The following are some guiding principles that serve as the basis for our preschool curriculum:
- Students learn to be socially interactive through dramatic play.
- Feeling, touching, and creating through sensory activities enhances cognitive skills.
- Painting, pasting, and participation in art allows students to express themselves creatively.
- Cutting, assembling, and threading objects encourages the development of fine motor skills.
- Physical activity and movement, such as balancing, crawling, dancing, and jumping, helps to develop gross motor skills.
- Reading stories every day promotes literacy while exposing students to different cultures and experiences.
- Positive interaction and communication are encouraged among all the students, teachers, and staff.
- Students respond best when teachers ask open-ended questions.
Fostering self-expression and creativity are significant to our ethos. Each classroom includes facilities and opportunities for painting, drawing, clay, collage, construction, block building, and cooking. The students also have weekly Special classes in music and movement.
We support an anti-bias curriculum through character studies that represent diversity within a social justice framework. We ask questions and encourage conversations that prompt students to think critically and to develop an awareness of injustice and inequity.
We look to the Emergent and Reggio Emilia curriculum in our classrooms, which emphasizes student’s active participation in the planning, development, and assessment of their own learning. Our teachers observe and listen to the students as they play, determine their areas of interest, then develop a curriculum to direct their learning based on their interests.
For instance, to start the year we ask families to share a summer memory. If many of the memories are about the beach, the class might begin a study about the ocean, take a closer look at sea animals, and explore the makeup of sand. In the past, classes have studied subjects such as the origin of different types of bread, baby development, phases of the moon, plants, the water cycle, beads from around the world, drums, living versus nonliving things, and landscapes versus portraits.
Throughout the school, teachers utilize documentation boards to provide visual evidence of the learning process. These feature photographs, artwork, student quotes, teacher reasoning, and samples of student work. Observations are displayed on different levels for both the student and adults to see. Providing this documentation at the child’s eye level is validating, aids comprehension and memory, and prompts students to revisit their thoughts and further explore them.
Open Mic & Sings
Every month, our school comes together in a Town Hall to celebrate each of our school’s core values: Compassion, Uniqueness, Innovation, Community Action, and Joy, where Students and staff perform skits, sing songs that focus on the month’s core value.
We also hold Open Mics, where students are invited to perform whatever talent they’d like to share—a song, a dance, or even a knock-knock joke. In the winter and spring, our music teacher and students perform original songs written in collaboration, including our very own school song.