- Updated: 01 February 2017
- Published: 31 October 2015
- Hits: 1680
Our Pre-Primary classroom is a caring, responsive environment that is comprised of children from age 2 to 3 years. Of the three teachers in the classroom, one converses in English at all times, while the other two converses in Spanish at all times. No more than 18 children are present at any given time. The most prominent tenets of the Pre-Primary classroom are:
At regular times, Pre-primary children are asked to use the toilet. Such times are when the children enter the environment, before snack, before going outside, before lunch, before nap, etc. We just state, in a matter-of-fact way, “We are going outside soon, so it is time to use the toilet.” We are making an offer phrased in such a way that the child will not automatically refuse. If he does refuse, we recognize that this is his conscious choice, so we do not push the issue. He is given every opportunity to observe other children using the toilet or getting dressed. Eventually, he comes to accept that using the toilet is a natural behavior in the environment, and he will no longer want to be in diapers.
Once a child is wearing training underpants during the day, he should wear them at night as well. It is a good idea to use flannel/or rubber sheeting under the mattress cover to protect the bedding.
It exercises develop independence, motor coordination, concentration, sequential memory and social skills. While often appearing deceptively simple, these tasks establish how the child views and values himself. The child builds basic trust in himself and confirms basic trust in the environment. Exercises are daily activities to care for ourselves and our surroundings, such as dressing, wiping nose, preparing food, setting the table, dusting plants, sweeping floors, washing dishes, etc. Most early practical life exercises are open-ended, allowing the child to extend his attention span naturally. Later practical life exercises (at the Primary level), such as multi-step food preparation and cleaning exercises, challenge memory and sequencing skills.
Children show respect for adults by making eye contact, listening, and responding courteously. Similarly, we adults show respect for children by lowering our heads to their level, looking at them, and listening to them. We, as adults, are the best language models to children, who observe and absorb everything we say and do. Therefore, we must model grace and courtesy in the proper way whenever we interact with adults and children. In this way, children can integrate these skills into their lives.
• Adults as models
• Real objects for concrete sensorial experience
• Replica objects when the real objects are difficult to bring into the classroom
• Objects with cards: 3 dimensional objects matched to 2 dimensional pictures
• Classified cards
• Poetry and songs
• Self expression: listen to the children and allow them to talk to us.
• Question Exercises: this is the process of asking a child or group of children questions with the intention of helping the children organize thoughts around a single concept. Because these materials for language acquisition are consistent between languages, our toddlers experience language immersion in a bilingual environment. In this classroom one teacher is speaking Spanish only and the other is speaking only English. Once a child gets older and transitions to the preschool (Primary) classroom, parents may choose Spanish/English or French/English classrooms. At the Elementary and Junior High levels, students are immersed in all three languages.
Every toddler (pre-primary student) has an art session with an art instructor once a week at the Art Studio. Each session is about 30 minutes long. Once in the art studio, the child is welcome to choose his or her work, to receive a lesson or to create an artwork practicing her or his art skills. During the lesson time, the art teacher provides gentle guidance on a one-on-one basis to each student on how to organize his/her own working place, how to use age appropriate art materials and how to put the work away and independently clean up the work space.
Toddler art curriculum includes but is not limited to:
• Drawing with colored pencils
• Painting at the easel
• Gluing pre-cut pieces of colored papers onto a cardboard
• Working with polymer clay
Children love to sing. Singing songs develops both sides of the brain and research has shown singing increases a child’s ability in spatial reasoning; additionally, singing often lightens the mood. All toddlers (Pre-primary students) participate in Kodály-inspired group singing classes twice a week, and perform in two school-wide concerts in December and June.