What should children gain from preschool?
What children should primarily gain from preschool is an opportunity to play and socialize with a group of their peers under the guidance of trained teachers who can maximize the children’s growth experiences in an emotionally supportive atmosphere.
Emphasis is on learning through play in an environment planned to encourage discovery, independence and social interaction. In order to develop self-esteem and social competence, children are encouraged to help themselves, take initiative, and become increasingly independent.
The preschool program is designed to encourage a balance of child-initiated and teacher-facilitated activities. This program offers children a variety of choices provided within a carefully prepared environment. The environment includes art, dramatic play, unit blocks, manipulatives, language arts, books, music, water and sand play, building of large structures, gardening, running, climbing, animal care, and a variety of large and small motor activities. Our goals include the encouragement of each child’s natural curiosity and interest in learning. We feel it is important for children to actively participate in the learning process, and therefore provide many opportunities for learning by doing, for both indirect and direct acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
Language acquisition is at its prime during the early childhood years. We teach basic Spanish vocabulary through songs, movement, finger plays and stories. It is our goal to expose the children to much meaningful Spanish language within our everyday curriculum as possible.
Our goals for children are that they will:
- Develop a strong sense of self
- Participate in a nurturing environment that fosters the development of the whole child: the physical, social, emotional, and creative selves
- Gain in independence and initiative
- Be supported in problem solving
- Experience the joy of discovery
- Express feelings and develop social problem solving skills
- Feel valued and respected
Be involved in their children’s preschool experience and establish a productive working partnership with the teachers
Receive and share information about their children at both conferences and on an ongoing basis
Participate in their children’s joy of discovery
Classroom as Community
Creating community in the classroom is vital to each child. Children need to feel a sense of belonging and they need to know that they are safe and loved unconditionally. Community is further enhanced when children know that all parts of their lives, both at home and at school, are valued and connected in the classroom. The trust that develops in a classroom community enables children to believe in themselves, giving them the freedom to learn and grow at a pace most satisfying and exciting to them.
Sample Sequence of Day
9:15 Meeting. Children meet with age-specific group to plan their morning exploration time.
9:25 Exploration: Choice of inside or outside activities including: easel painting, clay, art, dramatic play, block play, manipulatives, woodworking, water play and sand. There will also be cooking, science, and language arts activities.
10:45 Snack time. After hand washing, children share snack in small groups. These groups stay together throughout the year.
11:00 Reflexion: Children meet with age specific groups to share what they have done during exploration time.
11:15 Music/Spanish with Ms. Patty C. and Ms. Caroline or project work.
11:45 Music/Spanish with Ms. Patty C. and Ms. Caroline or project work.
12:05 Story time: Songs, fingerplays, talking about the day, and stories. Parents and caregivers picking up children are encouraged to join in.
Music is incorporated throughout the day as part of routines, circle times, and as initiated by adults and/or children in a spontaneous manner. Music and movement are considered key experiences in early childhood, precisely because it is such an intrinsic way for young children to learn and experience their world. Songs and rhymes promote language and speech development, as well as spatial reasoning skills. Music and movement activities reinforce many of the basic skills of physical development so crucial to early childhood: fine and gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, balance and self-control, and growing self-confidence in one’s abilities. Specific musical skills, so crucial to the overall education and development of young children, are also experienced weekly, wherein the children sing songs, move, dance, play instruments, develop listening skills, and experience steady beat. Music is considered an integral part of educating and nurturing the whole child; touching intellect, spirit, and building the self esteem of every child.
- Council of Ministers of Education, Canada’s Statement on Play-Based Learning
- The Center for Early Childhood Education’s publication, “Science in Support of Play: The Case for Play-Based Preschool Programs“
- NAEYC’s piece, “Debunking the Play vs. Learning Dichotomy“
- Executive Summary of Oxford University Press’s book, “A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence“