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Curriculum

Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum Areas

 

Project Approach

Projects are activities or units of study that involve children’s active participation and include exploration, investigation, and hands on learning.  Projects involve significant input from the children.  The initial idea or questions may come from the children or teachers.  The ideas purposed and questions asked define the content and scope of the project.  The project approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem solve, communicate, reflect, and more.

Children use a variety of resources to find answers to their questions.  These include traditional resources like books.  They also can conduct in-depth investigations on site visits.  The children plan questions for interviews and have assigned tasks for trips or for interviewing experts.  They make field notes and draw or write on site.  They make field plans for building structures and play environments that will help them sort out what they are learning about the topic.

Children do their own problem solving with the teacher structuring problems and assisting in finding solutions and resources.  Children will redraw and rewrite as their knowledge grows.  Some of the ways that they will record their learning are project books, posters, murals, artwork, graphs, charts, constructions, and journals.

The teacher collects children’s work, observes what they do, and analyzes their work.  This is called documentation.  The curriculum goals of our school are reviewed and documentation is planned to be sure that children are learning concepts and skills specified in the goals.  Often a display will be prepared that shows what students are learning.

The project approach is one way among a variety of ways that children learn.  The project integrates much of the same knowledge and skills presented in more formal ways in the classroom.  Projects have the added advantage of providing an opportunity for children to apply and use what they are learning as they solve problems and share what they know.  It provides opportunities for developing group skills such as working with others and challenges children to think, which supports brain development.

 

Fine Motor – Handwriting Without Tears

Handwriting Without Tears – The “Get Set for School” program has many child-friendly, developmentally appropriate materials and activities.  This curriculum is not about formal handwriting instruction.  It is an informal program that prepares children to hold a crayon, color and draw, and imitate a few capitals and numbers through sensory play. Children play, build, sing, color and learn while developing important skills for Kindergarten:  language proficiency, social skills, fine and gross motor control, color and shape awareness, letter and number recognition, and counting.  The program suits a wide range of children and adapts to their changing needs as they grow.

Our art and writing center includes many writing and drawing tools.  There are lots of opportunities for the use of these materials that reinforce fine motor development.  As children become more comfortable with writing tools they learn to draw shapes, write letters and numbers.  In the art and writing area children become familiar with and proficient in using writing tools, scissors, stencils, glue sticks, etc.  For more information on the Handwriting Without Tears program please visit their website at www.hwtears.com

Pre-Reading and Writing / Creative Journal

Early in the school year children begin drawing and writing in a “Creative Journal” that introduces and supports pre-reading and writing skills.  The children have a chance to tell us about their pictures, we write their words down, and then read their words back to them.  The children really enjoy this activity.

The Younger Child (Preschool) and Pre K (if it is their first year with us) 

  • They learn they can be an author and illustrator of their very own book, e.g. the author creates the words and the illustrator draws the pictures.
  • They learn how to draw “one” entry per small group session and draw on the next available page (not skipping pages).
  • They learn how to write their name (writing over their name printed with a highlighter).
  • They learn how to use writing tools to draw a picture that has meaning to them.  They think of a story using their own words to tell an adult who will write their words on the page.
  • The journal is also an effective assessment tool for teacher and parents, as children progress in their fine motor, language, writing and math skills.

The Older Child (Pre- K, second year with us)

  • They learn how to print their first name with little instruction and then possibly their last name.
  • Their pictures become more detailed and they use specific colors for different objects they draw.
  • Their choice of words and the use of grammar are maturing.
  • They are introduced to the writing of the date (month, day and year) as they are asked to write this on each entry.

Social and Emotional Development – PATHS Program

PATHS Program- “Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies” is a social and emotional curriculum for preschool programs.  It helps children to learn about and express their feelings, as well as build positive self esteem.  Children learn good decision-making skills and responsibility for solving their own problems.  We encourage the children to work and play together cooperatively.  Problem solving evolves naturally, and is an on-going process.  For some children this is the first time away from home and in a group setting.  Our multi-age classrooms allow younger children to see their peers as role models.  Older children gain a positive sense of self worth, as they are able to help others.  Social graces, using manners, and kind words, is also an important component in our curriculum.