Pre-kindergarten at Spring Knolls is a time for children to become more independent, take risks and learn the “routines” of a school day. Through the use of play, the teacher promotes cooperative and collaborative problem solving, while promoting literacy through the use of engaging themes and developmentally appropriate materials and activities. We strive to cultivate their strengths and individuality while preparing them for the transition to kindergarten.
Now at ages 4-5, our children are ready to take the next big step in their journey as life-long enthusiastic learners. Their social, emotional and intellectual growth allows them to engage in more complex cooperative play with their peers, to focus their attention more intently, and to follow their curiosity more deeply into the subject at hand.
The Pre-K classroom is organized into activity stations, providing the children with a wide variety of free play choices (art, dramatic play, construction, games). As the children’s fine motor skills have advanced, once again, the toys and materials become increasingly complex, smaller, and more diverse. During their Pre-K year, the children start to become ready for more structured group play, so board games and other structured multi-player toys are added to the mix.
A Day in the Life
Each morning the teacher and the Student of the Day greet the children at the door. The students answer the Question of the Day, (for example, “Choose ocean, pool or both.”) They then work on a quiet activity before Morning Meeting.
During Morning Meeting, the children sing familiar songs, greet friends with the handshake song, work on the calendar and learn about the schedule for the day. Morning meeting time helps children understand that they are part of a group where they must listen to their teacher and each other, and wait their turn. It gives the children time to settle into their day and feel secure about being away from their parents.
Next is Choice Time, when the children choose an activity or project and are given time to fully explore. The projects may be a science experiment, art project, music, using a new manipulative, or learning a new game or skill. Some days, the children will work with the teacher on a special project, like spelling their name.
Once Choice Time is over, the children clean up while listening to fun music, and then meet for Circle Time. At this time, the day’s “snack helpers” set the tables for snack. These jobs are significant to the children in that they provide a sense of empowerment and reaffirm their place and importance in the group. Circle Time is a time for the class to meet to learn and discuss a unit of study, for instance, the ocean, planets, seasons, the human body. They learn about the theme through stories, observation of materials, movement and music activities.
The Pre-K class ends its day outdoors (or in the gym), allowing the children to expend their pent-up energy through physical play.