Pre-Kindergarten: An Early Start

The purpose of our Pre-Kindergarten program is to provide the necessary foundation for which young children may develop an early love of learning. Our program provides a safe, happy, and stimulating environment where children are offered a full range of experiences and encouraged to explore a variety of activities, which are planned to promote learning with a tradition of excellence. Our program is also designed to give children an opportunity to develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually, while at the same time, allowing each individual to develop at their own speed and in their own way. The Pre-K curriculum includes language development, early literacy instruction, math, science, art, Spanish, music and movement, physical education, health, library, technology, age-appropriate manners, and social skill development, all of which aid in the development of cognitive, motor, and social skills.

The overall goal for curriculum and instruction at the Pre-Kindergarten level is to build a foundation for lifelong learning and achievement of the New York State Learning Standards. Our program encompasses various strategies, based on our knowledge of how children develop and learn. We believe that learning should be interactive, interdisciplinary, and connected. In doing so, we provide for a balance between individual and group needs, active and reflective times, and teacher-directed and child-selected activities. Our learning environment provides an array of materials, which students use to explore and find answers to their questions ensuring that children will enter Kindergarten prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Learning experiences at the Pre-Kindergarten level also provide opportunities for children to develop oral language, math awareness, social competencies, and science concepts that are the foundation for growth and learning at the emergent level. Teachers develop these experiences around a specific topic, theme, or question. No matter what sparks the idea for a learning experience, concepts thematically related to that experience are integrated across content areas. Just as learning experiences are integral to the Pre-K experience, so are routines and transitions. Routines are purposeful procedures that ensure a predictable order to the day, as well as the effective use of time, space, and materials. Routines are an important part of a child's day. Having a routine gives children a sense of independence and control. It adds to their sense of belonging and helps them to feel more comfortable within the classroom. The child's need for activity and motion is balanced with times for quiet and reflective activities, such as listening to a story read aloud. Large blocks of time needed for practicing and consolidating skills in various learning centers are complemented by introduction of new materials and vocabulary. Times for outdoor activities are scheduled to support the need for more active, physical experiences. In addition, the daily plans provide specific times for each of the following: (a) the time for children to have choices, (b) the time for group activities, and (c) the time to celebrate differences.