Curriculum

Our curriculum has been carefully and thoughtfully researched and put together to maximize your child’s learning experience.

Playtime

We recognize the importance and value of free time and creative play for children. Pretend play teaches preschoolers so much about life and emotions. They mimic the things that they see adults do and practice the skills that they will need later in life. Preschoolers need the freedom to create their own world through imaginative play and make sense of their world by acting out what they see.

Playtime at Little Readers is carefully supervised by our staff and is generally limited to 20 minutes or less.  At the beginning of the year, when the children are still becoming accustomed to us and their new surroundings, playtime may go for an unspecified amount of time (determined by each individual teacher).  This allows us as teachers to spend one on one time with each of the children as we join in with, and introduce our toys, games, and the rules that go along with them.

Music

We incorporate music into many aspects of our teaching. In our school, music is used as a tool to teach the children, such as when we sing songs about the days of the week and the months of the year. Music is also a big part of our reading program, Phonics by Spelling. We like to introduce the children to rhythm by making our own instruments using rice, beans, plastic containers, etc… and using the finished product to keep a steady beat as we sing a song or dance around the room.

We have a tone bells, a keyboard, and other musical instruments available to us and frequently use them in our lessons and play. We feel that music is not only fun, but essential to a child’s development and growth. For more detailed information please see this fabulous article explaining the benefits of music for preschoolers!

Arts and Crafts

Creating art projects and crafts is a big part of what makes preschool so magical! The results of Arts & Crafts time at school are often seen on display for all to see and appreciate at the home of the child, as well as in our school. Art is a fantastic and fun way to teach children about colors, shapes, patterns, and so on… the possibilities are endless.

We believe that children are naturally creative and need only the right tools and a tiny bit of direction to get them started. At Arts & Crafts time, we follow a few basic rules then sit back and watch the children do what they do best – CREATE!

Rules:

1. All art supplies are non-toxic and safe for children to use.

2. Have a good supply of tools ready. For example, each child should have access to a pair of scissors if those are being used in the project. Patience is not a skill that most preschoolers have acquired, it’s best to be prepared with enough tools to go around so there is no waiting involved.

3. Messes are welcome and expected. Washable aprons will be available for each child to use.

4. No one is wrong. This just means that if a child paints a tree “purple”, that is o.k. Trees do not have to be green and we don’t plan on pointing it out to them. Creativity is fostered best with positive affirmations. For example “What a beautiful purple tree, you are so smart to have come up with that on your own”!

5. Clean up time is for everyone! A regular clean up routine will be set that the children will find easy to master and repeat after each Arts & Crafts session.

Science

Science activities help preschoolers to look at the world around them in a different way. The possibilities are endless with preschoolers and exploration! It can be as simple as blowing bubbles and discussing the colors you see reflected in them. Or as magical as watching and caring for a live caterpillar as it morphs into a butterfly! We like to take walks around the yard with the children and always take along magnifying glasses to aid in our search. This opens up a multitude of discussions, everything from plants, to insects, to elements of the earth. We encourage our students to be “little scientists” while at school and all questions are welcome. We often find that we all learn something as we search for the answers together.

Mathematics

In order to prepare for the math skills they’ll be expected to grasp later, children need early exposure to mathematical concepts.  By building a solid understanding at the preschool age, we pave the way for more advanced learning later. Preschool-age children are ready to explore more than one might think!  Parents often focus on counting from one to ten, but there are many other skills that children are ready and able to investigate. We like to incorporate the following into our daily lesson plans and playtime…

  • Familiarity with numbers: Here we have basic counting, visual recognition of numbers, etc… Something we like to do is to count our snacks during snack time. How many crackers do you have? How many fruit snacks, and so on.
  • Number operations: This can be as simple as counting out a pile of red blocks, then a pile of blue blocks, then counting them all together. Or counting out six apple slices during snack time and dividing them among three students.
  • Measurement: We find that our daily “Welcome” routine, in which we use the calendar and the clock is a good time to introduce this concept. Children learn to measure time in hour increments, as well as learning about the days of the week and months of the year. We talk about “today”, “tomorrow”, and yesterday” and the children become familiar with measuring days and months.
  • Shapes: This is an easy one because shapes are everywhere! We make a game of pointing out everyday objects and identifying their shapes (and color). Repetition is the key to teaching this simple concept.
  • Patterns and Sorting: Also a part of our “Welcome” routine. We show patterns on our calendar as well as various other places on our board to teach the children about patterns. Play time is also a good time to point out patterns and use sorting. For example, we might help the children sort out the green cars and then the yellow. Then we could help them to make a pattern using the different colors.

Literature

A love of reading will take a child further towards success in school than anything else. We feel it is our job to take advantage of their early years to help them develop a strong foundation for success in reading. Daily participation in story telling and literature based activities will develop essential pre-reading skills and set a preschooler on the path to literacy. In addition to this, research shows that early reading is a key predictor of academic success.

Our goal is to help each child gain a love for reading and to build a foundation for each of them to use as they enter the world of an emerging reader. Literature and phonics are utilized throughout our teaching, enmeshed in our study of other subjects and in our playtime activities.  We feel that all other areas of education will be benefited by the child having good reading skills. It is always exciting to be a part of child’s first experiences with words. To help our students build a strong phonetic foundation, we use the Phonics By Spelling program developed by Nada Wilkins.