Preschool Curriculum

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PURPOSE AND GOALS OF PRESCHOOL PROGRAM

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac Preschool and Pre-kindergarten is an early childhood education program, which is designed to nurture the development of the whole child.  Creativity and self-expression are encouraged, the emphasis being placed on the process over product.  Saint Jeanne’s embraces the developmental theory of education for young children in the following ways:

  • Develops an awareness of the love of God.
  • Provides developmentally appropriate curriculum in a Christian environment.
  • Provides opportunities for children to develop independence and self-confidence.
  • Fosters a child’s self-image through open-ended, multi-sensory, “hands-on” activities.
  • Provides opportunities for social and emotional growth.
  • Lays the groundwork for intellectual skills for future growth.
  • Provides opportunities for children to play with their peers.
  • Creates a readiness to learn within balance

OUR GOALS ARE

  • To provide quality childhood education to our young students
  • To enrich and expand the role of parents as the first and lasting teachers of their children.
  • To provide a sensitive and safe learning environment.
  • To help the child build a positive self- image.
  • To increase the child’s confidence and independence.
  • To teach students to share with others.
  • To develop warm and trusting relationships with children and adults.
  • To discover that learning is fun and exciting.

SPIRITUAL

  • To lead children to appreciate the wonders of God’s creation and to trust in His wisdom and loving kindness.
  • To create an atmosphere of Christian community in which the child learns to love and respect God, oneself, his/her parents, teachers, and friends.
  • To provide opportunities for the students to observe, experience, and participate in Catholic rituals, joys, celebrations and customs so that they can develop their own identities as Roman Catholics.
  • To teach children to pray.
  • To help children develop love and tolerance for all people.
  • To develop in the students and appreciation for Mary, the mother of Jesus and for Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac, patroness of our school.

PHYSICAL

  • To develop coordination and motor control.
  • To develop hand-eye coordination through small muscle activities and play, learning to dress and undress, use of small motor toys and manipulative toys.

INTELLECTUAL

  • Development of language arts, problem solving skills and developing attention spans.
  • Learning identification of numbers, letters, and patterns.
  • Developing listening skills and concentration.

EMOTIONAL

  • Building and encouraging self-confidence and self-motivation
  • Practicing tasks alone as well as in a group
  • Providing positive areas of choice for exploring and creating

SOCIAL

  • Adjusting to a smooth daily routine
  • Learn to work alone as well as with a group
  • Leaning to share, compromise and co-operate
  • Feel at ease away from home
  • Enjoy friendship with adults and peers
  • Developing good personal hygiene practices

CURRICULUM

Our program is planned to help each child observe, question, participate, and listen, thereby providing the child with a wide variety of learning experiences.  The developmental process includes an open-ended curriculum, which is child-centered and follows the natural development and sequence of learning within a warm and supportive environment. It provides a balance of activities in the following areas:

Indoor/outdoor, active/quiet, individual/small group/large group, large/small motor, child initiated/teacher initiated. Teachers provide alternating activities using different materials on a daily basis.  Time is scheduled for children to interact with one another and with the materials provided.

The curriculum provides hands-on activities enabling children to achieve the following goals: develop a strong sense of self, develop respect for children from varied cultures, develop health and safety practices, strengthen small and large motor skills, encourage language development, and encourage the development of independence and the ability to think and reason. All activities and lessons are designed to generate an excitement for learning without pressure to learn.

Bible Stories and Values Language Arts Science and Nature
Creative Art Literature Music and Movement
Physical Exercise Computers Social Studies
Group Time Activities Free-Flow Activities Mathematics
Library Dramatic Play Character Formation

The faith formation of our children is of prime concern to us.  We believe that faith development is an ongoing process throughout life.  Ideas about Jesus, His world, and His people are incorporated into daily classroom activities and as opportunities arise.  Liturgical and Para-liturgical services are celebrated in age-appropriate ways and liturgical seasons.
Recognizing that play is essential to learning, our curriculum is designed whereby children involve themselves in organized or independent activities, which enhance learning through play.

PRESCHOOL/PREKINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM GUIDELINES

Saint Jeanne’s Pre-Kindergarten teachers use the following guidelines to help define and implement a comprehensive curriculum.

Religion Weekly Gospel Scripture (Benzinger) Bible Supplemental Books Lives of the Saints
Commandments Seasonal celebrations Language and Early Literacy Development Listening Comprehension Speech Production and Speech Discrimination
Vocabulary Verbal Expression Phonological Awareness Print and Book Awareness Letter Knowledge and Early Word Recognition
Motivation to Read Developing Knowledge of Literary Forms Written Expression Mathematics Number and Operations
Patterns Geometry and Spatial Sense Measurement Classification and Data Collection Science (Scott-Foresman)
Science Processes Science Concepts Social Studies Individual, Culture, and Community History
Geography Economics Fine Arts Art Music
Dramatic Play Health and Safety Developing personal boundaries Learning basic safety rules and precautions Developing healthy habits
Learning safety measures around the classroom Personal and Social Development Developing personal hygiene Developing personal interaction with adults and peers Physical Development
Physical Movement (SPARK) Gross-Motor Development Fine-Motor Development

 

RELIGION

Religious faith, morals, values and self‑respect are the basis for and center of all learning and activity within the preschool classroom. Various religious holidays, and liturgical seasons and celebrations are introduced and developed at an age appropriate level. The Sign of the Cross, Hail Mary, and Our Father are shared with the children and the meaning of these prayers expressed. Exposure to church, religious symbols and respect for their faith is an ongoing process. Home follow‑up, participation and reinforcement are expected. We encourage the children to express themselves and talk to God through prayer, and strive to create a balance between traditional and spontaneous prayer throughout our day.

LANGUAGE ARTS

Language Arts involve using and developing spoken language and developing an understanding of written symbols, how they represent language, and the ways in which they can be used to communicate. Preschool children learn to express themselves verbally and build their vocabulary through stories, books, dramatic play, circle time, and drawing. Language is valued as a positive way to solve problems that may occur in the classroom. As children play, look at books, are read to, and learn to control and predict their environment, they develop and use many of the skills necessary for learning to read. Without this foundation more abstract skills later on are difficult to learn. A child’s development moves from the large to the small. In developing visual discrimination, a child first sees and recognizes a three-dimensional object, then a representative symbol, then letters, and finally words.

Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School teachers insure that the children develop the following necessary skills as they play and explore:

  • large motor coordination: moving through space with control, body-space awareness
  • visual discrimination: the likenesses and differences between what the child sees
  • sorting, matching: how the child puts things together in groups and classifies them, recognizing; what attributes the objects do and do not have in common
  • sequencing: what comes before, after, next; the logical order of things
  • use of oral language: how the child is able to communicate with the spoken word
  • ability to answer questions and follow verbal directions
  • ability to remember previous events and use that information
  • memory; and observation of details

Children also learn as they see and hear adults read, write, and converse. Spontaneous and meaningful situations occur throughout the day for the children and their teachers to read, write, and listen to each other enriching the children’s language skills.

MATHEMATICS

As soon as a child thinks of himself or herself (one) and others (more than one), the child is beginning to understand and learn math. Mathematics is a way of ordering and thinking about the world which is much more than learning to count and to read and write numbers. Preschool math is all about grasping mathematical concepts through knowledge of objects discovered by experience and observation. When children play in the classroom using manipulative toys, building in the block area, setting the table, taking only two crackers for snack, following a recipe chart, they are developing mathematical skills and concepts.

SOCIAL STUDIES

Social Studies encourage preschoolers to explore the world around them. Children begin a journey of discovery as they learn about their classroom community. They learn classroom routines, rhythms, and rules, and begin to understand how to function as a group. They work to recognize likeness and difference among classmates. By sharing different backgrounds, looking at holiday traditions, exploring a variety of ethnic cooking activities, reading stories, listening to music, and watching dances, preschoolers discover the many wonderful differences and common threads that bind individuals together in the classroom and in the world. As the children become more comfortable with their own classroom, they venture out into the vast variety of opportunities and people that Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac School offers by participating in activities, seeing performances by other classes, and visiting the older students.

SCIENCE

The science activities are aimed at encouraging observation, comparison, exploration, testing, inquiry, and problem solving. Within many activities, children’s senses are stimulated. You can help them notice cause and effect, as well as keep simple records of things discovered at home! Discovering their own body, health, hygiene, growth, and the cycles of life ‑ growth of themselves as well as plants, animals, pets; seeds, etc. are observed and shared.

THINKING AND GROSS MOTOR GAMES

Thinking games motivate children to develop cognitive skills within a play situation. When involved in a thinking game, children are reaming to identify, classify, and apply. Gross motor games contribute to positive physical and mental health by strengthening muscles and helping to free children from tension. Social development is aided when the children cooperate and learn the positions of leader and follower. Finally, self‑concepts are enhanced as youngsters acquire motor skills and feelings of success and enjoyment while learning to wait, share, take turns and work together as well as individually.

ART

Art is a form of communication as natural to children as talking. Creating, experimenting, and learning go hand in hand. Art is exploratory and provides the child with focus on objects outside himself. It is a source of immediate experience and does not need to be planned or purposeful. Preschool children engage in art activities and develop the following skills:

  • Fine motor coordination;
  • Awareness of color, shape, size, and texture;
  • Understanding of spatial relationships; and
  • Developing self-expression and emotional outlets.

MUSIC

In preschool and prekindergarten we make, use and enjoy music. It is a direct experience that is part of each preschool day. The children sing every day during circle time and listen to a diverse collection of music at various times during the day. As children sing and do finger plays, they use their imaginations and improve coordination. They develop an appreciation for the patterns and the musical variety produced by rhythms and melodies. Most important at this age, they learn to simply love music and find joy in participating by listening, moving, and singing.

DRAMATIC PLAY

Dramatic play allows children many opportunities to use their imaginations in a variety of ways in the “house” area, the “block” area, with a basket of small figures, or on the roof. This kind of play is fun and an extremely important part of a child’s growth and development. It is here that children can:

  • imitate the adults in their lives;
  • play out real life roles that reflect the relationships and experiences;
  • express their needs;
  • release unacceptable impulses in a safe way;
  • reverse the roles usually taken;
  • mirror their own growth; and
  • work out problems and experiment with solutions.

COMPUTER INSTRUCTION

Thinking games motivate children to develop cognitive skills within a play situation. When involved in a thinking game, children are reaming to identify, classify, and apply. Gross motor games contribute to positive physical and mental health by strengthening muscles and helping to free children from tension. Social development is aided when the children cooperate and learn the positions of leader and follower. Finally, self‑concepts are enhanced as youngsters acquire motor skills and feelings of success and enjoyment while learning to wait, share, take turns and work together as well as individually.

HEALTH/NUTRITION/FOODS EXPERIENCE

With the nutrition activities, children learn about group cooperation, weights and measures, time, and changes of matter from one form to another. Moreover, they develop an understanding of how to follow directions in sequence, gain pleasure from creating simple foods, and develop good eating habits. Having a hot lunch program at school allows the children to taste different foods, which they might not otherwise taste.