The preschool environment expands and extends the bases of development and growth expected for children in this stage of development who have gained a degree of functional independence, especially toileting, and who have basic language and communication skills regarding basic needs.Our program continues to utilize sensorial and manipulative materials and skill development in a wide range of areas, furthering the child’s increased capacities for this stage of development establishing a foundation for:
- Continued refinement of movements through purposeful activities.
- Expansion of communication skills and establishing the foundations for writing and reading and basic grammatical skills.
- Utilizing sensorial materials and activities to understand the qualities of objects and relate them to the exploration of the physical environment.
- Providing manipulative activities to understanding quantities and numerical symbols expanding to the full range basic numerical and mathematical concepts.
- Wide range of activities and materials in the areas of geography, science, art and music.
The preschool classroom includes, but is not limited to the following areas of work, materials and activities:
The area of practical life in the preschool offers the unique opportunity to continue to develop skills all humans need to sustain an environment and understand the use of objects, tools and activities for daily life. These activities are designed to integrate refinement of movement; follow complex sequences of organized steps to perform an activity; caring and maintaining internal and external environments extended to the care of natural environments. These practices of life skills establish the foundation of how we function and manage our spaces, establishing relationships with others and managing shared resources to actively collaborate and create a harmonious community. Examples of exercises of Practical Life include, but are not limited to:
- Care of self: hand washing, personal grooming, dressing, food preparation, sewing, etc.
- Care of the environment: table washing, dish washing, cloth washing, polishing, caring for plants and animals, etc.
- Relating with others (Grace and Courtesy) – waiting turns, greeting people, respecting other’s work, utilizing communication to resolve situations, caring for others, non-harming, etc.
The language area supplies a wide range of materials and activities related to the expansion of communication skills, expanding vocabulary and the ability to express in complete sentences and eventually paragraphs, and gain experiential understanding of grammar through sound and language games. There are a wide range of sensorial manipulative materials and activities to develop writing and reading skills. As an example:
- Sandpaper letters offers experience in using the visual, auditory and tactile manipulation of the alphabet as a foundation for developing writing skills.
- The movable alphabet allows the child to form words conceptually as a foundation for writing and reading even before being able to use the hand to shape letters.
- The metal inset work directly prepared the physical ability of the hand for writing by expanding the ability to hold the pencil appropriately and using lightness of touch and coloring within a space to later be able to shape letters.
- Reading and telling stories as an expansion of spoken language.
In general the sensorial area is composed of an expanded variety of manipulative materials and activities clarifying the qualities of objects such as size, length, width, color, texture, shape, temperature, etc. These activities are designed to isolate the acquisition of each skill individually through basic exploration, classification and acquisition of the exact language, as a means of cementing the understanding of the qualities of objects and have clarity and the correct vocabulary to experience and analyze the general environment. Encoding and decoding activities with these materials extend the understanding of the use of the sensorial apparatus for further exploration of the greater environment. Examples:
- Color tablets
- Length rods
- Width stair prism
- Tactile discrimination materials and exercises
- Sound discrimination
- Plane and solid geometry materials and exercises
- Constructive triangles materials and exercises
- Binomial and trinomial cubes
The mathematics area includes a systematic and organized progression of materials and activities to gain a sensorial understanding of numbers and basic mathematical operations utilizing first the sensorial exploration of quantities, the sensorial manipulation of the symbol for each quantity and exercises and materials for the integration of equal quantity and symbol. Examples of the sequence of mathematical materials includes, but is not limited to:
- Numbers to 10
- Numbers work: 11 to 19; 11 to 99; Linear counting chains from 1 to 1000
- Decimal system work – establishes the foundation for the understanding of the decimal system and the 4 basic mathematical operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- An expanded group of materials and activities is available upon request***
This area of the curriculum includes materials and manipulative activities in the following areas:
- Geography and social studies
- Science: Introduction to the natural “kingdoms” – animal, plant, minerals and fungi –; parts of the human body and 5 senses, animal nomenclature, botany, science experiments and other STEM projects and activities
- Art: including materials and activities with a variety of artistic mediums and art appreciation
- Music: Includes introduction to musical sounds and instruments, music appreciation, songs and rhythms.