The Pre-K curriculum is designed in a way that respects individual differences and that all children will experience joy and delight as they grow and develop socially and academically. The classroom is set up and designed for children to come to learn and explore in a safe, loving, caring, and monitored atmosphere. We will be meeting the requirements for children entering Kindergarten in the Chatham school district. It is our goal to prepare your child for Kindergarten in a nurturing, home-like environment.
Children learn best in an active environment where they can design, choose, implement and influence their activities. Teachers create and implement daily lesson plans on a theme-based calendar and use practices from Creative Curriculum and the New Jersey Core standards. Children are taught as a group and individually based on each child’s needs and development. Learning Centers have been instrumental in helping children practice skills.
The ideal classroom is based on areas that are designed to help young children grow and develop. The learning centers in the classroom are as follows:
Circle Time – Children begin their day through meaningful experiences like storytelling, songs, finger plays, and an explanation of what the focus of the day is. Children learn to express their ideas and associate the written word with the spoken word. Circle time is a whole group activity. The Pre-K class will learn Spanish, French, and Sign Language; days of the week, months of the year, counting to 100; and much more!
Art – Creative Art may be an independent or a group activity where children are developing small muscle control, hand-eye coordination, and self-esteem. They are expressing themselves through various forms of media like paint, crayons, markers, glue, textured materials, and scissors just to name a few.
Language/Library – Children are developing their reading, pronunciation, and spelling skills. They are cultivating their understanding of patterning and sequencing and practicing their fine motor skills necessary for reading and writing through tactile letters, pictures, tracing shapes and letters, and beads. Children are beginning to expand their experiences of the world through books and discussions. They are learning that pictures have meanings and that pictures and words can tell a story. Children are also exercising their language and listening skills and finding enjoyment in the written word. The Pre-K class will also learn to spell and write many words including their names.
Blocks – Children are developing an understanding of the relationship between size and shape, learning to think and plan, and being introduced to the basic math concepts of geometry and numbers. Children build and create with blocks of various sizes, colors, and shapes.
Dramatic Play – Children are learning to share and work together as they explore both the familiar and unknown through pretend play. They are practicing verbal skills and developing an understanding of symbolic representation that leads to the development of reading and writing skills. This area is filled with real and fake props and dress-up clothes to encourage children’s imagination.
Science – Children are stimulated, think and communicate by being given the opportunity to explore cause and effect through fun-filled experiments and by asking questions. Children may find interesting objects from nature, leaves, rocks, seashells, and science bottles in the science area to explore. Other materials in which children can explore are plants, magnifying glasses, a water table, and magnets. The Pre-K class will incorporate many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts and experiments into their daily routine.
Sensory – The water and sand table is equipped with cups, funnels, and sieves to encourage children to explore and understand the physical world, and to develop concepts underlying math and science, and physics. Children will explore and experiment through the sense of touch and feel.
Computer and Technology – Children will learn to work together as they become familiar with computer usage and computer parts. They will be introduced to educational computer software through interactive games learning phonics, counting and numbers, shapes and patterns, and finding letters on the keyboard. They will use programs like starfall.com. Computer usage is always monitored by the teacher.
Manipulatives – Children develop fine motor skills by using their fingers and hands in creative ways. They are developing eye-hand coordination and practicing problem-solving skills. Children have the opportunity to work on puzzles, pegboards, geometric boards, and building complex structures. They also carefully string beads into colorful patterns.
Gross Motor – Children are encouraged to utilize the large muscles of the body like in their arms, legs, and core. Children are engaged in activities that have them move around and exercise. They get to dance, jump, skip, hop, crawl and roll around. They get to use their full body for music and movement, use scarves to wave around, and push and ride scooters. They are encouraged to do this outside and inside the classroom.
Music and Movement – Children will learn the use of patterns and rhythm through songs and dance. They will develop a sense of body space and awareness, body movement, balance, and coordination. Listening to words as they are sung in a pattern can facilitate language learning and encourage the development of auditory discrimination.