Our teachers base their lesson plans on weekly themes, but our teachers are also trained to recognize and opportunity to teach when he or she realizes that children have made a discovery or experienced an “ah-ha” moment. This may mean that a child has finally mastered how to zip a jacket or stack multiple blocks. Recently, our two-year-olds were outside on the playground. The teacher observed a group of children intently staring at the ground. She approached them and asked what they saw. They looked at her and exclaimed, “We are finding bugs!” A teachable moment!! Where do bugs live? What kinds of bugs can we find? Do the bugs like flowers? Before long the teacher had a parade of two-year-olds on a “bug hunt”. Our teacher captured the moment and used it to expand their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Active learning is encouraged in all our classrooms. Our program philosophy is based on the premise that children construct knowledge by exploring the world around them though play and direct experiences. Learning becomes an interactive process as children touch, manipulate and experiment with different materials. Our program focuses on the process of learning, rather than the product. The teachers initiate an idea, and allow the children to create their own learning experience based on what they already know and why they want to learn. We desire to provide children with the best and most enjoyable educational experience. We accomplish this through the following:
• Introduction to a Color, theme, concept and skill each week, which is introduced at circle time in our Toddler, Preschool and Pre-K classrooms.
• Beginning Reading Skills: The children are immersed in language through books, storyboards and conversations throughout the day.
• Emergent Writing Skills: Scribbling and drawing in both the toddler and preschool classrooms. In the Pre-K classrooms children learn to write their own names, as well as recognize their friends’ names. They practice the proper way to hold a pencil and practice left to right tracing. The children have the opportunities to play letter matching games, writing in different mediums such as sand, paint, shaving cream and manipulating movable letters.
• Fine Muscle Skills: Use of child-safe scissors, paper tearing, bristle blocks, legos, and pegboards, to name just a few.
• Concept of Print Introduction: How to care for our books, opening a book, where to start reading, left to right progression and letters in words. In Preschool and Pre-K this concept is expanded to include sentence structure and author/illustrator.
• Books: In all classrooms children will be read to frequently throughout each day in order to expand their knowledge of our themes. A variety of reading materials will be used (fantasy, factual, multicultural, diverse ability and poetry). Additionally, books will be accessible at all times for children to read at their leisure.
• Science: Natural items, magnifying glasses, scales are used in all classrooms.
• Math: Munipulatives are available to foster discovery of size, shape and color. These math activities begin in the toddler classrooms with specially designed maniupultives developing such concepts as rote counting, one to one correspondence, comparison of amounts and sizes, classification, sorting, and grouping. In the Preschool and Pre-K classrooms, the munipulatives are smaller and the concepts are expanded to include matching, sequencing, ordering, volume, dimensions and time.
• Creative Expression: Dramatic play center, art and block centers, music and movement, puppets, flannel board stories and “computers” are in our Preschool and Pre-K classrooms.
• Development of Large Muscles: Climbing, hopping, skipping, galloping, marching, riding toys with and without pedals, push/pull toys, sliding, manipulating balls and swinging.
• Social and Personal Skills: Playing cooperatively with others, turn taking, listening and expressing ideas, stating their name, age and address, demonstrating self help skills, showing confidence, controlling behavior and demonstrating pride in own work.
• Foreign Language: Your child will be exposed to Spanish through music and movement and literature as part of our multicultural curriculum.
How we use ‘STEM’ in our approach to Learning at Everything Grows
( STEM = Science…Technology…Engineering…Math )
Children need to be presented opportunities to learn the same material in different settings and through lenses of life. Successful learning requires the student to be at the center of the experience, making connections across disciplines. STEM is helping children to explore, observe, ask questions, predict and integrate their learning. STEM gives children the chance to investigate an idea in a variety of settings for cross contextual learning. For example: counting worksheets, outside counting rocks (real objects). We tap into children’s natural curiosity and give them ample opportunities to be active participants in their own learning. We allow for more play and investigation, children to be active, engage and take initiative in their own learning.
Practice reading, writing and comprehension skills will help your child express ideas, explore their interests and even learn about the world around them! This center will help foster skills that will influence their overall success in school and life. They will be focusing on basic sentences, sight words, sentence structure, first and last name writing, and even writing in their journals each week so you can see their progression.
Math and Manipulative’s
Math and small toys can allow to help further develop their fine motor skills and give them a better understanding for beginning math concepts. This center gives children the opportunity to practice their problem-solving skills and improve their hand-eye coordination by sorting counters and participating in other similar activities. This center also allows children to have a more positive relationship with math which will influence their education and career choices later in life.
Discovery allows us to bring the outdoors inside the classroom! It gives children opportunities to explore nature hands on and introduces basic science concepts. Our discovery center fosters a strong connection with an understanding of the environment.
Our sensory table encourages children to explore different sensory experiences. It broadens children’s play and also encourages creativity as they use sand and water to explore their 5 senses. It allows for a smaller group to learn hands on! Sensory play also has a calming effect when classroom energies are running on “high”!
Art helps children express their emotions and ideas. They get to experience different textures. Art also helps development of fine motor skills and improve eye-hand coordination. The importance in the use of scissors, markers, pencils, crayons, glue and paint, etc., allows the child to create their version of a particular project. In art, it’s the journey, not the accuracy of the finished project.
Helps improve motor skills, practice problem solving and learn to work with classmates. Block play also enables children to explore their creative side by building unique structures and communities, block people and even block animals. This center also allows children to learn about basic engineering and architectural concepts!
Gives children opportunities to role play as adults in everyday situations and a variety of career choices! Hairdresser seems to be the children’s favorite in Pre-K, as well as running a restaurant! This center helps encourage creativity, self-expression and knowledge of their community!
You see, what looks like play is really a whole lot of learning going on!