessary for a bright future.
A solid foundation in language fundamentals is introduced
through a phonics-based approach integrated with a literature-based program. The teachers read to the students daily and encourage discussion.
Reading readiness skills are developed through matching games, classifying items by similarities and differences, listening to and following a sequential order of directions, identifying one’s name, and left to right eye progression. Students are introduced to a letter a week where they practice letter recognition, letter-sound correspondence, and letter tracing and writing. Reading skills are introduced to the whole class, in small groups, and one-on-one. Word families (cat, mat, hat) and memory words (the, a, I, to) are introduced and practiced. Simple sentences are created and read. Monthly literature units and poems are introduced. Theme-based activities include reading comprehension, sequencing of story events, and vocabulary development.
Math concepts are introduced in hands-on manipulative-based learning methods to implement theory of sequential operations. Activities include exploring and arranging math tools such as pattern blocks, unifix cubes, tangrams, and number tiles. Students use a variety of standard and nonstandard tools for measurement. After understanding object attributes, students then move to concrete mathematical concepts. Students learn about spatial relationships, classification, patterning, and ordering of numbers. Students also learn basic problem-solving skills, number relationships, and graphing. Combining numbers (addition) to create larger numbers is introduced and practiced by using an abacus. Counting numbers orally to 100 and looking for patterns among numbers (10, 20, 30, etc.) is discussed.
Science is integrated throughout the Pre-K curriculum weekly. At times, science is linked to a particular theme, such as space, insects, oceans or animals. Students are introduced to and participate in many fascinating experiments and learn the basic scientific method – how to make a prediction and express a hypothesis, conduct tests to see results, and express findings and conclusions. In addition, students explore a variety of materials in order to create something new.
Students develop an understanding of such concepts as friendship, feelings, manners, community, and famous Americans. Students participate in field trips designed to enhance the social studies curriculum. Visitors from the local fire department and the local police department visit the classroom to give special presentations. Multi-cultural activities and holidays are discussed and celebrated. In addition, parents plan and carry out three learning-type activities as part of seasonal party celebrations.
Safety is taught indirectly throughout the day by stressing care in handling of materials, and by following safety rules in the classroom and on the playground. Good health is encouraged by stressing healthy foods, sanitary measures (hand washing and cleaning table surfaces before and after serving snack), and by encouraging students to stay home when ill. Police and Fire Department visitors will share safety information with the class. If available, a doctor and a dentist will visit to talk with students about taking care of their bodies and good hygiene practices.
Each week the children will enjoy classes in music, library, religion, Spanish and art taught by specialists in each specific area. Pre-K students attend physical education class every other week.
For young children, religion is taught through a story and song format in a fun and relaxed manner. A song of praise is sung before our nutritious snack each day. The religion class is taught by the school Chaplain. Chapel is attended on special occasions and holidays.
A variety of musical experiences are provided to explore and expand the child’s creative capabilities. Music is used to increase the child’s awareness of other cultures and traditions as well as used as a creative outlet. Students are exposed to a variety of music fundamentals such as playing instruments, singing songs, and moving to the beat or sound.
Students visit the school library each week for a story and an introduction to the library as a resource. Pre-Kindergarten students are encouraged to read in the library.
Students are introduced to the elements of art (color, line, shape, texture) as well as exposed to great artists in order to instill an appreciation of art.
In addition to daily recess times to play on the dedicated Pre-K playground, students
attend bi-weekly physical education classes.
Lessons focus on balance and coordination, hand-eye coordination and instilling good exercise habits at a young age. The focus is that good health can and should be fun.
Students are introduced to the Spanish language, culture, and traditions through song, rhyme, and basic vocabulary.