Large (Gross) Motor Skills
Children need time to build the basic physical skills of walking up and down stairs, galloping, climbing, hopping, skipping, throwing, catching, balancing, and walking in a line. Large motor skills need to develop before the small or fine motor skills needed for writing can develop. We go outside for a short period every day that weather and circumstances permit. On very cold or rainy days we develop large motor skills through circle games and indoor activity.
Small (Fine) Motor Skills
In the classroom we develop small motor skills through molding play dough, drawing, painting, tearing paper, cutting with scissors, using glue, stringing beads and writing (as appropriate). Fine motor manipulative work (toys) also help develop fine motor skills. Playing with matchbox cars, puzzles, legos, building train tracks, dressing dolls and any small figure or toy are also ways to build fine motor skills.
Language and Literacy
In the classroom we have a daily story time. We also work on uppercase letter recognition with Juniors adding lowercase letter recognition for Seniors. We teach letter sounds, rhymes and beginning sounds. Children also learn how to interpret pictures to help understand a story. We do many activities that involve the children’s names and letters that relate to the current theme. Children graduate with a love of literature and a few even learn how to read!
We teach children to sort and classify, count by rote, recognize number symbols (both in and out of context), patterning, using ordinal numbers, and recognizing geometric shapes. We also focus on counting with 1 to 1 correspondence and measurement. Older children work on addition, subtraction and graphing.
We sing fingerplays, rhyming songs, call and response songs, theme related songs and childhood favorites. We learn tempo and rhythm by playing instruments such as bells, egg shakers and drums. We practice moving to music, clapping and dancing.
Teachers take children on nature walks and enjoy nature. In the classroom we do cooking projects, simple experiments, engage in sensory play and learn about the weather. Teachers include lessons on simple machines, magnets, cause and effect, plants ,animals and life cycles during the year.
Art projects are one of the main ways that students work on fine motor skills in the classroom. The younger children engage in a lot of process art that enables them to learn skills and practice using tools without worrying about creating a product. As the children grow and develop their art becomes more recognizable and thematic in nature. The teachers plan a large variety of art projects throughout the year including easel painting and collage.
Character Building Skills
We practice using good manners. Our teachers work to help the students develop empathy, demonstrate kindness and show compassion for others. Our classrooms also emphasize cooperation, personal responsibility, self discipline, and thankfulness in developmentally appropriate ways.
Social-Emotional Development Skills
Social-emotional skills are very important for children to learn in order to reach academic and behavioral goals. Our teachers help the children become able to separate from parents and enjoy attending school. Children learn to express feelings and ideas with words to share as they develop. Self-regulation skills are learned as students become more able to wait for a turn, listen when others are speaking and to refrain from interrupting. Children practice recognizing personal space each day during circle time, snack and work time as well as when we line up to go outside.
School Field Trips and Visitors
Throughout the year we plan field trips and educational visitors to enrich our learning program. We typically enjoy visits from the firefighters, the dentist and a puppet show. Our off campus field trips include visits to a farm, a music studio, and a dance studio.