Curriculum in Preschool
The preschool curriculum is designed to be emergent in nature to follow the needs and interests of the children.
Developmentally Appropriate Philosophy of Education – Preschoolers develop at their own rates, and early development in certain areas is not always indicative of long-term expertise. However, studies have shown that young children need to have a variety or experiences to develop their social skills, mathematical understanding, language arts development, motor skills, and “sciencing” processes.
Social skills addressed include developing self-regulation, that is, learning to respond appropriately in social situations. Young children are taught how to relate to others, including their peers and teachers. Our youngest students learn to cooperate and collaborate with others in the learning community.
Mathematical Understanding in preschool includes exploration of measurement, developing number sense, beginning to experience number operations such as adding and subtracting, and exploring data through graphs. Also, young children learn about patterns, relationships of objects in the environment, comparison, and sorting by attributes.
Language Arts Development is key to future literacy skills. We use Abeka phonics, Frog Street Press, and other sources that are woven into a strong pre-literacy foundation. Children learn to listen for a purpose, use language to express their wants and thoughts, and begin to understand representation of sounds and words with symbols (letters).
Books and other print resources are used as models to help preschoolers understand that written language can be used to communicate. Discriminating sounds such as beginning, ending, and rhyming are fundamental literacy skills to learn in preschool.
Motor Skill Development, both gross and fine motor skills blossom in preschool through a variety of activities in the preschool classroom, in music class, in the motor lab, and outdoors on the playground.
Science Processing Skills-- are fun for young children, and they are naturally curious. Our preschoolers learn about physical, natural, and life sciences in their environment. Sensory awareness encourages students to use their science processing skills. They discover on their own, and are exposed to a variety of books, objects, and models to foster their sense of wonder about God’s world.
Art and Creativity--are critical for young children, and they learn to express themselves through free art choices. Structured art projects teach our young students to follow directions, develop an attention span, and complete projects.
Music and Movement – twice weekly classes are designed to introduce our children to musical concepts. Children experience music through a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and the use of percussion instruments
Three Year Olds:
The three year old curriculum expands on the foundation established in the two-year old classes. This class offers a schedule of independent, small group, and large group activities. Students in the class begin to become more independent through self-toileting, hand washing, putting materials away, and cleaning up the classroom during transitions. The students continue to learn about literacy, numeracy, and shapes and colors through explicit lessons built around themes in the classroom. Play-dough and scissors are a few examples of activities to promote fine motor development. Manipulatives are an important teaching tool to encourage students to develop a sense of patterning, creativity, promote inquisitiveness, and encourage observations. Students at this age love to ask questions and are naturally curious, a perfect time to introduce science concepts through the use of nature (such as growing butterflies) and everyday objects (such as building blocks). Opportunities for cooking teach about nutrition, measuring, mixing, and how matter changes.Play continues to be important at this age, and at St. Thomas, we incorporate a long period of unstructured play to allow opportunities for social development, questioning and clarifying language opportunities amongst peers, and to allow children to climb, run, and swing.Teachers weave a rich curriculum through the use of preschool manipulatives such as puzzles, imaginative play through toy cars and dress up, literature, and art opportunities with rich sensorial experiences.
Enrichment: Music, Chapel, Spanish
Four Year Olds:
The goal of the four-year old program is to prepare students for kindergarten by continuing to build on the preschool foundation. Lessons in the four year old class are more structured, and children learn to attend for longer periods of time. A developmental, center-based approach to learning allows student to make choices, follow their interests, and capitalize on their curiosity. Students begin to learn letter names and phonics while participating in small and large group activities. Pre-literacy skills include learning about print, learning about language, making predictions, asking questions, sharing evaluations, and retelling stories. Students begin to learn to write letters and numbers on either the white boards, chalk boards, or paper with markers. Learning about numbers and counting is incorporated into play. Play continues to be an important part of the preschool curriculum. This is an age when children begin to explore role-playing and creating puppet shows. Children enjoy weekly art projects and have opportunities for self-expression through art.Teachers make choices about manipulatives to meet a variety of developmental processes, and they rotate the materials to maximize interest. Further, students have opportunities to have computer and Spanish classes. Chapel is part of every day for the class.Again, teachers choose manipulatives and curriculum such as calendar math to provide a well-rounded experience. Materials used published by:Frog Street Press,Handwriting without Tears, Carson Dellosa, and Abeka.
Enrichment: Music, Chapel, Library, Spanish, Computer
Gift of Time:
The GOT class provides an extra year of growth or students to prepare for kindergarten. The class offers developmentally appropriate activities to enhance readiness for kindergarten success. This class is designed for students who turn five years old over the summer before the September 1 cut off date, or those who just miss the date for kindergarten placement. The curriculum is similar to the kindergarten class with built in time to allow students to gain confidence and refine their skills.
Enrichment: Music, Chapel, Library, Spanish, Computer, P.E.
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