The Preschool class accepts children from 3½ - 5 years of age. There are two full-time teachers with the preschoolers. Work study students and student assistants aid the teachers as their schedules permit. The teachers interact with the children throughtout the day on an individual basis as well as during small and large group activities. The children are encouraged to use thier words instead of their hands and accept responsibility for their actions. The teachers provide clear, concise rules and the children are aware of the consequences of their behavior. Positive reinforcement is used and children are praised when making good choices. There is a great deal of discussion throughtout the day about respecting each other's feelings. The preschoolers are given the independence to solve conflicts on their own in a safe environment where support and guidance is available when needed.
The Preschool Room is divided into many learning centers, such as: manipulatives, puzzles, music center, discovery table, dollhouse, blocks, dramatic play, books/cozy area, legos, art center, sand & water table, and table activities. Each child has a card that he/she decorates with his/her name on it. During free play time inside, each child receives his/her card. There are hooks on each center which correspond to the number of children allowed in that center at one time. The children take their cards with them and hang them on the hooks that are available. If no hook is available, they know that that center is full and to choose somewhere else to play. The children have a large variety of materials to choose from. In the music center, two children at a time can listen to iPod Shuffles that contain a variety of music appropriate for children. Each child has a pair of headphones in his/her cubby to use. While they are listening to music, they can play musical instruments. At the discovery table, children can use magnifying glasses to look at plants, a betafish, and explore a variety of nature & science materials that change often. In the dramatic play center, children can dress up in clothing representative of other cultures, pretend to cook in the kitchen, and utilize props for different themes that are changed often. The manipulatives and puzzle centers provide children many opportunities to manipluate fine motor materials. Many of these materials aid in math and language development. The block center features many different types of blocks for the children to build with and many accesories to use during block play. The art center holds many different materials and tools for the children to utilize for drawing, painting and sculpting.
The teachers in the preschool class prepare the children for kindergarten. Each week, the teachers discuss a different theme that is asscociated with an alphabet letter. (ex: A for apple) During the week, they complete different activites, read books and sings songs at group time, and play games associated with the theme and letter. The children have a sign in sheet (just like their parents) where they sign their name in the morning. They are encouraged to write their names on their artwork. Each day, the book bag and the show and tell bag are sent home with a different child. When a child recieves the book bag, he/she can bring a favorite book from home that the teachers can share with the class during story time. The show and tell bag can be filled with a favorite toy, photo or souvenier from a trip that the child would like to share with his/her friends. After the child tells the class about what he/she brought, the class has a question and comment session. The preschoolers also have a job chart and children have "jobs" to complete every other day. Jobs include: light person, line leader, feeding the fish, setting the table, etc. One of the jobs is "calendar person." The children have calendar time each day which focuses on the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and what the weather is like that day. Calendar activites help the children with patterning and number recognition. The preschoolers also have an estimation jar that is filled each week with a different item. The children guess how many of the item are in the jar and at the end of the week the children count the items to see who guessed the closest.