The PreK four program is a comprehensive plan that prepares the children for further educational development. Methods for achieving this objective include direct teaching using visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile modes. Social growth and academic achievements are emphasized.
The children participate in choral recitations, finger plays and singing. This enables them to learn a variety of language arts skills including:
- Using prepositions of location (over, under, around, and through)
- Using appropriate language for everyday situations while talking in complete sentences
- Identifying parts of the body
- Recognizing and naming capital and lower case letters and their sounds
- Blending letter sounds into words
- Learning about proper nouns
- Dictating stories to teachers
- Increasing basic vocabulary
- Practicing rhythm and rhymes as preparation for reading readiness
The phonics program is enhanced by using a three step process involving letter identification, letter sound and an active prompt associated with each sound. The phonics program is supplemented by teacher resources, learning centers and field trips and also by the Lively Letters curriculum. This program emphasizes the ability to reproduce, decode and comprehend sounds, words and stories.
Our Math program focuses upon the concept of number sense which is introduced through activities and illustrations with groups of objects. The written symbol of each numeral is introduced and practiced. The students count to 30 and beyond. They learn to classify objects by shape, size, color, length and weight. The children learn to problem solve by repeating patterns and creating new ones. The penny, nickel and dime are taught when money is studied. Graphing is introduced using common objects such as M & Ms, different colors of apples, candy hearts and other everyday objects. The children are introduced to prediction and estimation at this same time.
“Hands on” math - use of many manipulatives
- Introduce time and tally marks
- Work with more and less, smallest to largest, matching the correct number with a set of objects, equal amounts, ordinal numbers, counting back from 10, simple addition and subtraction with objects
- Measure the children with everyday objects that correlate with the letter of the week (c-crayons)
Four year olds study the wetlands as their biome in Science. They learn about Louisiana’s vanishing barrier islands, and many of the indigenous animals in this habitat. They do experiments to show the states of matter. Measuring and mixing ingredients to cook various recipes allows them to observe the changes that occur in the physical states of matter. The seasons and corresponding changes in animals, trees and plants are studied. Plants, insects and ladybugs are favorite topics. The five senses are also covered. Each child has an opportunity to be the scientist of the week. They bring experiments to demonstrate to the class.
In the Social Studies program, the children learn about our school environment and how a community works together. Holidays and customs are studied. The roles of the various family members are discussed. Louisiana is a favorite unit of study. Points of interest include culture, customs and cuisine.
Religion is integrated throughout our program. In addition to hearing stories, the children play games and sing songs, act out stories and express their creativity in a variety of art projects. Sharing experiences is encouraged to enhance lessons. The children experience Pre-K chapel in the rotunda of our own wing during the week. The Beginner’s Bible is used to share Bible stories. Helping our neighbors takes many forms of outreach, even at this age. Operation Christmas Child is a project which involves the students filling shoe boxes with gifts and supplies. They are collected locally and then sent to children in third world countries. Children are taught the seven habits of highly effective people through The Leader in Me. They learn that each person is a leader at something and is responsible for their own behavior and choices. Each habit has a gesture to help them remember what the habits are. They also learn to use the habits in everyday situations.
Fine motor skills are emphasized in both our phonics and math programs. In addition to these structured programs, centers are utilized throughout our year. The skills of drawing, cutting, gluing, threading and coloring are used in making projects. These centers are related to seasons, holidays, and current math and/or phonic objectives. They are completed using a variety of different media.
In addition to the homeroom teacher, the PreK 4 students have specialists teaching them Physical Education, Music, Computer, Library and Art. It is amazing to see four year olds using the computer to draw shapes they have studied or decorating a tree with various colors of leaves using the stamping technique from Kid Pix.
There is a strong school - home connection. The children make many class books that are sent home on a rotating basis. Subject matter includes easy readers, predictable readers, seasonal, holiday and other books that the children create in correlation with units of study. In addition, each child has a binder that is created at school and used at home to complement the over-all program. It can also be used as an immediate assessment tool.
Overall, our program focuses on a total child approach to development. Because the total enrollment in each class is limited to fifteen students, a platform has been established for creating the type of learning communities needed for high levels of achievement by all students. We, as teachers, dedicate ourselves to promoting a happy environment that is conducive to learning.