Magical Thinkers - 3-4 Year Olds
Young children are playful and magical thinkers, unfettered by the laws of logic or cause and effect. They are imaginative explorers, adventuring out to experience the people and the world around them. The poetic thought process of the young child weaves together perceptions such that feeling, color, magnitude, and word become one. In play the imagination is at work as a child exercises the ability to realize ideas, creatively problem solve, and work cooperatively with others. We regard play as the true and most valuable work of a young child, and the day is simply structured to enable children to delve into imaginary worlds within a comforting and secure environment. Teachers introduce creative projects and instructive experiences through which young children build upon what they know and practice new skills.
The weekly schedule includes a field trip as well as classes in Spanish and Music. In the Small School, work with letters and numbers is rooted in practical experience, such as identifying a classmate’s name while taking attendance at Morning Circle, writing a ’SAVE’ sign for a block construction, or counting the number of cups needed to set the table for the weekly Tea Party. Small School classes gather together for special projects and activities, and join older students for All School Meeting, Reading Buddies, and general play outside.
School Day: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 2:30 p.m.
Speaking and listening; participating in Circle, taking attendance, ‘Sharing,’ discussing; listening to stories read or told; learning about books; drawing and telling a story-journals; experimenting with writing; playing; negotiating and working to resolve conflicts, learning language of negotiation and conflict resolution; communicating honestly and respectfully; beginning Spanish
Young children experience an explosion in language development. Small Schoolers are immersed in the engaging and rich language of stories, poems, rhymes and songs. In class and individual discussions, children begin to ’write’ in their journals in the form of drawing, with teachers transcribing their stories. These drawings and ‘tellings’ lay a foundation for the ongoing development of writing and reading. As a child demonstrates an awareness and readiness to work with letters, s/he is given encouragement and support in playful explorations. Teachers actively utilize the social dynamic of the classroom to develop a child’s ability to express his/her thoughts, feelings and needs effectively. The characteristically egocentric preschooler is guided in the use of honest and respectful dialogue and the practice of peer negotiation. Small Schoolers are introduced to Spanish through game, song and story.
Exploring mathematics and developing number sense in daily life through play, practical activities and projects; counting, identifying, matching, sorting, classifying, patterning, measuring, estimating, predicting, comparing, recognizing color and shape; working with whole numbers 1-10; investigating size/shape/length/weight/volume; baking and cooking
Young children build ‘number sense’ and uncover fundamental mathematical concepts through every day experiences. As such, number work in the Small School is grounded in the practical and concrete. As they build with blocks, play 'House,’ bake bread or compare collections, children are actively working to construct such concepts as ‘more and less’, ‘bigger or smaller,’ ‘higher and lower,’ or ‘heavier and lighter.’ They create patterns while printing and beading. They measure ingredients for a recipe and experiment with various vessels at the water table. They count friends at Attendance and glass gems for Math Jobs. Noticing, identifying, sorting, classifying, matching, patterning, measuring, comparing -- these essential skills provide building blocks for subsequent reading, writing, math, and science work.
Social Studies and Science
Learning about the people and the world around us -- family and community; exploring the cycle of the seasons through story, project and celebration– end of summer– butterfly metamorphosis and flowers; fall harvest, winter hibernation; spring gardening; learning about plants and animals • composting and recycling
Small Schoolers explore and celebrate the natural world, its plant life and many creatures and the rhythm of its changing seasons. They follow the story of Mother Earth through her fall harvest, winter hibernation, spring growth and summer abundance. Each season is celebrated through related projects, crafts, stories, poems, songs, rhymes, and related holidays. In the School Garden, Small Schoolers plant and tend to early crops. Classes take weekly field trips to explore the island. These include nature hikes and beach walks as well as visits to island farms, ’experts,’ and playgrounds. Children learn about their community and the people that serve it.
Art, Handcrafts and Music
Drawing; painting, printing, constructing; working with clay; stitching, beading, felting, creating collage; singing with finger-plays and movement activities; exploring rhythm, volume and tone; making and playing simple instruments
Art is a primary means of expression for the young child. Creating art and crafting with the hands develops fine motor skills, exercises the imagination, and fosters creative thinking skills. Thus, art is integrated throughout the Lighthouse curriculum. Children engage in study related projects which often involve multi-step processes and a variety of mediums and techniques. Small Schoolers take part in weekly Music classes and engage in songs in Circle and All School Meeting.
Nature hikes; playing indoors and out; exercising gross motor skills through running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing; developing fine motor skills through craft work, painting and drawing activities