4 to 6 years
Prekindergarten children are continuing with the same developmental tasks as preschoolers but at the next developmental level. Play experiences during center time develop cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. Children choose from centers such as art, science, math, technology, language, Spanish program, dramatic play, blocks and music.
The prekindergartener’s increased attention span allows for group activities which will prepare them for kindergarten. The daily schedule begins with an introduction of materials and activities. Time is also spent gathering information based on the interests of the children and planning accordingly for daily activities.
Small group time provides an opportunity for teachers to work with small groups providing activities which foster language, math, and other important development. Small group activities such as sorting, matching, seriation and sequencing reinforce premath skills. Hands-on science activities stimulate thinking through predicting, estimating and experimenting. Handwriting is taught with the Handwriting Without Tears program through various materials provided to write letters at each child’s individual developmental level.
Following small group time is outdoor play, which is considered an extension of the classroom. Four to five year olds love games and are now ready to learn rules and take turns. The playground is equipped with climbers, a large sand box, gravel pit and play house. An area for riding toys is also part of the playground.
Open center time follows with children taking initiative in choosing their areas of play. Four to five year olds have a developing sense of independence. They now take greater responsibility for their behavior and their ability to control their feelings. Their increasing cooperative play often requires facilitation on the part of teachers. Teachers encourage children to problem solve and resolve conflicts while asking questions and suggesting appropriate words. This play helps children develop the social skills that prepare them for success in kindergarten and later education.
Self-confidence increases as children come to OPEN SNACK and serve their own food including pouring juice and water from child-size pitchers. As children dress themselves for outdoor play during the winter months, sequencing is reinforced as children put snow pants on first, boots second, etc. They developawareness of rules that keep them safe and demonstrate respect for playmates and materials. Success in these tasks helps to increase self-confidence and self-esteem.
Finally, children finish the session with a group time providing music, movement and story. Teachers provide a wide range of stories which increase children’s vocabulary and stimulate their interest in reading.