The PreK four program is a comprehensive plan that prepares 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 Phonics program involves a three-step process of letter identification, letter sounds, and an active prompt associated with each sound. The phonics program is supplemented by teacher resources, learning centers, field trips, and the Lively Letters curriculum. This program emphasizes the ability to reproduce, decode sounds, and comprehend words and stories.
Other language arts skills include:
• Dictating stories to teachers
• Increasing basic vocabulary
• Practicing rhythm and rhymes as preparation for reading readiness
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 also introduced to prediction, estimation, time, and tally marks.
“Hands on” math - use of many manipulatives
• 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 (A for Apples)
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. Measuring and mixing ingredients to cook various recipes allow 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. 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. Louisiana is a favorite unit of study. Points of interest include music, culture, customs and cuisine.
Religion is integrated throughout our program. Sharing experiences is encouraged to enhance lessons. The children experience chapel in the rotunda of our own wing during the week. The Beginner’s Bible and read-aloud Bible stories, are used to teach religion. Children sing songs, act out stories, and join in prayer. Outreach opportunities are provided several times throughout the year.
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 Pre-K 4 students have specialists teaching them Physical Education, Music, Technology, 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. Each child has a binder that is created at school and reviewed at home to complement the over-all program. It can also be used as a home assessment tool.
Overall, our program focuses on a total child approach to development. Preschool teachers focus on and reinforce life skills of patience, self-control, honesty, and forgiveness. 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.