The Preschool Program is designed to prepare children for academic learning by offering them opportunities for persistence, determination, problem solving, frustration, discouragement, collaboration, and success.
The preschool educators build a daily schedule that is rich in routines so children can anticipate the predictable and consistent sequence of the day that is formed around small and large group moments. Beginning the day with outside play in small groups and cooking together, children find the day unfolds naturally. Gathering in a group for circle time before snack to sing songs leads them to the formal start of their day as a community. Through the rest of the day children play outside, share meals together, have routine care, and find social opportunities with each other and their educators.
We believe that children learn through their play and after their first three years at the Center, steeped in primary relationships and emotional connection, we know that they are prepared for the preschool experience. We continue to focus the child on their relationship to their preschool primary educator so that there is a solid foundation from which they can grow socially and cognitively. We design their academic preparation through their play, where it occurs naturally and organically as they interact with each other and materials. We know that STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) learning is present inside and outside when children spontaneously investigate, use observations to inform their questions, and develop models to understand their world. We create opportunities for child-led learning and recognize literacy embedded in their daily life through our songs, rhymes, puppet stories, books, and conversations as curricular. Throughout the day the focus on participating in the support and care of the community is evident as they make snack, tidy up their play spaces, share in the chores, and help each other.
Arrival & Drop Off Outdoors
Families bring their child to the porch of the Yellow House for drop off and the procedures to begin the day. Families say goodbye to their child on the porch and an educator walks with them through the routines before heading out to the play yard for early morning play.
Early Outdoor Play
Early morning play in the yard offers children a chance to prepare our yard and themselves for the day. There are many chores and community building activities that the children find settling in with their caregivers before finding free play with their peers.
Morning Seasonal Circle
Our day begins with a seasonal circle with the whole group. This circle marks the beginning of the day, recognizes everyone who is there and is held out on our yard. Caregivers create these circles choosing songs, verses, movement activities and finger plays to reflect the seasons, mark the change of seasons, and bring to light some features of each season.
Morning and Afternoon Snack Time
Children eat these small meal snacks at the table with their primary educator and their group everyday so that the rhythm of the routine is predictable and comfortable. Children move through the handwashing, toileting, and cleaning up activities that surround mealtime consistently so that they can predict what happens in the sequence of their day.
Morning/Afternoon Outdoor Play
Outdoor time is spent on our play yard exploring the various outdoor activities and materials for the week. The weekly curriculum plan intentionally reflects observations, insights, and extensions of projects, investigations, play areas, yard work and art during this time. These times of day are designed to offer large amounts of uninterrupted time so that children feel the abundance of space and time to create, build, and investigate.
In the afternoon the art room is opened at the Yellow House for a small group (4-6 children) to engage in a more in-depth art project. Each group visits the Yellow House weekly to paint, felt, and work with different mediums.
Children will come in from their outdoor play ready for lunch and nap. They move through the necessary care routines and make their way to their primary educator and their small group of children. We unpack lunches for the children and place the food on plates with napkins so they can enjoy a relaxed meal. After lunch children handwash, toilet, and place their shoes in their cubbies. Their nap mats are prepared for them so they can see where they will rest and predict what is coming next in their day. They make their way to their nap mats which are set up distanced, but in proximity to their primary educator where they will prepare for a puppet story and rest time.
Storytelling happens in the quiet of the room after the lunch and transition is complete. As children are fed and tired, they are happily resting on the rug for a “puppet story”. Each story is memorized and told by their primary educator to their small group. In the first week it is introduced in the narrative form without any props. As the children learn the story, the educator will add props and tell the story over the following weeks.
All children are offered at least one hour of rest time on their mats. They sleep in the same spot each day near their small group of children and their primary educator so that they are familiar with this routine. When they wake around 2:00/2:30pm they are offered books to look at on their mats to soften the waking up transition to the afternoon. Once they are prepared for the afternoon they get up from their mats, begin packing up their things, using the toilets, and readying themselves for snack at their own pace.
Tidy Up Jobs & Departure
After the come in from outside play around 4:30, many children begin to depart. This time of day can feel like a lot of disruptions. We start this inside time with a group story and then move to activities for children to choose as they wish. Some of these activities include playing independently, with others, doing chores or sitting with an educator reading a story. Educators walk children to the door for departure at the end of their day.
2021-2022 Preschool Program Staff
- Crary Chandler, Co-Lead Specialist
- Aleeza Stearns, Co-Lead Educator
- Amanda Kierman, Co-Lead Educator
- Toni Balestra, Part-time Educator