How We Think About the 4-Year-Old Preschoolers
The 4’s are ready to be wowed. They are curious learners and are beginning to be independent thinkers. Though they range in personalities from shy to assertive, they all are curious and eager to see and touch everything around them and delight in a job well done.
How We Emphasize and Reinforce Skills in the 4’s Classes
All concepts and ideas are presented with deliberate, repetitive instruction with lots of visual cues. We give the children experiences using all five senses.
How We Use Project-Based Learning in the 4’s Classes
We bring books, manipulatives, cooking experiences, puzzles, and other items particular to the unit of study into our classrooms. Here are a few of their favorite activities:
- Presenting the story of the first Thanksgiving in our November Chapels
- A very special Mother’s Day Brunch and Celebration
- Have special assemblies of all the 4’s classes to celebrate Dr. Seuss, Presidents’ Day, Chinese New Year and Earth Day
How We Differentiate Instruction in the 4’s Classes
Ideas and units are often presented to the class during Circle Time and then reinforced in small group instruction or rotating through Centers. Stories and art work reinforce the ideas presented.
How We Develop Character and Social Skills in the 4’s Classes
We play games using the names of the children in the class so that recall of their peers’ names is easier for classmates. At the beginning of the year, we have activities to stress the things each child has in common along with the characteristics that differentiate one from another, celebrating the differences. We have a prayer before each snack and lunch, attend chapel once a month, and encourage good manners to establish a pleasant classroom environment. Our culture is designed to develop and place a high value on respectful behavior with others.
How We Prepare the 4’s Classes for the Next Stage of Their Education
As the school year progresses, the duration of Circle Time and Center Time increases. More responsibility is asked of the children, such as cleaning up after themselves or using a variety of art materials, manipulatives and classroom items. We offer prereading activities such as letter and number recognition and letter sounds, and explore rhyming words. As we approach the end of the school year, more focus is placed on fine motor skills.
How Transitions Between Levels Are Facilitated
Because we have optimal class sizes, a wealth of information specific to each student is passed on from one teacher to the next. At the preschool level, assessment records and comment sheets from the previous years are valuable tools for teachers before a new year begins. Teachers make recommendations about the placement of children for the subsequent year, and all teachers feel welcome to ask the previous teacher for input regarding specific students.
The 4’s class students who are advancing to Wesley Prep Kindergarten are invited to visit with the Kindergarten teachers to meet their new teachers and see their classrooms as preparation for the next year.