For most toddlers, preschool is their first experience being away from their parents for a long period of time. We need to keep in mind that children who come to school from this age are still learning to talk.
At the beginning, many children experience separation anxiety so it is our job to make sure they feel comfortable and safe in their new surroundings. As students settle in they learn to greet teachers and one another. We encourage this positive social behavior and open communication. Preschoolers also start to gather together during circle times to build vocabulary, learn songs and play with numbers.
Once children are familiar with their new friends and teachers, they will learn how to use the toilet properly. As students develop new listening skills they will be able to move around the classroom in an independent way when it is appropriate. Children start to understand the difference between "time to listen" and "time to play". During this stage of their development they will be more adept at paying attention, speaking and listening. Lessons at this stage will incorporate phonics and numeral play too. Also throughout this stage we emphasize table manners including how to use utensils properly and how to clean up.
By the end of the year, preschoolers will be able to follow the daily routine and listen to the teachers' instructions. They will also be able to go to the toilet by themselves. As preschoolers become independent they become more creative too. We give them many chances to express themselves through language, math play and all kinds of craft endeavors. By this stage, preschoolers can communicate well, they can express their opinions and carry out all manner of conversations. The children are now ready for K3.
At the start of the school year in K3, students will adjust to a new classroom, become familiar with new teachers and a new routine. Children who are coming to school for the very first time may cry as they separate from mums and dads. During the first few months we place an emphasis on independence. We want students to feel comfortable coming to school and at the same time we challenge them to become a part of a cohesive class atmosphere. Once there is a semblance of cohesion we are able to start stretching the children's attention spans and garner their interests.
As children become more comfortable in K3 they start to make new friends, socialize more and learn to share. Children start to experiment on their own and in groups. At the same time in class we focus on challenging the children’s intellects. We encourage imaginative language expression using a phonics based approach; running an IEYC based integrated method. During this time in the classroom, children will further develop their fine motor skills with an ongoing variety of theme related art and craft activities. As time goes by, we start to see where each child’s natural abilities lie.
By the end of the school year, most K3 students will be highly sociable, be able to express themselves well, know how to manage their own things and feel very comfortable at school. Children will have a lengthened attention span, be confident, be aware of the flow of each day, feel comfortable eating a variety of food, use scissors well, use colors, be able to cut, paste and write their own names. By the end of K3, children will also be able to count up to or beyond 20 and match numerals to their corresponding amounts. For non-native English speaking children, during this stage of the year we hear more complete sentences in English as they become more confident expressing themselves.
At the beginning of K4, children will adjust to new teachers, a new classroom and a new routine. The self confidence that the children bring with them from K3 will be used as a foundation on which to further build.
Students will come ready to take an active interest in learning and be ready to explore new things. We will be helping children stay motivated especially when dealing with challenging assignments. We will also show them that they can indeed improve on things that they may not yet be good at.
Letter sounds and sight words will be reviewed at the beginning of the year to make sure that all children have a working knowledge of the alphabet and phonics.
By this time of the year children will interact comfortably with their friends during both work and play. They are becoming independent learners, and we see them complete tasks with intent and focus.
Students will be able to complete more complex tasks and they will be expected to exercise more self-discipline. They will be able to do things like pay undivided attention, resist distractions and complete work on time. The children’s enthusiasm will be harnessed for active participation in the classroom and for accomplishing assignments relative to each child’s own aptitude for that discipline. For literacy readiness, we emphasize things like phonetic awareness, sentence word counts, rhymes, syllables, and help them identify beginning consonants in words.
By the end of K4 students will have lots of practical experience in dealing with simple mathematical equations. Children will have a solid phonetic foundation upon which to further build their basic reading skills. As they further master skills they enjoy having their voices heard. They will be able to tell stories before the class in their own words. Students will be able to deal with their own issues too and find solutions if they have conflicts with others. Teachers will mediate but by this stage may not need to directly intervene. Children will be adaptable and flexible. They will be ready for the next step in their schooling.
At the beginning of K5 children will learn to follow a new set of class rules and implement the lessons in self-discipline they have been learning up until this stage.
Students will have fun with a new kind of learning when they are given more responsibility for setting their own goals and learning outcomes. To further expand the children’s literacy readiness, they will be introduced to consonants and vowels. They'll also be introduced to writing comprehension and will extend their math knowledge too.
As students further develop in K5 they display more and more independence. Through a mixture of individual and group-oriented activities, children take on a new found responsibility and enthusiasm for learning. As their literacy skills progress, students start to read short sentences and enjoy reading materials such as simple poems and rhymes, classroom news and even simple books. By now, the class is a cohesive unit as children get to further know and respect each other. They are now sensitive to each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of the year, K5 students will have a solid academic foundation upon which to build. They will be able to solve simple math problems, express themselves through simple creative writing activities and, with guidance, they will also be able to self-correct much of their own work.
Children that have shown an aptitude for art and creativity will be encouraged and given room to grow. By this time of the year, class activities move with efficiency and an urgency that the children can now relish. They will now be ready for the challenges of elementary school.