"Play is the highest form of research" Albert Einstein
(6 weeks - 18 months)
In our Infant Class, we work on building the foundation of all skills and development: social-emotional, small-motor, gross-motor, speech/language, and cognitive. To practice developmentally-appropriate skills, with the most variety of any age group in the center, this requires mostly one-on-one work. We love to see the basis of personality development at this age! The children are so unique and fun. We greatly enjoy witnessing the significant number of changes that the kids very quickly experience while in this class.
(18 months - 3 years)
In our Toddler Class, we are working on advancing the skills and development that were started as Infants, especially the social-emotional aspect. We begin to direct the focus towards group activities, more often than individual activities. Much of the day is still spent on free-play, however. We do introduce the concepts of letter/number/color recognition through circle time. The childrens' personalities really begin to emerge and develop more at this age. We have a fantastic amount of fun in this class.
Preschool 1 and 2 Classes
(3 years - beginning of Pre-K)
In our Preschool 1 class, we have our three year olds generally until the beginning of the next school year. The pattern of switching classrooms generally changes at this point (subject to our enrollment) to get the children adjusted to how it will be when they are in elementary school. We are still working on all skills, but beginning to focus more on the educational aspect of those skills. While the Toddlers introduced letter/color/number recognition., we put forth a more concerted effort to ensure these concepts are understood. Tracing, cutting, and patterns are thoroughly introduced in this class. Table toys/group activities/centers become a more integral part of the daily schedule at this age. At all ages, routine and allowing the childrens' interests to direct the lessons are crucial to the classrooms running smoothly; but we are beginning to incredibly gradually adjust the children to how their experience will be once they are attending an elementary school.
In our Preschool 2 class, our children have their fourth birthdays. We work on all of Preschool 1's skills, but on a deeper level. We are very focused in this class on learning how to follow step-by-step directions (through a large variety of projects and activities) and fine-tune our fine-motor skills (through tracing, cutting, lacing, pinching, etc.). We love science activities and put a lot of focus on group activities. We are working hard on expanding our attention spans in this class. All of these are helpful skills to develop before we move up to Pre-K the following year.
(Older 4 year-olds - beginning of Kindergarten)
In our Pre-K class, we work incredibly hard to become prepared for Kindergarten. We really begin to write our own, and others' names (hopefully legibly) without tracing. We begin to work on the concepts of word recognition and spelling. Some of our Pre-K kids can do simple math by the time they begin Kindergarten. We understand that all children develop at their own pace, and what is "expected" or "average" is not necessarily realistic for everyone. We do our best to help our children that are developing more slowly to continue to improve their skills, and to help our children that are developing more quickly to remain challenged. No matter what end of any "spectrum" a child is on, we want to avoid boredom and maintain motivation. Our Pre-K kids are usually very excited to be here, enjoy the material they are learning, and love the experiences with our teachers and their friends.
(5 years - 11 years)
In our School-Age class, we have a Before/After-School program, as well as an all-day Summer program for children that are attending/have attended Kindergarten until their 12th birthday! We have many fun activities for our School-Age children throughout the year, but the summer provides the most opportunity for adventure!
During the school year, for the children that are supposed to work on their homework here, we are happy to provide assistance, but please check it over at home. Our breakfast time occurs early enough in the morning for those students that are here and wish to eat to do so. Our snack time in the afternoon is available for the School-Agers, after they return on the school bus. We do offer projects and activities for our School-Agers year-round, but we do not require participation during the school year. We want to allow our children to have some freedom to unwind after the strict routine of the school day.
In the summer, we do our best to keep the children busy and entertained! We love to go to the pool, bowling, to the park, and to the movies! On the days without field trips, we often have educational visitors from various parks and nature centers. When we go nowhere, and no one comes here to visit, we provide a great deal of time outside - frequently playing in water.