Pre-Kindergarten (4 -5 Years)

Overview

The programming for GTA’s Pre-Kindergarten classroom is designed to prepare children to become successful Kindergarten students. While there is definitely an academic focus, there is still plenty of time dedicated to play, indoors and out, individually and with friends.

Curriculum

The curriculum in the Pre-K classroom is based on current early childhood education theory and methodology and is organized around the basic tenet that children learn first about themselves, their close environment and their families, and then build upon that learning to expand their horizons according to interests and experiential opportunities. The curriculum throughout the academy is focused on the developmental needs of the whole child. It emphasizes the integration of themes designed to include opportunities for children to develop in these areas through small and large group activities, self-selected and self-directed independent activities, teacher-initiated activities, time indoors and outdoors, quiet times and active times.

The variety of activities and materials used in the Pre-K classroom allows children to explore their environment through their senses. To encourage the development of the whole child, Pre-K teachers select developmentally or age appropriate activities from seven main areas of concentration:

  •  Language arts and early literacy skills
  • Fine motor and large motor skills
  • Sensory experiences
  • Science and pre-math
  • Self-care
  • Kindergarten readiness skills
  • Pre-reading skills focusing on the alphabet and phonics

These activities involve thinking, muscle coordination, imagination and problem solving skills which form the building blocks laid in preparation for formal education and higher reasoning used later in life.

The classroom is set-up in centers so the children can choose the activity that they are most interested in during free-play. There are puzzles to put together, blocks to build with and a light table to create on. We have a dramatic play area with lots of dress-up clothes and play objects to pretend with, a cozy quiet area with lots of books to read and a science center to explore. Children learn by playing and exploring their world so we give them lots of opportunities to do so.

Program Highlights

Music & Movement – Pre-K teachers utilize music to enhance their large motor and language arts curriculum. There are instruments to play, tumbling tools (foam blocks, scarves, etc), extra-large balls, rings, and hula hoops. We sing and listen to music at different points during the day; to clean up our toys, to learn new words and to settle in during rest-time.

Second Languages – Simple Spanish words, Sign Language (counting, colors, foods, objects, conversation and commands). Stories are read and the children sing and play games all in Spanish.

Science – We take walks down to our lower field to collect leaves and other natural objects to look at during science; we have geckos in class to take care of.

Dramatic Arts – We love acting out the great books we read and put on impromptu performances on our stage located in the lower field.

Gardening – the Pre-K class will plant, tend to, and harvest their vegetables/fruits during the spring and summer months. Gardens give kids the experience of being in nature and taking care of living things. It is an environment where children can interact with and get curious about the natural world. They will develop a sense of curiosity, patience, and observation. Teachers will also discuss math, science, and weather as it relates to planting and harvesting.

Academics – Learning the alphabet and phonics with puppets, stories and songs is not only enjoyable for the children but also very successful in teaching them the necessary tools for reading and comprehension. They will be exposed to the sight words recommended for Pre-K Some of our children who are ready will begin reading by the end of the school year. We will also introduce the concept of counting, sorting, graphing, measuring, and sometimes adding and subtracting during daily discussions.

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