The focus at this age is development of social skills: getting along with others, learning to share and take turns, following simple directions and sitting in a group for short periods of time to listen to a story, share or play a game.
Basic skills such as color and shape recognition, rote counting and learning one another’s names are taught and reinforced through both structured and unstructured activities. Most mornings begin with an activity time during which children are encouraged to explore sensory stimulation, art, blocks, dramatic play and manipulative play areas. These activities often reflect the weekly or monthly theme. For example, fall activities might include leaf or nut sorting, painting with autumn colors or playing in a sensory tub of dried corn. Stories, songs and field trips support the themes as well.
The teacher in the room is free to move around and interact with children during this activity time observing and assessing. Through asking questions, encouraging negotiation and taking advantage of those “teachable” moments the teacher sees skill areas where a child excels or might need some extra practice. These observations are used in planning more specific activities and themes, building on a child’s interests.
Morning classes also provide time for snacks, large-scale motor activity (outside or in our fellowship hall) and more focused activity times in a large or small group setting. Children might practice writing, cutting, sorting or matching skills that serve as a foundation for later academics.
The class size in this room is limited to 16. We try to maintain a 1:8 ratio and an assistant is available to help maintain a legal ratio of 1:10. To enter this class, children must be 2 ½ years old and toilet trained.