Academics in the Classroom

The classrooms are thoughtfully designed to offer children rich and varied learning opportunities. The daily schedule creates the structure within which content can be varied, sequenced, repeated, supported, and extended.

The academics can be seen throughout the classroom learning centers. Each classroom includes a block and manipulative center, dramatic play center, reading center, writing center, art center, science center, and sensory center. The centers reflect key concepts and skills that the children are being introduced to or are mastering with repeated exposure. Social: Children need opportunities to work alone and with others. Self-directed time provides the choice to work alone, in pairs, or in spontaneous groups. There are also routine group times planned by the teachers that allow time to introduce new concepts and give the children a forum for community building, sharing and listening to each other’s ideas. Language is experienced throughout the classroom beginning with modeling by the teachers and parent volunteers. Learning centers are developed with many language opportunities. Books are included in the centers that relate to the theme of the center to deepen the interest level and extend play with new content. Vocabulary is built and oral language is strengthened with discussion among teachers and children. Written words are included; and at times created by the children to label items in the center and begin that association of words that symbolize “things”. Reading occurs spontaneously throughout these centers as well as at group time. Reading includes time to predict what will happen in the story, discussing the characters, their roles, and the sequence of the story. Language developed through problem-solving in the classroom with teachers and children builds their self-esteem and social “tool box”.

Logical/Mathematical knowledge is a natural consequence of play in the classroom. Working with the blocks the children are matching, sorting, patterning, and counting. They put blocks together and then rearrange (playing with spatial awareness) to fit them into their design. When children are developmentally ready, objects begin to take on permanence resulting in one-to-one correspondence. The ability to count and experiment with addition and subtraction is included in many activities during the class day, i.e. counting their peers at group and determining how many children are missing. Children begin classifying by sorting and matching, categorizing items such as forest animals versus farm animals. Putting things in order (large, medium, small) and making comparisons while measuring pumpkins. Science is fully explored with the senses, while manipulating, combining, and transforming materials. As an example, while baking, the children are observing, comparing, classifying, inferring, and predicting. They are working with various tools, reading the recipe and documenting their findings (i.e.,charting their favorite cookie flavor) for review with the others at group time. The academic’s are woven into the curriculum without over-powering the elements of social/emotional developmental readiness. Children will enter into play based on their development. The learning centers are designed to support the various children’s abilities and interests. Children interact socially with their peers and teachers creating a positive, emotional experience in the classroom. We feel that developing problem-solving skills eases the children’s transition into the next classroom experience. This social/emotional element in the classroom is key to our play-based curriculum.

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