Our teachers set up the environment at preschool so that the children can learn through investigation and discovery. Each center has hands on materials that encourage each child to interact with his or her environment to learn more about themselves and the world around them. Each center is also constructed to encourage social interaction and cooperation among peers, in order for the children to be able to learn from each other. We will always include Library, Writing, Science, Math, Listening, Home Living, Blocks, Art, and Sensory as areas for children to explore, along with other areas that may be changed periodically. Children are encouraged and assisted in choosing which areas interest them and given long periods of time to explore these areas in depth.
The teacher also creates lessons based on the curriculum focus of the month and in conjunction with the Early Learning Developmental Guidelines to incite a more targeted line of inquiry or learning. The core curriculum focus is pre-determined in order to ensure all developmental guidelines are met, but each teacher may include topics into the daily lesson plans that have piqued the interest of the students. These topics can come from observations the teachers have made in the classroom, or discussions as a class or with a group of students. These lessons allow the teacher to interact with each child in a small group or one-on-one capacity in order to dig deeper into each child’s development and focus on areas that need the most growth.
This dual component in our classrooms allows for a balanced approach to child development. Children are encouraged to explore on their own and foster those areas that are important and interesting to them, but at the same time are given focused lessons in order to ensure that all areas of their development are addressed and nurtured. Each child is given the scaffolding they need in order to succeed and foster a love of learning.
Parents will be able to visually see the progress that their children are making as the year progresses with children’s portfolios. Each child has a portfolio that will store work the teacher collect. The work can vary depending on topics presented in the classroom, but will include examples assessing a variety of skills, including cutting, writing, drawing, other art media, counting, sequencing, and patterning.