Preschool and Pre-K
I am a strong believer in considering the whole child when it comes to preschool and pre-k education. The Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, Social aspects of each child is considered when planning the curriculum. The curriculum at SHCC is hands-on and developmentally appropriate. It is my goal that each child is prepared for kindergarten by nurturing his/her curiosity and has had numerous experiences in each aspect of his/her development. I do believe that letters, numbers and beginning reading skills are important because of the school district's all day kindergarten program, but these do not take precedence over the other areas of growth and learning, and these skills are taught in a hands-on developmentally appropriate way. At SHCC I teach these skills within our monthly theme. Our math, literacy, dramatic play, art and science centers, and units revolve around this theme, using hands-on materials.
The multi-age environment is a wonderful way for children to learn social skills. They learn to interact with children of a variety of ages. They learn to take turns, help one another, deal with conflict in a socially acceptable way, express their wants, and recognize other children's emotional needs as well. These skills are really practiced in the dramatic play area, which for a couple of weeks a month may be changed into a bakery, grocery store or restaurant to give the children many opportunities to practice these skills.
We work on math skills throughout the day, as well as in our math center which is reflective of the monthly theme. We work on counting, number recognition and sequencing, as well as writing the numbers when the child is ready for this fine motor skill. The children learn through hands-on games, our calendar time, and counting every chance we get. In this picture, a child is using number recognition and counting skills to place the bear counters on the number line.
At SHCC children are exposed to a variety of sensory activities. Children need to explore the world around them in a hands-on way. Touch and squeeze playdough, feel the texture of a pumpkin, feel what the rocks outside feel like in the snow or the sun. We are always exploring our world and monthly theme in a hands-on way.
Literacy skills are demonstrated in our classroom environment in many ways from our alphabet and word wall to our daily schedule and classroom jobs chart. The children learn upper and lowercase letter recognition, letter sounds, rhyming, left to right and top to bottom progression, and eventually have an early introduction into reading at the pre-k level. Literacy is learned through our games in our literacy center, which are reflective of our monthly theme as well as through our story at circle time that develops a love for literature and helps support the monthly learning theme.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are vitally important to develop in preschoolers. At SHCC this is practiced each and every day. The children learn to develop their fine motor skills through using a variety of art mediums such as crayons, paint, markers, play dough, glue, cutting with scissors and the list goes on. We have an art time each day. I try to incorporate mostly process art, where I supply the materials and the children can make their own creations. I also sometimes stray from this and we make a cute craft, like a turkey hat! I try to have some aspect of those craft projects be a little creative on each child's part. At 3yrs of age the children begin to work on writing their names, and when a child seems developementally ready, we begin to work on other letter and number writing skills.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills are practiced most often on our playground, but also at music time. The children are encouraged to run jump, climb, dig, throw and imagine in our outside area. I try to have an outside time each and every day. Each child is to bring a pair of rain boots, and a raincoat to leave at school for rainy days, and yes they get used a lot. We also explore gross motor activities through movement during music time, which is part of our circle time each day. The children reach, squat, jump, clap and hop to fun movement songs!