So...you understand our various program offerings - but we'd like you to understand more fully how we approach students and learning at each level. Below we explain our pre-grammar school levels - Preschool, Jr Kindergarten and Kindergarten. We see these years as a wonderful time of play, exploration, exposure to great literature, and the buildling of a home school life at home. We fondly call it our "classical prep school," as the more formal studies in classical education begin in grade 1, or what we call, the Primary level.
Preschool (ages 3-4) and Junior Kindergarten (ages 4-5): The Playful Learner
In Little Wonders, the student introduction to classical education begins. Our program is filled with opportunities for purposeful, high-level, and mature play; well-distinguished children's literature; poetry recitations and math; as well as music and art. Parents and teachers agree to work towards:
Fostering a love for learning - While we unconsciously teach our children new things on a daily basis, we can strive to consciously work towards fostering a love of learning, in the hopes of guiding them to be life learners. To help foster the love of learning we will be: providing children with plenty of time for play (striving for purposeful, high-level, and mature play), reading books (lots and lots of books), exposing children to a variety of experiences (music, art, dance, etc.), creating an environment that fosters a love of learning, encouraging children to actively explore their world, answering their questions, and showing a value for education, learning, and knowledge.
Strong academic skills – During the Preschool and Junior Kindergarten years we will lay the foundation for success in language arts and math skills. We will work together using a unified math and literature program, as well as a unified recitation schedule. Math will be taught through hands-on tasks and meaningful activities that will prepare our young students for subsequent stages of mathematical thinking. The beginning stages of reading will be fostered through reading aloud and engaging the children in conversations about stories. Nursery Rhymes and Poetry recitations are done approximately every month, reciting whole group, with opportunities given to recite independently.
Strong Character - Taking care of children's physical needs is vital, and helping them develop strong character is just as important. During the Preschool year we will have the opportunity to build a foundation that will help guide and shape the character of our children as they grow, giving them an inner compass to help guide them through life. To achieve this we work towards expecting moral behavior, reading good literature both at home and in class, using teachable moments, recognizing strong character traits, incorporating the golden rule, assigning responsibilities, and most importantly modeling good character.
Kindergarten*: The Natural Learner
In Kindergarten, the student introduction to classical education continues. Our program is a literature-based program, which incorporates language, science and social studies within the context of our weekly units. Using Five in a Row, the students will develop a love for literature and have their eyes opened to people and places around the world and nature. Parents and teachers agree to work towards.
Strong academic skills – This year we will lay the foundation for success in language arts and math skills. We will work together using a unified math program and placing the students in ability groups. We will use manipulatives in math to develop a strong understanding of concepts before introducing paper/pencil activities. Parents will work at home teaching leveled reading, phonics and handwriting, while teacher at school introduces sight words, word families, journaling, writing and various other language skills.
Strong analytical skills - Using our literature-based program, students are given opportunities to analyze literature weekly. They will discover literary techniques and use them in class stories as well as writing activities at home. Students discuss character traits, determine right and wrong, and use ideas presented in these classic stories to make decisions about their own lives and behavior. Parents teach their own family values and teacher provides opportunities for class discussions about the characters in the stories and the results of their behavior.
Strong Character - Kindergarten is the opportunity to build a foundation of responsibility, respect, obedience, cooperation, public speaking, practicing kindness and learning to be a good friend. There are so many opportunities to develop strong character in kindergarten. For example: students develop responsibility by learning to bring their homework envelope back and forth from home to school each day, they clean up after themselves, keep the classroom tidy and they have weekly jobs for which they are responsible. They develop public speaking skills by bringing “sharing” each week, sharing projects with the class and reciting a Nursery Rhyme at our “Recitation Evening” at the end of the year.