The following list of activities will be a part of our daily classroom routine and available to all children:
Creative art areas will consist of different types of art mediums. All children will have the opportunity to explore, create and use their imaginations as they use these various art and sensory materials. This area will also allow children to develop their small muscle skills while working on hand-eye coordination. They will also have the opportunity to work on their visual-motor perception and begin to discover basic concepts such as shape, size, and color as well as light and dark contrast and straight and curvy lines and texture.
Science/Exploration/Math areas will consist of many different materials, both real objects and models. The children will have the opportunity to become involved in hands-on activities and science experiments. For the older children it will allow for situations where they will be able to develop and use their problem solving skills. Younger children will be introduced to some of the more basic concepts of science such as colors, smells, touch and sounds. Some activities included will be planting and growing things in our gardens, making volcanoes, learning about composting, talking and learning about the different aspects of each of the seasons, etc. Learning areas will also include opportunities for children to measure, create patterns and sequences, count, and build. STEM curriculum will be included in these activities.
Manipulative areas will consist of toys and materials that allow children to touch, pull apart, connect, match, stack, and problem solve. This area will give children the chance to see colors, sizes, and shapes and how things work together. It will also allow children to make a variety of creations using their imaginations and teamwork skills.
Sensory areas will provide all children with the chance to feel, smell, touch, hear, and even taste the many things around them. There will be many hands-on activities that will allow for fine muscle development as well as provide some creative experiences with various materials.
Block areas give children the chance to learn about balance, weight, height, and counting. This area will allow them to use their imaginations as they create different “buildings” or areas with the blocks. They will also work on developing their language skills and large and small muscle skills. STEM materials will be available in this area, as well.
Dramatic Play areas will be found in all classrooms. The younger classrooms will consist of more basic daily living items such as dolls, stuffed animals, and kitchen sets and dishes. In addition to the items in the younger classrooms, the older children will also have things that will provide them with the opportunity for pretend play. Some of those items will be dress-up clothes, costumes, and real life items such as phones, cash registers, groceries, and workbenches and tools.
Large Muscle areas will provide children with the opportunity to work on coordination, creative movement, and self-esteem. They will learn about the different ways their bodies can move and they will have the opportunity to interact with other children as they develop new skills and learn how things work. We will also make use of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) curriculum and materials through the Washington County Health Department. We will also make use the school gym and we will maintain all safety rules while in this area. Emergency backpacks will be with teachers at all times and at least one teacher will have a cell phone with them. Preschool children cannot be in the gym when the school children or extended children are using the gym. Toddlers cannot use the gym when the preschool children are in the gym. Teachers will need to move around at all times to keep all areas of the gym in sight and maintain the safety and well-being of the children while using the gym.
Literature/Language Arts areas will be in all classrooms as well. All classrooms will have many books accessible to them at any time. Reading stories will be a daily occurrence in all rooms. The children will be able to listen to tape stories, have stories read to them individually or as a group, or they can have quiet time to themselves as they read and look at the various books in the classrooms. The children will also be exposed to the written language and will be introduced to letters and sounds. The older children will have the opportunity to practice writing letters and numbers in a variety of different scenarios.
Music will consist of many different types of sounds including classical, ethnic, dance, quiet, and fun, interactive music. All children will be able to experience the many different sounds, tones, and tempos that music provides. Music instruments will be available to all children throughout the day.
The environment provided by the Saint Ambrose Early Childhood Education Center and the activities listed above will allow children to grow and develop in all areas of learning. We will promote each of these areas in the following way:
Spiritual: By providing an environment that encourages children to be helpful, cooperative, respectful, and kind to one another, we will teach them the Christian Values of how to treat each other. We will also provide opportunities for children to participate in prayers, songs, daily devotional readings and stories and the celebration of holidays. The children will learn and understand that they are each special and that God loves them. The three, four, and five year old preschool classrooms (both full day and half day programs) will also participate in Chapel Time down in the St. Francis Chapel in the Church. While going to and from the Chapel, children will remain within sight and sound of the teachers at all times. Children will not be allowed to go near the prayer candles in the Chapel area. We will also use the Church for our Christmas programs. Children will remain within sight and sound of the teachers at all times while in the Church.
Intellectual: The ECEC will provide a variety of activities that allows children to learn about the world around them. They will use their senses, language and problem-solving skills, and make observations of things going on around them. They will have the opportunity to explore, sort, measure, build, create, and learn to follow simple directions. The activities provided will be age appropriate for each classroom. Many of our day-to-day activities have always and will continue to include areas of learning in Science (see above), Technology (early learning pads, play phones, Leap Frog™, ABC Mouse, etc.), Engineering (block areas, dramatic play, outdoor play, etc.), Art (see above) and Math (see above) (STEAM).
Emotional: We will provide an environment where children will be able to learn the words or actions needed to communicate their needs or wishes. Allowing them to express themselves in healthy ways and teaching them the concept of same and different will provide them with an understanding and awareness of the needs of those around them. We will encourage self-help skills and positively reinforce new accomplishments.
Social: We will teach children the importance of working cooperatively with one another and the basic concept of respect for others. We will provide an environment that helps them learn the difference between right and wrong as well as knowledge of self and the world around them.
Physical: Through the use of outdoor play areas and the large muscle room, all children will have the chance to explore and experience the different ways they can move their bodies and develop their large muscle skills. They will also learn to control their bodies as they work in an activity area consisting of blocks, puzzles, manipulative toys, or other fine muscle areas such as art or sensory activities.
As a center we will provide an environment that encourages learning in all children at all levels of development. We will provide a varied learning environment that will consist of:
Child-Initiated Activities: All children will have the opportunity to do things throughout the day that they choose and lead. This may include art activities, block or dramatic play, or reading books. Child-initiated activities will encourage building language skills as children learn to verbalize their wants and needs, and it will also enable them to see what they can do for themselves and with other children.
Teacher-Directed Activities: These types of activities would include transition times as the children move from one activity to another, cooperation skills, as they work together to accomplish a group task or project, and give the children the opportunity to work on their listening and direction following skills. They will also be able to work on problem-solving skills as they participate in small or large group circle times. These activities will also enable children to enhance their language skills as they learn new songs, finger plays, stories, or games. Theme related lessons will also occur during this time, as the teachers focus on a particular area of learning for the children to experience and partake in during the day. Some activities will be focused on a particular activity or event, while others may be carried out over a period of time while introducing new concepts and lessons.
Quiet Activities: Throughout the day, all children will have the chance to be by themselves, if they so choose. They can play quietly with manipulative toys, read books (or have books read to them), participate in one-on-one activities with another child or a teacher, and they will all have a rest or nap time during the day (in the full day, year round program).
Busy-time Activities: We will make use of the large muscle room with all the children. In this area they will be able to run, jump, dance, kick and throw balls, climb and ride on scooters or other riding toys. As a center we will also participate in outside activities at least once a day (weather permitting). The children will be able to climb, ride bikes and trikes on a paved path, play in the sand, and on play structures.
Small Group Activities: These activities will involve one child or a small group of children. Circle times may be divided up into smaller groups as the children talk about different things. Children may also choose to play with one or two other children in one of the activity areas in the room as well.
Large Group Activities: There will many times during the day when the whole group is participating in the same activity. This may include lunch and snack times, participating in an in-house field trip as a whole center, or playing outside or in the large muscle room. Large group times will also include calendar and weather time, as well as opening group and prayer time. At the beginning of each week, this will also be a time when the teachers introduce to the children the different classroom activities, themes, sensory table and easel experiences and any new toys in the room. When we participate in our in-house fieldtrips, we may use other areas of the building, including Saint Anne 1 or the Fellowship Hall. While going to and from these areas, the children will remain in sight and sound of the teachers at all times. We will maintain the same level of safety in the other areas of the building, as we do in our classrooms.