Stewardship provides an overarching theme and central value for the Pre-Kindergarten learning experience. Carefully crafted, exciting, meaningful and meaning-filled units of study are taught in an engaging hands-on manner. The Care of Ourselves unit includes the topics All about Me, Human Body, Nutrition and Hygiene. Care of Each Other includes Classroom Jobs, Kindness Counts, and a “Bucket Filler” Service Project. Care of the Environment includes the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle; Gardening; and an Environmental Service Project.
Social and Emotional Learning
Pre-Kindergarten students learn to identify what their brains and bodies are feeling using the shared framework of the Zones of Regulation curriculum. Through literary connections and the meaningful context of social interactions, emotion zones and the strategies that help us remain in “the green zone” and ready to learn are taught. On a daily basis we practice being “bucket fillers,” that is through words and deeds students build each other up. A classroom culture of kindness and inclusiveness that is deeply rooted in Quaker values is thus established.
Language and Literacy Development
Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are life-tools needed to unlock learning. Lessons are taught one-on-one, in small groups, and in whole group configurations. Teachers work with students on alphabet skills, phonemic awareness, sound/letter correspondence, and fine motor skills. Pre-Kindergarten students are the youngest to participate in the school-wide handwriting program– Handwriting Without Tears, with specific emphasis on uppercase letter formation. The thoughtfully designed literature-rich classroom environment reflects and informs direct instruction as well as daily opportunities for student engagement in the language arts.
Mathematical Thinking and Expression
The Pre-Kindergarten math program provides hands-on, multi-sensory experiences through which students learn to use mathematics as a tool to understand situations of quantity in the world around them. Children acquire a real and lasting understanding of numbers and relationships among amounts of various things. Teachers provide time for concrete exploration, experimentation through play, and structured experiences with pattern, sorting, spatial relations, geometry, and measurement. Understanding, and not just computing and memorizing, is the goal of mathematics instruction.
Scientific Thinking, Exploration and Discovery
Exploration of the natural world is a key element of the Pre-Kindergarten science experience. Inquiry-based science guides Pre-Kindergartners’ work as they learn to care for classroom pets, cultivate a year-round hoop house garden, explore a range of physical properties, and observe various life cycles. Students are introduced to the scientific method: observing, hypothesizing, experimenting, collecting data, and determining results. The joy of discovery is a potent aspect of science instruction.