Our day is divided into two segments:
Free Play and Group Time.
Free Play time is 9:00 ~ 10:15 am every day.
The children explore and participate in as many or as few activities in which they show interest. On Tuesdays and Thursdays all of these interest areas are open and the free choices are as follows:
ART ROOM DRAMATIC PLAY AREA
easel painting block play
cutting and pasting housekeeping area
sand/water/playdoh table trucks and cars
crayons and water colors office corner
daily project, fine motor activities play house
SPECIAL PROJECTS ROOM LARGE MUSCLE ROOM
perceptual motor table toys/games body movement games
special displays on a Discovery Shelf nature walks
cooking projects well-equipped new playground
science projects large colored parachute
in school field trips balance and climbing apparatus
book corner ball & bean bag activities
music and related
Each activity listed above is planned and organized to enhance various phases of a preschooler's learning. As an example, block play encourages both fine and gross motor skills but also provide cognitive benefits. This play strengthens the understanding of space, ability to problem solve and even engage in social and language skills as they "play". It is part of the foundation to math and for understanding cause and effect.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Dramatic Play area and the Art Room are open and all centers are available to the children during this time. Because only the Four Year Old Pre~Kindergarten Classes are here, we also have more upper level pre~reading and pre~math activities open and available.
During this time, emphasis is placed upon learning to make choices and decisions. There will not be another time in their academic careers when attention is paid to this lesson. Each of the activities listed above concentrates on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognition, social skills, positive reinforcement, and independence, only to name a few. Another important area of concentration here is time management. The children soon learn how to participate in as many activities as they find interesting during this part of the day and before clean-up time. Time management practiced here is a life's lesson learned at this very formative time. Our play at Berkeley Hills Preschool is hard work, but so much fun.
The second half of our morning begins after Clean-up of our Free Play Time and activities. It begins with our Calendar Time. The Three Year Old Class works on learning to form a line and to move in a line, number matching, learning the seasons and the months of the year, how to keep hands to self, show and tell and story time with poems and snack time. In the Three Year Old Class also works on identification of shapes, colors, numbers, beginnings of alphabet recognition and language development. Working on the ability to follow directions, as well as on small motor skills such as cutting, painting and coloring while developing social skills and learning to communicate and express themselves to peers and adults.
Our Four Year Old Pre~Kindergarten curriculum is designed to build upon all the fundamentals that were taught in the Three Year Old Program.
The Four Year Old Pre-Kindergarten Class enjoys a more academic Calendar Time where they learn the days of the week, the months of the year,enjoy graphing and geometric concepts while learning comparisons , then seasonally appropriate songs and poems for auditory memory and discrimination. Next hand washing (with our favorite song to keep those germs away) and snack time encourages our budding independence skills. Our snack time allows a special child of the day to bring in a healthy snack to share with the class while other classmates learn to set the table for snack and pour their own juice.
The Four Year Old Pre-Kindergarten class works on pre-reading, pre-math, studies children's literature and language skills. The interactive way to enhance our alphabet learning is to search for each letter in a food label, brought from home. These labels are attached to a poster and hung for all to enjoy and learn. One of the objectives with this on~going activity is visual memory and discrimination. An important part of their development is learning to be confident and responsible in an organized fun learning environment. Educational games geared to pre~reading and pre~math are played at this time of the day. Small motor skills are enhanced with work on puzzles, mazes and small manipulatives as a part of our activities here. Learning to express themselves and develop better communication skills with peers and staff with ease is an essential step in his/her development and therefore addressed. Children cntinue academic awareness focusing on phonemic sounds and alphabet recognition. Number recognition associated with number concepts and patterns is continued. Children explore advanced areas of developmental small motor skills while learning to hold utensils correctly, forming numbers and letters properly, cutting and putting together art projects with self expression and self~direction. They are involved in dramatic play activities and music and movement exercises. This program enhances preparation for a seamless and successful transition to Kindergarten.