Children's learning involves many factors. We feel that the following are effective components to teaching preschool children:
Staff whose first priority is each child's best interest and well-being
Qualified teachers who have built trust with students and families
A classroom where all students feel valued and respect one another, teachers, and staff.
Child-focused teaching through play experiences
A safe, stimulating environment that periodically changes to spark interest and reinforce learning themes
A planned set of activities
A comprehensive curriculum that features age appropriate learning experiences to provide children with order and security, and assure that the child's developmental needs are being met.
A daily schedule that includes a balance of teacher-directed and child-chosen activities. This allows for the child to have the freedom to be an individual, but also to learn how to work in a group situation.
A daily schedule that includes a balance of quiet and active experiences to prevent over-stimulation or boredom
The children, program, and staff continually assessed to ensure a quality program that is meeting all of the children's needs
A program that addresses all domains of a child's development (cognitive, social, motor, creative, language, and approaches to learning)
ages 18 mo-30 mo
Tues and Thurs.
Cancelled until further notice
4-5 Years Old
Speech and language instruction are essential in preschool. Preschoolers are learning how to communicate verbally and non-verbally. Expanding vocabulary and broadening the child’s knowledge files is a large part of a preschooler’s education. Opportunities to practice speaking to peers and in a classroom setting is essential in their language development. Listening to books and being exposed to new concepts and ideas are all part of the child’s school day. Literacy involves language, print knowledge, writing, phonological awareness, and alphabet code. All of these skills are essential as a child grows and interacts more with those around him and the outside world. The first few years of elementary school, he is learning to read. From around third grade on he is reading to learn. Every young child should have a strong literacy foundation by having a book rich environment. Quality age-appropriate books should be read to children from birth. This teaches children how to handle a book and that printed words represent words spoken. Books offer vocabulary building and opportunities to take children to places and see things that would not be accessible to them otherwise. In preschool, it is very important that children are purposefully taught phonological awareness (first and last sounds of a word and rhyming words) and the alphabet code (letters and their corresponding sound) in age appropriate ways. Sonshine's literacy curriculum introduces the students to engaging characters, stories and songs which allows them to learn these concepts more efficiently.
Math and number concepts appear in everyday life experiences like shopping, cooking, tax preparations, employment, and enjoying many hobbies. Children need early math education to lay a foundation for later more difficult operations that will be introduced to them in elementary school. Early math and science concepts include counting, recognizing numbers and their values, patterns, classification, measurements, and shapes. Science concepts include learning about animals, plants and the human body through exposure, books, and observation activities. Foundational physics such as cause and effect, motion, and mechanics are taught with blocks, cars with tracks, and simple experiments. Weather and seasons are introduced daily with calendar activities, books, and outdoor activities that reinforce the concepts.
Learning to sort by color is one of the first and most basic classifying activities your child will engage in. It is the foundation to later science, math, language and reading. Learning the differences in objects is essential in distinguishing how letters, numbers and animals are different. Colors are everywhere in our world. All people use color to describe objects. Color is essential in the arts. Once the child has learned his basic colors, he then can learn that there are different shades of each color. Other scientific ideas are reinforced by mixing colors. They learn cause and effect, experimentation and theorizing when they guess what will happen and see the end result.
Just as color concepts is one of the first basic classifying skills, spatial language, and geometry are also foundational for later science, math, language and reading. Shapes are all around us, in buildings, food, and toys. The children learn how shapes come together to make something else. Playing with blocks, tangrams, and puzzles are very early engineering skills such as cause and effect. Shapes are symbols, and being able to recognize the difference in shapes helps to later see the difference in letters and numbers. We also expand children’s knowledge and ability to follow direction by teaching them spatial representation. Spatial concepts come into play while engaging in normal everyday activities such as driving, decorating, organizing homes or playing sports. Words such as on top, below, behind, and beside are all ways we give direction or explain where something is. This is very important for a child to know going into kindergarten.
Social-emotional development includes management of emotions and the ability to experience healthy relationships with others. Children are beginning to develop these skills as preschoolers. The preschool classroom is a great place to practice these skills. At home, there are usually only one or two other children, usually siblings, but in a classroom, there could several more. Throughout daily activities, children have the opportunity to wait for a turn, share toys, compromise, and problem solve during play. They also learn how to follow rules, show empathy to peers, lose gracefully, win graciously, learn self-help skills, be a part of a democratic class, respect authority and property, stand up for themselves, build trusting relationships with peers and adults, gain a sense of belonging, cooperate, and separate from parent. A classroom which every child is valued and has a voice allows the children to feel secure and important. That, in combination with fun, age-appropriate learning activities fosters a child’s enjoyment of school, which leads to an excitement for learning.
Gross/Fine Motor Domain
Gross motor development is coordination and balance that involves large muscles. Fine motor development refers to small muscles and eye-hand coordination activities. Both are very important to the healthy growth and development of preschoolers. Many children who feel uncoordinated and awkward while engaging in large muscle activities naturally avoid them. This perpetuates a habit of avoiding regular exercise and could lead to future health issues. Many of these children, with support at an early age, could have their balance and coordination issues addressed and can enjoy improved performance in these skills. This instills confidence in the children and they would be less likely to avoid motor activities and have a healthier lifestyle as they grow. Preschoolers also need to engage in regular planned activities that develop fine motor skills. Preschool aged children must participate in hand and finger strengthening activities such as working with play dough, clothespin games and stringing beads. Before a child can write, cut with scissors, button, zip, snap, use eating utensils, brush teeth effectively or tie; he must have hand strength and eye-hand coordination.
Aproaches to Learning
Approaches to learning involves children's attitudes toward gaining new information and their ability to self-regulate. These skills are essential in school readiness. Self-regulation skills allow students to fully engage in learning activities and have persistence through challenging tasks. They also are able to regulate frustration with the task and during conflicts with peers.
Creativity can be expressed through art, dance, music, and story telling. Creative expression is essential in educating children, building self-esteem and highlighting individual talents and abilities. It is what makes each of us unique and special. Art adds to the quality of life and makes learning enjoyable. Creativity overlaps in several developmental domains. For example, crafting and dance are also motor activities and story telling and sculpting are require cognition. Using imagination should be a part of every young child's day, so we purposely include it in our daily learning plans.
Circle time: This is a group, teacher-directed activity working on language, cognition, and socialization. Activities include experiments, discussions, calendar, weather, songs, stories and learning games that practice concepts such as ABC’s, counting, shapes and colors.
Center time: Individual free choice activity at the learning centers for development in cognition, motor and creativity
Outside: Children engage in large motor play and socialization outside with balls, riding toys, jungle gym and sand.
Table time: Children are split up in developmental levels. Children work on pre-reading skills, math skills, matching skills, sequencing, hand writing, colors, letters, shapes, recognizing name, tying shoes. Children’s needs dictate these activities. Each child will have an Individualized Education Plan.
Art: Child expresses individuality and creativity with various and ever changing materials. They are free to make their craft their way. We do not stress that they all make it the way we prescribed way. We believe in letting the child use his imagination. These activities enhance creativity and fine motor skills.
Music: Children learn songs, listen to CD’s, play instruments, dance and do exercises. This fosters development in large motor skills and creativity.
Story time: Stories, tapes, puppets, and flannel board stories, plays and poems are presented and created during this time which fosters language, cognition and socialization.
Special guests are scheduled at times to enhance learning.
Free play: Time for children to choose his own activity and move throughout the room freely, socialize and play.This develops language, cognition and socialization skills.
Lunch time: A nutritious meal is served each school day that includes protein, milk, vegetable, fruit, and grain.