PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
The emphasis in Language Arts at the Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten level is to improve language development through oral language and communication skills, by focusing on understanding and using spoken language through conversation skills and building vocabulary. Words and the way that they may be linked together in sentences to express and relate ideas provide the lens or filters through which we perceive, understand and analyze our world and experiences. Experiences are provided to lay the foundation for written language development through language dictation and print rich environment.
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Math curriculum is built upon the child’s natural curiosity and desire to touch, examine and manipulate the objects they find around them. Experiences are provided using concrete objects and pictures for the child to recognize similarities and differences, classify objects and shapes, recognize and create patterns in sequence of objects, and make comparisons of objects using simple measurement skills. Children are given small groups of objects to quantify, to count and to demonstrate a basic understanding of addition and subtraction as “putting together” and “taking away”. Children are moved from the concrete to the symbolic stage of representing the concepts using mathematical language such as “more than”, “less than”, “longer”,“shorter”, number words and last numerical symbols.
St. Mary’s Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Science curriculum is a concrete approach to learning the fundamental concepts of science. Children are given many opportunities for systematic observation and hands-on investigation of both the living and physical world. The goals of the science curriculum ask children to describe key physical characteristics, needs and basic life cycle of plants and animals, including man. They are also asked to demonstrate how to use a variety of everyday tools.
St. Mary’s Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten social studies curriculum focuses on the awareness of the child as an individual, as a member of a family unit, as a member of their school and of a wider community through a variety of units of study. They have hands-on experiences using puppets, books, puzzles, games, costumes and activities to become aware of differences and similarities in our culture and the culture of others around the world.
St. Mary’s Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Music curriculum focuses both on listening to, enjoying and appreciating music in all its various forms as well as producing music. Singing songs and finger plays provides opportunities to practice oral language. Music provides the opportunity to clarify and expand concepts such as “loud, soft, high, low, fast and slow. Children are given opportunities to listen to and identify sounds, to indicate whether sound pairs are the same or different, to imitate sounds and rhythm sequences, sing songs individually and with others, and move interpretatively to music. As part of our music curriculum we have developed The Masters Music Program, which focuses on an individual classical composer monthly, providing students opportunities to here his music, learn about his life through books, and explore a variety of musical instruments.
The Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Visual Arts curriculum focuses on producing art as well as examining and appreciating examples of various art forms. The use of various media and techniques provides rich opportunities for sensory exploration and manipulation as well as the development of fine motor skills. In addition , through painting and drawing children make their first attempts at graphic representation, a precursor to writing. The guided examination of works of art provides practice in focusing attention on visual detail, important for developing skill in discriminating visual differences in objects, images, print, and letters, as well as appreciating the basic elements of art. Examination and discussion of art also enriches language development. Components of the Visual Arts program include MONART, Mommie, It’s a Renoir, and exposure to the Master Artists.
St. Mary’s Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Physical Education Curriculum is based on developing perceptual motor skills. Perceptual motor and coordination skills, and related movement activities extend and refine motions of body image and the body’s capabilities. It also provides opportunities for enhancing time, space, and language concepts, as well as social development when activities are carried out with others.
The child is given activities to stop and start movement according to a signal, maintain balance, move through space with or without obstacles, in a variety of ways, throw and kick objects, and move cooperatively with others, through a variety of tasks or traditional childhood games. The child also has opportunities to use the body to interpret music and perform pantomimes.