Our program uses a combination of several curriculums and philosophies to ensure that all students are offered a well rounded, WHOLE CHILD learning experience. We focus on exploration and discovery as a way of learning, enabling children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical-thinking skills. We’ve chosen this multi-curriculum model because it focuses on the skills and knowledge that are most important for helping your child to be successful in school. Throughout the year, we will plan learning experiences that are just right for your child, so that he or she can make progress at his or her own pace.
We plan our lessons using 38 objectives for development and learning as our guide. These objectives focus on all the areas that are most important for school success: social–emotional, cognitive, math, literacy, physical, language, social studies, science and technology, and the arts. These objectives are built into every activity that happens in the classroom, which means that all day long, the teacher is helping your child build skills and knowledge in these important areas.
In their daily learning, children raise questions about the topics and find answers by exploring, experimenting, and investigating in a hands-on way—through activities that take place in the classroom and outdoors. With each activity planned, your child will learn important math, literacy, science, and other skills.
We also offer support, built into every experience, for children who are English-language learners and children who have special needs. This helps to ensure that every child can participate in classroom activities and can be successful.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL SKILLS
We have always had a very strong focus on social emotional skills. This continues and even becomes more important as children transition from a more isolated environment to a very social school setting. The most important part of being ready for kindergarten is working with peers, controlling impulses, being able to express feelings, being able to attend, etc. These are skills that are best learned with their peers and with the support of knowledgeable teachers. We have high standards for our students and offer them everything they need to be able to transition to kindergarten with confidence.
READING TOO SOON
There is a widely held belief in this country (and many others) that if we start teaching children to read, write, and spell in preschool and kindergarten that they will be ahead of the game (and their peers) by first grade. We think that pushing our kids to start early will make them better and give them the edge.
But it doesn’t work that way, in fact it can be detrimental. Here’s why…
Children’s neurological pathways for reading, writing, and spelling are not formed yet at these young ages, therefore they are not equipped. In child development you can not miss, shortcut, or rush steps, it just doesn’t work.
Between 3 and 7 years old, predominantly the right side of the brain is developing. The right side of the brain is not where word reading takes place. The right side sees pictures and shapes and uses mental imagery to create the movie in their mind to understand the story. The left side of the brain is where we read words, it is responsible for decoding words into letters and phonetically sounding them out. This is true word reading. It is not until about age 7 that the corpus callosum fully connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain to make reading complete for kids.
By making children read when they really only have access to the right side of their brain, they are forced to memorize what words look like by shape and guess, opposed to being able to sound them out. Not true reading. Also, when kids are focused on memorizing what the words look like by shape, they are not using their right brain to create the movie in their mind, leading to low comprehension.
What you might not know is that developing a strong sense of balance and proprioception (knowing where your body is), is a mandatory precursors to being a strong learner and student. Balance and proprioception are achieved through play, movement, and experiencing your surroundings, not through sitting still reading.
Don’t get me wrong, I think being a good reader and spending lots of time reading is very important. Reading ability is probably the most important learned skill in our society. But the path to learning to read is counter-intuitive, the earlier we start them the harder it may be for them to achieve the skill of effortless reading needed to excel in school.
So how do we fix it?
Slow down. Let them use their body, play lots of games that require balance, help your child develop their balance and a sense of where their body starts and stops. Also, spend lots of time reading to them. Read to them so they can practice mental imagery in a relaxed environment. By reading to them, especially nursery rhymes, they train their ears to hear the slight differences in words, which is very important later when they are phonetically learning letters, sounding out words, and decoding words for spelling. (TV and videos can’t give this to them.)
Until you have worked on this, your efforts for mastery in reading, writing, and spelling will be in frustration.