A central focus of our PreK math curriculum is developing each child’s beginning number sense (good intuition about numbers and their relationships) through daily practice. Numbers and math concepts are woven throughout our daily routines and lessons; for example, during morning meeting, children use schedule cards to learn about number groups, counting and patterns. Students are exposed to number and operation, geometry and spatial concepts, measurement, and patterns/algebra. They also analyze data and build math strategies by talking about how they came up with their answer (i.e. “There are 12 cards. I know because I counted them.” or “There are 12 cards. There are five on the top and five on the bottom and two more.”)
PreK students are immersed in print and language during the course of their day. From environmental print to sitting in our classroom library with headsets that play a read along book, they are seeing and hearing words. Our literacy curriculum is filled with games, big books and integrated phonemic awareness activities that support all children in their emergent reading and writing skills. We believe that a strong foundation of writing begins with oral narratives. Our goal is for students to build effective communication skills, and with four and five year olds, this begins with oral language and is then supported with illustrations. Children begin to build foundational literacy skills, and most importantly, see themselves as readers and writers.
PreK students engage in the type of study that both promotes scientific understanding and also develops the scientific habits of mind that can help them make sense of the natural and designed worlds. Through hands-on and collaborative projects within the classroom, around our 30-acre campus and beyond, students explore concepts and content that build skills such as observation and problem solving. Our goal is to demonstrate curiosity and a passion for exploration, enabling PreK students to see scientific inquiry as a dynamic, enjoyable and exciting endeavor.
Our social studies curriculum is based upon the themes of community and responsibility. Students begin to see themselves as members of a community outside of their families, and build awareness about how their actions and contributions affect their peers. Common aspects of cultures are explored, including religion, language, music, education and celebrations. We integrate an anti-bias curriculum in our social studies units in order to share a different perspective with the children. What makes us similar? What makes us unique? We also look at each child’s favorite food. Where does it grow? How does it get here? Does everyone in the world have access to it? Through food, students explore geography, civics, economics and history.
PreK students visit the library at least once a week for a dedicated library class where they are exposed to a variety of story types and lengths, especially through children’s literature, that enhance the classroom curriculum. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency and PreK students begin by “reading” images to discern meaning. In addition to learning how to locate the early reading section of the library and find specific books with assistance, students begin to understand the responsibility of book care by borrowing and returning books and materials. Led by our librarian, students acquire information through observation and listening and strengthen their literacy skills. Our extensive 18,000+ volume collection serves as a valuable resource for students and faculty throughout the school year as part of our integrated curriculum model, and it also provides families with a variety of child and adolescent development resources.
Jump, laugh and sing! PreK students are provided with many opportunities to express themselves musically, both within their classroom as well as in designated music classes. Students learn to understand pitch, tap steady beats with rhythm sticks and Orff instruments (xylophones and rhythmic instruments), play in an ensemble, and mimic simple dynamics such as “loud” and “soft” music through song and body movement. This also benefits fine and gross motor development for our youngest students. Throughout the year, Pre-Kindergartners have various opportunities to perform songs and choreography. A culminating production takes place each spring with students singing, dancing and acting in the annual PreK Play.
Our primary goal is to create an atmosphere in which each PreK student feels encouraged and supported in their creative endeavors. We truly believe that each child is an artist. PreK students visit our dedicated art classrooms and learn to follow simple instructions while gaining exposure to a broad range of materials. Basic art concepts and skills are introduced, practiced and reinforced with the intention of building greater confidence and self-assurance as young makers. By developing an awareness of themselves and their classmates as artists, they are able to work collaboratively and cooperatively on a variety of art projects throughout the school year.
Beginning with our youngest PreK students, we provide a comprehensive physical education program that is designed to help each child develop an appreciation of the benefits of being physically active. Movements such as kicking, throwing and rolling promote gross motor skills and are used as foundations for various game play activities.
Throughout the year, students use technology-driven concepts and hands-on projects, such as making stop motion videos of cardboard owls or creating digital books, to supplement and reinforce classroom curriculum. Using simple circuits, students learn how to create conductive play dough or make bristlebots with toothbrush heads and vibration motors. They “visit” locations related to other classroom projects using virtual reality (VR) goggles; for example, they may “travel” to a cacao farm and a chocolate factory as an extension of their study of food sources. Students also build and program KIBO robots that teach them basic coding concepts such as loops and conditionals.
A dedicated outdoor space located just steps from our PreK classroom is used to support and broaden concepts and observations from a variety of projects and curriculum. From creating artistic sculpture gardens using recycled materials to conducting scientific-driven field work on nature walks, PreK students utilize the natural elements of our campus throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons. Hands-on learning experiences, both in the classroom and outdoors, inspire students to foster lifelong habits of inquiry, critical thinking and creativity.