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.
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
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
Communicating with peers
Making up stories
Describing experiences through picture drawing and/or writing
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
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
Recognizing and creating Patterns
Developing Number Sense
Working with Measurement
Working with Place Value
Working with Geometric Shapes
Developing Spatial Sense
Beginning number writing
Beginning work with operations
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:
Communicating as a scientist
Caring for plants and animals in the classroom
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.
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.
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:
Colored construction paper
Junk for sculptures
Yarn and sewing/weaving materials
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
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.
Earlham Japanese students come once a week to introduce us to Japanese. Children are exposed to:
Counting to 10
Learning simple greetings
Playing Japanese games
Writing their name in Japanese
Learning about the culture
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
Working independently and in large or small groups
Expressing needs, feelings, and emotions
Working at resolving conflicts constructively
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:
Bouncing and dribbling balls
Traveling and moving in different pathways and with different speeds
Working with clay and play dough
Building with manipulative toys
Developing self-help skills, dressing oneself, buttoning, zipping etc.
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