The foundation of our two, three and four year old Nursery / Pre-Kindergarten program is built on the physical, cognitive, and social emotional development of the child. Therefore our program is developmentally play based, because research has forever shown that children from birth to seven need to: live and play in their imagination, engage in plenty of self-initiated movement as well as develop their sense of balance, touch and movement preparing them for the rigors of intellectual learning.
Our daily rhythm allows an inner self-discipline to arise in the child. Our classroom environment has simple toys made of natural materials for play. Using their natural curiosity, the children are free to engage their imagination as these open ended toys become inspired by the child’s will. This imaginative play is the foundation of their creative thought. Our warm and nurturing environment invites the child to their “work” and their “play” with ample time for lots of movement which is a vital ingredient for necessary cognitive growth laying the foundation for their later intellectual thought.
Children of this age are primarily sense beings. We thoughtfully spend our day with part of our focus on the development of the child’s sense of touch, balance and self-movement. Within the development of these senses the child has the opportunity to know themselves and with this self knowledge comes the freedom to be in healthy relationship with themselves, others and their experiences. This self knowledge brings the child to a healthy life sense where they are happily settled within themselves and healthy development naturally unfolds.
Circle time brings wonderful opportunities for learning through imitation as well as the development of their will. We sing songs, recite verse and rhymes, engage the imagination with movement through many wonderful story adventures. The repetition of these circles builds language development, educates the ear, stimulates the speech center of the brain as well as laying the foundation for later phonics and spelling.
Also at the foundation of our learning through play we tell stories using puppets. These are simple stories that tell the child “the world is good”.
We have ongoing seasonal artistic handwork projects that often relate to our seasonal festivals which are the foundation of our curriculum. We engage the young child in cooking, gardening, repairing and cleaning as part of our daily routine laying the foundation for later organizational skills. Our snack is always organic, made from scratch and the children help us daily in this preparation often kneading, rolling, peeling and chopping.
Our Afternoon Garden Program is for children and families interested in a longer day of school. This program is a continuation of our morning program into the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At 12:15pm when we have said goodbye to our friends going home, the children gather their lunches and proceed to the River classroom. Here the Pre-K and Kindergarten classes enjoy their lunch time together.
The younger children learn table manners, story telling and more from the older children. After lunch there is indoor playtime in the classroom and then the children have a 45 minute rest. The children bring a sheet and blanket from home for resting on their futon mattress. The ability to stop, rest, and have time for reflection is an important life skill. All children rest no matter their age or need. After rest time children play outdoors no matter the weather. Parents pick children up at 3:15.