When we read a book and ask the children questions about the story, they make
predictions about what will happen next. By actively participating in the story, children acquire skills that will promote future success in reading. To understand how print works, children need to be surrounded by it – in books and magazines, in signs around the classroom, on bulletin boards, in labels on their clothes and possessions. They begin to learn that written words correspond to spoken words and that words are composed of letters.
This area is filled with props and dress-up clothes to encourage their imagination. Here children experiment with different roles, exploring the familiar and the unknown through pretend play. One day it might be a restaurant with a play stove, dishes, sink; the next day it might be a post office or airplane. Children learn how to work with other children, taking turns and compromising (Who is the Daddy today? Who is the lion?).
This is the time when we all come together as a group in the beginning and the end of the day. In our first meeting of the day, we sing our good morning song, along with other songs, read a story, and find out what’s planned for the day. Meeting time is an important step in their schedule, because it gives the children a sense of security knowing what to expect next. It helps them transition more easily from one activity to the other. We end our mornings and afternoons with another meeting for a book reading and discussions about what we did that day.
When children build with blocks they also experiment with different roles, building bridges, skyscrapers, a farm for the animals and encouraging them to build replicas of their own world or their imagination. They are developing an understanding of the relationships between size and shape, and the basic math concepts of geometry and numbers. In addition they are learning how to share and take turns with one another.
In music children are encouraged to experience elements such as rhythm, melody and tempo. They develop attentive listening skills and are free to sing or respond independently through listening and moving. By following rhythm and keeping tempo, young learners are being exposed to math while having a great time.
Art is an important part of your child’s early childhood education. Children are active learners and making art is a hands-on activity that expands imagination and exercises creativity. It also develops small motor control and eye/hand coordination, and sharpens children’s powers of observation. Children learn the fundamentals of art –color, line, shape, form and texture by painting, drawing, making collages, and talking about their work. They learn about primary colors and discover how to mix colors to make a third. By creating and looking at art, children gain an understanding of composition, balance and symmetry.
This area encourages observation, exploration, questioning, and problem solving. Concepts about living things (plants, animals and people); growing bodies, cycles, patterns, the five senses and their uses; air, water and weather conditions are considered. Science is based on curiosity and reinforces children’s curiosity through discussion. Talking is key because it helps children internalize their observations. They begin to understand the scientific method, learning how to develop hypotheses, testing them, recording and comparing data. Through exploration and discussion, children learn that science is part of their lives.
The Nicholson School
1700 West Cortland Street, Chicago, IL 60622
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