Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum

The primary focus of the PreK-K program is on developing confidence and competence in all areas of development--intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.  We believe that young children learn best by being actively engaged in their learning.  The children are exposed to a variety of hands-on activities that provide opportunities to practice and explore the concepts in this curriculum.  The traditional curriculum areas are described separately though many of the activities that promote them are integrated.  For instance a cooking project might incorporate some written language in the recipe, some math in the measuring of ingredients, some science as the chemistry happens, and social interaction as the children organize turns for stirring.

   The program places a major focus on developing social skills but encourages the development of critical thinking skills, and communications skills, as well as the gathering, observing, organizing, and recording of information.  Opportunities are provided for independent and co-operative learning, and for taking responsibility for the positive functioning of the class.

    An important goal of the PreK-K program is that children learn how to acquire knowledge and that they love to be engaged in this process.

 

Language Arts

   The language arts program is designed to foster a love of reading and writing, and to develop a foundation of basic language skills.  Many books are read to the children, as well as “shared readings” of Big Books, poems, songs, and chants.  A variety of structured activities, informal materials, and games are used for skill acquisition and reinforcement.  The writing and drawing process forms an important part of the language arts curriculum.  This process encourages children to illustrate and learn to write their own stories, using “invented spelling”, and then to read their stories to others.  Developing both receptive and expressive language we work on:

Receptive language -listening and reading

   Learning to be listeners

   Listening with understanding and following directions

   Sharing in circle time

   Being exposed to

            fiction

            nonfiction

            poetry

            word books and picture books

   Enjoying a variety of different authors and illustrators

   Developing emergent reading skills

   Reading early reader books

   Reading one’s own writing, peers writing, and print in the room

  

 Expressive language -writing, drawing, and speaking

   Sharing in circle time

   Speaking clearly and in complete sentences

   Describing personal experiences

   Expressing observations

   Verbalizing feelings

   Communicating with peers

   Developing vocabulary

   Making up stories

   Describing experiences through picture drawing and/or writing

   Recognizing letters

   Developing phonemic awareness

   Using inventive spelling

   Using print in the room

   Using sight word knowledge

   Using journals - scientific recordings or personal journals

   Creating plays and puppet shows

   Beginning letter writing

 

 

Math

   The math curriculum focuses on beginning exposure to concepts through everyday events and activities and through the use of manipulative materials.  The manipulative materials are used in free exploration and in guided and directed use.  Children learn to communicate orally about their work, by describing relationships, making predictions, and using mathematical language, such as, more than, less than, and equal to.  Children also record observations using concrete objects, pictures and numbers.   We include work with:

   Sorting and Classifying

   Comparing

   Recognizing and creating Patterns

   Counting

   Graphing

   Developing Number Sense

   Working with Measurement

   Working with Place Value

   Estimating

   Working with Geometric Shapes

   Developing Spatial Sense

   Problem solving

   Beginning number writing

   Beginning work with operations

 

 

Science

Science is integrated into many aspects of our program. It is closely connected to our work with math. Topics of study are often determined by student interest. Examples of  such topics might include: dinosaurs, insects, zoo animals, birds, lifecycles, worms, water, and  simple machines, to name a few.  The goal is to encourage children to develop an understanding of scientific thinking and to help them begin to make sense of their natural and physical environment.  This is done through actively exploring materials in open-ended investigation.  Field trips are often an integral part of science discovery.  We engage children in:

   Exploring

   Developing inquiry

   Experimenting

   Observing   

   Classifying

   Predicting

   Interpreting

   Recording data

   Problem solving

   Communicating as a scientist

   Caring for plants and animals in the classroom

   Cooking

  

 

Social Studies

   Social Studies is integrated into all aspects of the daily program.  The social network among the children is an important part of social studies.  Through our daily activities and interactions children develop an understanding of themselves within the group.  Developing an awareness of self and self in relationship to others as part of a larger community is an important goal.  This awareness is a beginning step to an understanding that leads to the ability to evaluate situations, explore options, make decisions, and effect change.  Our social studies includes:

   Looking at community within the classroom and school

   Taking responsibility for the well being of our community

   Looking at how we are alike and different from one another

   Recognizing and respecting differences

   Learning about people of different places and cultures

   Using outside community resources, field trips, speakers

   Developing study themes based on children’s interest

Study themes might include: community workers and community places, transportation, a specific country and culture.

 

 

Arts

   The arts are incorporated in the classroom in many different ways.  Children are encouraged to explore their ideas and creativity and begin to appreciate art as a means of expression. 

   Fine Arts

   We encourage children to work with creativity and design.  A variety of media is introduced and made available in the classroom for exploration and for use with various projects. These materials include:

            Tempera paint

            Watercolor

            Colored construction paper 

            Junk for sculptures

            Drawing markers

            Crayons

            Glue

            Scissors

            Clay

            Stencils

            Finger paint

            Printing

            Collage materials

            Bookmaking supplies

            Yarn and sewing/weaving materials

   Music

   The goal is to help children feel comfortable and enjoy singing or listening to music as part of their everyday life. Earlham music students often work with us, leading us in group singing accompanied by an instrument.  Activities include:

            singing in the classroom

            listening to tapes

            going to music concerts

            playing rhythm instruments

            combining movement and music

            recognizing and creating rhythms

   Performances

   Children performing through plays, puppet shows, musical performances, and exhibition of projects or individual work is encouraged as part of our curriculum.  We also attend performances by outside performers.

 

 

Japanese

   Earlham Japanese students come once a week to introduce us to Japanese.  Children are exposed to:

   Counting to 10

   Learning colors  

   Learning simple greetings

   Singing songs                     

   Playing Japanese games

   Doing origami

   Writing their name in Japanese

   Learning about the culture 

 

 

Social & Emotional Development

   The social emotional development of the child is a primary focus of the preK-K curriculum.  It is embedded in all that we do.  A major goal is to have children become confident and competent participants in the classroom and to be children who love to engage in learning.

We work with:

   Developing self confidence

   Developing self control

   Making good choices and following through

   Developing good work habits

   Cooperating with others

   Being a responsible part of a group

   Respecting others

   Respecting differences

   Working independently and in large or small groups

   Expressing needs, feelings, and emotions

   Working at resolving conflicts constructively

 

 

Physical Development

   Throughout the day the children are given many opportunities to practice developing small and large motor skills. Health and nutrition, along with physical exercise, is incorporated into our discussions and readings about taking care of our bodies.

  Guided instruction is scheduled several times a week for Physical Education and outside free play becomes an important part of the day for active exploration.  Sharing equipment and good sportsman ship are emphasized.  Activities include:

   Large Motor

            Running

            Jumping

            Climbing

            Throwing balls

            Catching balls

             Bouncing and dribbling balls

            Kicking balls

            Hopping

            Skipping

            Stretching exercises

            Traveling and moving in different pathways and with different speeds

            Balancing

   Small Motor

            Drawing

            Writing

            Painting

            Working with clay and play dough

            Cutting

            Gluing

            Sewing

            Building with manipulative toys

            Developing self-help skills, dressing oneself, buttoning, zipping etc.

 

 

Assessment

   Assessment is an important part of the learning process and is a constant part of our daily activity.

Children’s Self Assessment

   We encourage children to self assess as they explore and experiment.  The following are questions used to help children begin to think about their own work and play and interactions with others. What did I do? How did that work? How did I do?  What can I change? 

Children’s Work Folder

   The children collect their writing and drawing work in a folder and review it with the teacher’s help.  Children are encouraged to select pieces of work that will become part of a permanent portfolio that will be maintained from year to year as they go through school. This portfolio then becomes a representation of their growth and progress over time. 

Teacher’s Assessment of the Children

   The teacher’s assessment is ongoing.  This is accomplished primarily through observations of their work and play but also through conversations, interviews, conferencing, and checking written work.  This is recorded through anecdotal notes and check lists. Parent teacher conferences are conducted in mid fall and early spring and twice a year the teacher provides a written report to the parents assessing the child’s progress.

 

Copyright ©2004 Richmond Friends School
Last Revised February 2004