Children in the Pre-School continue to need loving, attentive, consistent, and responsive care as they move through their busy days and gain increasing autonomy and skill. Teachers keep calm in mind as they plan children’s days and are always there with a warm hug, a ready smile, and a chance to share laughter and conversation.
Play continues as the heart of the Pre-school program with the understanding that children are active designers of their own learning. Play inspires delight and curiosity and impels children to investigate and experiment. It is the serious work of experimenting with materials, processes, and ideas over time that allows children to pose questions, adjust thinking, and make connections across their learning. Children try out and hone techniques. With increasing independence and growing skills they become familiar with enough of the world to begin a life-long commitment to their own interests and learning.
In the Pre-school, children join with each other in visions for play and projects. Children work out relationships while joining other children, at times leading, at times following as they problem-solve, collaborate and mediate with each other. The Children’s Center helps children form affectionate, respectful and lasting relationships so that all children are included in the community of the classroom.
Teachers construct curriculum which responds to the observed interests and concerns of the individuals and the group while also incorporating the teacher’s educational goals for the group and the individuals. Teachers frame the days so that there is an alternating mix of active and quiet learning times, individual and group exploration, child-initiated and teacher-led learning. As children move through the pre-school years, emphasis is placed on longer-term involvement with individual and group projects. Authentic formalized learning is woven into group studies in ways that support the development of skills, helping children launch into further independent learning and expression.
In addition, children are offered structured experiences which introduce them to and help them gain skill in early literacy, mathematics, the sciences, social studies, the arts, and health education. The totality of exploratory, social, and formal learning helps children to become confidently prepared for future school learning.