The Preschool 1 Class is designed for children who are 3 years old by September 1st. Soft colors, natural materials, and a rich variety of open-ended materials invite children to explore, investigate, and create. A well-equipped writing center, library area, and the documentation and display of children’s work through their words and photos facilitate beginning literacy skills. Educators plan many activities to facilitate developing cognitive and motor skills. A mini art studio in the classroom provides a wide variety of art materials for children to use in their work. A typical day includes a morning meeting where educators and children discuss and plan their day, an extended activity time in the classroom’s many centers, snacks, stories, music,
and an indoor or outdoor time for active play. Learning to work together, developing friendships, gaining in self-confidence, and discovering the joy of learning are goals for the Preschool One class.
Personal and Social Development
School begins at 9:00. Parents bring children directly to the classroom where they may help them hang up their coats, wash hands, and choose an activity among the open areas before saying good-by. This is also a time for families and educators to visit and informally share information.
Children work independently or with friends in centers prepared with a rich variety of materials based on the children’s interests and designed to provoke investigation and exploration. The educators circulate throughout the room supporting the children’s activities and documenting the children’s work through photos and written notes. Easel painting, water table play, block building, art materials, and the dramatic play center are available throughout the year. Other centers change as the focus of classroom work changes during the year.
Children and educators come together for music, sharing, and to discuss the activities planned for that day. Taking responsibility for counting how many friends came to school, sharing news and ideas, and learning to listen to others helps each child become an important part of the group.
Healthy snacks of fruit, cereals, milk, cheese and vegetables are brought by parents on a rotating basis. On Friday a special Shabbat snack of challah and grape juice is served. Candles (LED) and blessings for the challah and juice are said. As the children finish eating, they clean up their snack and gather on the rug for a quiet activity until everyone is finished.
Small Group Work
Following snack, we begin an extended period of time in which children work in groups either independently, or with an educator, as they explore an area or materials, participate in a planned activity, or work on an on-going project. Cooking activities, discovery walks outside, art and science investigations, and games designed to reinforce math and literacy skills often take place during small group work.
At some time in the morning the entire class goes outside to the playground or to the social hall where bikes, scooters, balls, and obstacle courses offer opportunities for loud, active, play, group games, and skill-building activities.
Ending the Day
Children and educators gather for music, stories, and a sharing of the morning’s activities. Taking time to reflect on that day’s work and looking forward to the activities of the next day gives recognition to individual and group accomplishments as well as helps the children see the continuity of one day to the next. On Friday all classes gather for a Shabbat celebration of lighting the candles, saying the blessings over the challah and juice, and singing songs together. Parents are always invited to join the children for Shabbat.
Educators help children with coats and backpacks and bring them to the entrance door for pick-up at 12:00.