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Preschool Years (Ages 3-5)

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Environment

The West Katy Preschool teachers ensure that the environment is safe, healthy, and conductive to children’s exploration and independence, and they provide attentive supervision. Our teachers create a learning environment that fosters children’s initiative, active exploration of materials, and sustained engagement with other children, adults, and activities.

Teaching Methods

To engage children actively in a variety of learning experiences, our teachers create interest areas and furnishing these materials based on program goals and knowledge of children’s varying interests and abilities. To help children acquire new skills and understandings, our teachers employ a range of strategies, choosing from and combining them to suit the goal, the child, and the situation. Our teachers recognize the importance of both child-guided and adult-guided learning experiences. Our teachers provide many opportunities for children to learn to collaborate with others and work through ideas, solutions, as well as develop social skills.

Curriculum Essentials

The curriculum addresses key goals in all areas of development and in the domain of physical education and health, language, and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and creative arts. In planning and implementing learning experiences, teachers draw on their knowledge of the content, awareness of what is likely to interest children of that age, and understanding of the cultural and social context of children’s lives.

Physical Development

Our teachers make sure that children have plenty of opportunities to use large muscles in balancing, running, jumping, climbing, and other vigorous movements, both in their play and in planned movement activities. Our teachers, also, provide opportunities throughout the day for children to develop fine motor skills through working with suitable materials.

Language and Literacy

The West Katy Preschool teachers engage in conversations with both individual children and small groups. Our teachers teach children how to listen – by teaching and scaffolding it, just like any other language skills. Every day, teachers read aloud to children, in both small and large groups when possible. Teachers introduce engaging oral language experiences. Also, our teachers help children understand that the written marks represent the children’s speech. Teachers create a print-rich environment in which lots of prints not only is present but is also used in ways that show print’s many purposes.

Mathematics

Teachers recognize children’s interest in making sense of their world with mathematics. Using various learning contexts, teachers provide focused mathematics time that is interesting and meaningful to children. Because mathematics is a discipline in which mastering the next concept/skills requires having understood earlier, foundational concepts/skills, the curriculum reflects a research-based progression of topics.

Science

Recognizing preschooler’s curiosity about the world around them, teachers focus on the uses and processes of science in children’s everyday lives. The curriculum includes concepts not only from life science/nature but also from physical science and earth science. Teachers use a variety of strategies to help children develop important scientific concepts and skills.

Technology

Teachers make thoughtful use of computers and other technology in the classroom, not to replace children’s experience with objects and materials but to expand the range of tools with which children can seek information, solve problems, perform transformations, and learn at their own pace.

Social Studies

Teachers actively foster children’s understanding of democratic process and attitudes in concrete, experiential ways that young children are able to understand, such as making discussing rules, solving together the problems that arise in the classroom community, and learning to listen to others’ ideas and perspectives. The curriculum uses children’s familiar, everyday experiences as the foundation for their social studies learning.

Creative Arts

Teachers give children daily opportunities for creative expression and aesthetic appreciation. Children explore and enjoy various forms of dramatic play, music, dance, and visual arts. Teachers do not provide a model that they expect children to copy. However, they demonstrate new techniques or uses of the materials to expand children’s options.

Assessing Children’s Development and Learning

Assessment is done for four specific, beneficial purposes: planning and adapting curriculum to meet each child’s developmental and learning needs, helping teachers and families monitor children’s progress, evaluating and improving program effectiveness, and screening and identification of children with potential disabilities or special needs. Teachers assess children on an ongoing basis during daily activities, including play. Information about each child’s learning and development is used to evaluate teaching effectiveness, which may lead to a change in schedule, curriculum, and teaching strategies, room set up, resources, and so on.

Relationship with Families

Parents are welcome in the early childhood setting at all times. Family members have opportunities to participate in ways that are comfortable for them, such as observing, reading to children, or sharing skills or interest. Teachers and parents work together in making decisions about how best to support children’s development and learning or how to handle problem or differences of opinion as they arise.