The emphasis at this age level is on the development of social skills. Getting along with others, following directions, sitting for gradually extended periods of time are all introduced. Skills such as counting, color and shape recognition, etc. are taught to the children informally. They become familiar with these concepts through the repetition of games, songs, calendar time, and other group activities.
The schedule includes both structured and unstructured times. Choice times, "station" times, active play (gym or outside), P.E., circle (worship, calendar, singing, etc.), story, art, and snack. It is very flexible and allows for group and individual needs.
About one hour, two to three times a week will be devoted to "station time". The classroom will be set up with 4 to 5 stations for the children to choose from. The areas included in stations are 1) Exploration; such as play doh and water play 2) Art 3) Manipulatives; such as blocks and marble works
4) Dramatic Play; such as play house and puppets 5) Skills; such as cutting and writing 6) Math Readiness; such as sorting and classifying.
Projects, stories, songs, field trips, visitors, etc. are all centered around a weekly theme. For example, during "fire safety week" the children will role play the "stop, drop, and roll" procedure, practice dialing 911, and visit with real firefighters. Curriculum is not limited to one source. The teacher uses hundreds of resources to create a curriculum designed for each year's class.
At least once per month there is a field trip, usually associated with the weekly theme. In the past, the field trips have included the library discovery room, a pumpkin patch, the capitol building, Jamba Juice restaurant, and a fire station. We have a 15 passenger bus with seat belts for field trips.
The teacher evaluates progress in the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual areas of development. Examples of each child's work, as well as photo's of the child throughout the year are compiled in a "portfolio". Parent conferences are held in November and April if the parent and/or teacher deem it necessary.
The Preschool "3's" teacher is Miss Dawn Farnsworth. She holds a degree in general education with an emphasis in early childhood and physical education. She has taught preschool for 35 years, the last 30 here at St. John. If there are more than 10 children enrolled in the class, there will be an assistant.
The teacher's role is that of a facilitator in the learning environment. She observes, makes comments, asks questions to provoke problem solving, encourages conflict resolution, and is aware and takes advantage of teaching opportunities as they arise.
Each morning there is"Jesus time". The "Story" curriculum is an excellent source of age appropriate object lessons, Bible stories, songs, and prayers. There is also a prayer before snack. God and Jesus are brought into daily conversations and activities. There is also a weekly chapel for which all the classes get together for a special Bible lesson and singing time. It is led by Pastor Reinke.
Parents are always welcome in the classroom. Field trips and other "special" activities provide opportunities to get involved. The children present two programs for their families, one at Christmas, and one in the spring. There is a monthly newsletter to keep parents informed. We feel that parent involvement is very important in early childhood, so we encourage any input you may have for us.
Enrollment is limited to 16. A 1:10 ratio is always maintained, so if over 10 children are enrolled on any given day, there will be a classroom assistant.
Note: Two and a half year old children (toilet trained) are accepted in this class in September, but depending on class make-up and group dynamics, we may or may not accept them as the year progresses.