4 Year Olds
What can our pre-kindergarten program offer your 4 year old?
For some parents, it is difficult to understand how play can be the work of children, but following recent research*, we have developed a program that encourages your child to become a confident and independent student who is socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten. Through diverse play experiences, your child will be a part of a happy, friendly, safe atmosphere where learning is fun and success is constant.
The children have a lot of choices. The learning stations around the classroom (changed on a regular basis) invite your child to imaginatively interact with their play and with their playmates. During Transportation Week, children can sell tickets at the train station, or ride in the train, or be the engineer. We provide the materials and the children do the learning and thinking. Here, a child does some investigative work during Dinosaur Week, March, 2010.
Building blocks are always available to test out new building plans while learning verbal and math skills, sharing, and even a bit of patience. Art is experimenting with paper, scissors, glue, pencils, markers and an assortment of materials. There is a great supply of dress up articles, including several capes…who don’t need to be a super hero now and then? Role playing is an important part of your child’s development, and what fun!
Of course, literacy is critical for your child’s learning success. Ours is a ‘print rich’ environment where children interact with names, labels, and books, books and more books! Every day there is a story, sometimes more than one. Lists are made, charts are filled, and your child can dictate a story to the teacher who helps to write it down. We practice writing and recognizing names.
We offer alphabet work in the context of what the children already know, in the midst of our other activities. Take “zap”. First we learn what fun it is to say “zap” and make up a story where we can use the word “zap”; we’ll talk about how the letters make sounds and have names. Then they are ready to write these words themselves!
Along with keeping these young minds working, we keep these bodies working as well. Recent research confirms that the more physically active and developed the child, the easier it is for them to learn. Running around, jumping and climbing help build better readers and mathematicians and scientists! Both indoors and outdoors, we keep them moving.
Local people in the community come and share information with the children: firefighters; a veterinarian; musicians; a police officer. This helps our pre-k children know there is a bigger world out there and to help them enter it with greater confidence. In May, the school bus comes to take the children for a short ride and to show them a bus drill. All this is to prepare them for their next big step: Kindergarten.
* National Education for the Education of Young Children; Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Curriculum by Carol Gestwick.