Curriculum FAQ’s

Will my child learn how to write their letters?

Children will be given opportunities to begin writing.  Most children start by writing their names, and by the end of preschool the majority of children are interested in writing their names and they are relatively successful at it.  Writing has two parts.  One is the concept of writing – writing is the process of communicating by representing thoughts on paper.  When a young child draws a picture and can tell you a story about what is happening in that picture, they are writing.  Once a child understands that letters represent sounds and combinations of letters represent words, then writing begins to happen with words in addition to pictures.  The second part of writing is the mechanics.  The first steps to being physically able to write involve building finger and hand muscles through the use of eyedroppers, tweezers, play-dough, and similar fine motor materials.  Next, a child must have an understanding that letters represent something.  The reason most children start by writing the letters of their name is because their name is meaningful to them.  Beginning writers will often write a whole page of what looks like chicken scratch to us, but for them is the beginning of representing thoughts through these made up curves and lines and symbols.  Through this experimentation with letter-like forms, they will quickly evolve into writing “real” letters.  In the “fours” program, we provide intentional experiences with letter sounds and letter recognition to facilitate the understanding of the symbolic representation of letters, which provides a basis for writing and reading.

Will my child be able to add and subtract by the end of preschool?

Children will be provided with opportunities to explore the concepts of subtraction and addition.  Subtraction and addition in preschool do not look like a worksheet with math problems on it.  Instead, children learn how to manipulate sets of objects to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction.  A common way to do this is through finger plays.  “Five little ice cream cones sitting at the store, Joey bought one and now there are __?____”  Hands on table top activities that promote the concept of one to one correspondence are also provided, which is a necessary building block of mathematical learning.  Children also learn about patterning, sequencing, and graphing within the framework of classroom experiences.  Children also learn about geometric shapes, spatial relationships and properties such as volume through block building and playing at the sand table.  A rich curriculum that develops mathematical literacy is taught through relevant experiences, investigation, and experimentation, so that the child is ready for more abstract “math problems” when they are introduced in elementary school.

My child already knows their letters and numbers, and is beginning to read and do simple math.  Will he or she be bored in preschool?

No!  I have yet to meet a child that was bored in preschool.  There are two reasons for this.  First, the beauty of the preschool curriculum is that it is designed so that each child can extend it to his or her own level of learning.  While one child may simply be able to match the pictures on a patterning strip, another may extend the pattern, while another may create her own pattern.  Or in the sandbox, one child may delight in the sensation of feeling the sand run through his fingers, while another is pouring sand between different shaped containers to see if all the sand will fit.  Some children choose to write at the writing center while others look at books while others play dress-up. This freedom of choice and flexibility allows each child to be fully engaged in what he is doing and challenge himself at an appropriate level.  Secondly, there are other vital types of learning that children are doing in preschool besides academic/cognitive learning.  Children are learning socially and emotionally in preschool.  Through playing and interacting with other children, they are learning some of the most important skills for success in school:   self control, intentionality, delayed gratification, transitioning, cooperativeness, communication.  Even if a child has mastered cognitive skills at an advanced level, there are usually plenty of social and emotional learning experiences that the child will benefit from.  I would argue that the social and emotional skills are the most critical skills children will be learning in a developmentally appropriate preschool program.

Do the children play outside every day?

We play outside every day unless it is raining hard or the temperature falls below 20 degrees.  Children need to play outside.  Outside play provides different opportunities for exploration and interaction, develops gross motor skills, and provides a much needed outlet for young children.  Children learn better if they get time outside to regenerate.

Are you a play based program?

Yes.  We believe children learn best through play.  Play provides the strongest educational foundations, fosters a love of learning, and promotes self esteem and interpersonal relationship skills.  Children in the 3 and 4 year old programs will get a minimum of 45 minutes of free play per class session.

Resources

If you would like to learn more about how young children learn and what is developmentally appropriate for young children, here are some resources you can consult:

Your Child’s Growing Mind, Jane M. Healy, Ph.D

The Power of Play, David Elkind, Ph.D.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, NAEYC, Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp