Early Childhood Curriculum
Teachers immerse our youngest learners in rich literature and language throughout the day. Emphasis is placed on developing students' oral language, listening skills, love of reading and stories, awareness of the written word, and handwriting skills. Because our teachers understand that children grow through the stages of reading and writing at their own pace, they assess children’s individual growth and guide them through the progression of literacy skills throughout the year.
In the Early Childhood program, math is everywhere! Learning happens all day through planned lessons, as well as organically through student interactions. Mathematical development is worked on daily in the classroom by providing an environment that encourages explorations, questions, and observations as children work to build mathematical reasoning. Throughout the day, children are engaged in mathematical problem solving, using a variety of manipulatives, as well as targeted math materials.
Art is one of the many tools embedded in the Early Childhood Unit program that allows children to experiment with the creative process and express their ideas and learning experiences with a variety of materials. In the art room, a space alive with color and creativity, children are encouraged to visually represent their thinking and learning experiences using a variety of media and techniques. The art teacher cultivates a sense of wonder by presenting students with open-ended artistic explorations.
Pre-K and Kindergarten students investigate the world of science during outdoor education classes, explorations, and STEAM. During outdoor education classes, students hone their science-process skills as they participate in a variety of different nature-based activities. Students also participate in exploration time, during which they choose from a collection of hands-on activities and investigate the materials at their own pace. When completing STEAM activities, students engage in a variety of activities that focus on a combination of science, technology, engineering, art, and math topics.
Creative movement extends topics of study in the homecorner classroom to provide children with the space to explore and build knowledge through movement. During movement activities that encourage creative and spontaneous thinking, students develop motor control, spatial awareness, and the ability to work well with others and both share and listen to ideas.
Making music together as a group stands at the center of the music program in the Early Childhood Unit at Green Acres. Students gather to sing, dance, and play music while learning about musical conventions, their world, and themselves. Children are encouraged to sing, play instruments, dance, learn folk music of their own culture, and explore the music of other cultures. They also use various instruments, including xylophones, glockenspiels, and simple rhythm instruments, to create ensembles supporting singing. Throughout the school year, they perform, listen to, and analyze great music of the world. In addition, they learn musical skills such as music reading and writing, singing, and part singing. While the primary purpose of the music program in the Early Childhood Unit is the enjoyment of making music together, it is also used as a form of self-expression, to build community, and to lay the groundwork for the program that follows in the Primary Unit.
A major focus of the Early Childhood physical education program is to enhance students’ knowledge of body awareness, spatial awareness, motor control, locomotive skills, non-locomotive skills, and manipulative skills. Children practice skipping, galloping, and running at various speeds. They also work on developing balance, coordination, and upper body and core strength. Together, students learn how to work cooperatively within a large group.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students learn basic Spanish through developmentally appropriate, fun, and engaging activities. They sing songs and play in Spanish and learn that the language is spoken in many countries around the world. To broaden their understanding of the Spanish language and some of the cultures in which it is used, students are introduced to different Hispanic cultures and traditions. The curriculum is integrated with the Early Childhood Unit curriculum so that learned vocabulary supports much of the explorations that happen in the classroom, such as those related to colors, numbers, and animals.
Pre-K and Kindergarten students strengthen their literacy skills and start to discern author and illustrator styles and genres during read-alouds and discussions of picture books, chapter books, biographies, and poetry. The children begin to grasp social justice concepts that are introduced in relation to setting, characters, and plot. Using early-reader nonfiction connected with classroom thematic units, students explore basic research language and tools and take part in simple mini-research activities.