2 1/2 to 4 years
Preschool children are making their first transition into the school atmosphere. It is the goal of Somerset Academy to provide a loving, caring and nurturing environment where children can grow and develop. Through play experiences children begin to learn about their world.
Each session begins with learning center time. Children choose from art, dramatic play, discovery (science, math, computers, language) and physical centers. Teachers provide activities which are developmentally appropriate and challenging to children at various levels of the learning continuum. Teachers also interact with children by making statements that convey information and asking questions that help children to think about what they are doing. Through this process, children are successful in their learning experiences and develop a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Our program helps children develop in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth.
Since preschoolers are egocentric, they are just beginning to see the point of view of others. The dramatic play area gives children an opportunity to try out their developing social skills. In this area, children act out different roles and situations. Teachers encourage children to recognize their feelings and find appropriate words to use in social situations.
The art area allows children, through open-ended process art activities, to express themselves creatively and develop their fine motor skills. During each process, the children’s knowledge, emotions, and skill levels contribute to unique outcomes. Opportunities for painting, gluing and cutting are available each session, encouraged and guided by staff. When participating in this area, children’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and pride in accomplishment are recognized.
Large and fine motor skills are developed in the physical area. As children become involved in movement, they discover individual activities, increase spatial awareness, and strengthen muscles needed for more challenging activities. With each success, their willingness to try new and more difficult skills increases.
Children are encouraged to experiment, make observations, explore and investigate in the discovery area, an area rich in materials and activities. In addition to learning both science and math content, foundations are laid for asking questions and communicating with others.
Since preschoolers prefer active play, group times are kept to a minimum. Each day, however, children come together for a group time of music and movement providing an outlet for creative energy. At Somerset Academy, this time in each session gives children the opportunity to appreciate different kinds of music through listening, singing and movement. Recent brain research indicates that music and movement experiences help develop both sides of the brain. Our group story time follows. Literature is chosen to support motivation for children to read and write. As they listen to these stories presented by staff, the begin to learn more about their world as well as experiences and emotions shared by many children.
The playground at Somerset Academy is carefully planned to provide necessary outdoor activities to develop continued physical and social growth. As an extension of the classroom, teachers use this outdoor playtime as an opportunity for children to increase awareness of their senses, surroundings and physical abilities.