CURRICULUM & EDUCATIONAL FOCUS

PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

Some Core Values for Early Childhood Education
We value:

  • Recognition of each individual as a unique human being.
  • Realization of the full potential of children and adults.
  • Environments that foster well-being and a positive self-esteem in children, staff and families.
  • Autonomy and self-reliance in children, staff and families.
  • Appreciation of the special vulnerability of children and their need for safe and healthy environments.
  • Recognition that each child is an individual with unique needs and abilities.
  • Respect for confidentiality and the right of each child and family to privacy.
  • Development of children: socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.
  • Use of developmentally appropriate instructional techniques for children.
  • Appreciation of childhood as a unique and valuable stage in the life cycle.
  • Professional practice based on the best current knowledge of child growth and development.
  • Recognition and support of the interconnectedness of the child and family.
  • Support of families in the task of nurturing children.
  • Effective protection and advocacy for the rights of all children.
  • Support for the right of all children, regardless of income or other circumstances, to have access to quality early childhood programs.
  • Unity among people who work in childcare settings and cooperation with other professional groups concerned with the welfare of young children.
  • Continuing growth as professionals in early childhood education.

-Childhood Enrichment Associates

EDUCATIONAL FOCUS

The curriculum at The School of Grace is not just the goals of the program and the planned activities but also the daily schedule, the availability and use of materials, transitions between activities and the way in which routine tasks of living are implemented. Criteria for curriculum implementation reflect the knowledge which young children learn through active manipulation of the environment and concrete experiences that contribute to concept development. Realizing the importance of a child’s positive self-esteem early in life, the preschool will provide activities in which each child will feel some degree of success. The preschool will strive to enhance each child’s social skills and emotional health by providing appropriate activities.

Our classroom consists of organized centers such as:

Note that the center’s guides and goals of our curriculum spectrum are based upon the age of the children and the varied developmental levels.

Block Building

  • Large wooden blocks, in various shapes and sizes, with accessories for creative play
  • Development of physical coordination and spatial relationships.
  • Constructions to recreate home and community life.
  • Co-operative activity to develop social skills.
  • Experiences to stimulate imagination and creativity.
  • Discovery of relationships of size and shape.

Dramatic Play – Housekeeping

  • Child sized stoves, tables, refrigerator, sinks, chairs and dolls. Child sized pots, pans and dinnerware are included. The center also includes dramatic play materials such as dress up clothes and accessories
  • Encourages understanding of self and relationships with others.
  • Creates an atmosphere for democratic social living.
  • Avenue of exploring a child’s problems and concerns.
  • Stimulation of verbal expression and imagination.

Art

  • Paints, paper of various shapes and sizes, paint brushes, markers, crayons, glue, scissors, tape, collage materials and playdough.
  • Non-verbal means of expressing ideas, feelings and interests.
  • Developing sensitivity and reliance on personal taste and judgement.
  • An opportunity to refine fine motor skills and kinesthetic satisfaction, along with exploration of various media.

Listening

  • Audio materials in which the child can come and listen individually or by small group.
  • Promotes individual and small group listening.
  • Enhances listening skills.

Manipulative Materials

  • Materials for the development of small muscles and eye-hand coordination like puzzles and pegboards.
  • Perception and judgement.
  • Creativity and invention through experimentation and free play.
  • Progression to self-directed materials.

Library

  • Children’s books will be at the child’s level and at his /her own discretion as to which ones to view. This center also includes flannel boards and puppets with which to act out and create stories.
  • Appreciation of literature.
  • Stimulates language development.
  • Broadens language experiences.
  • Quiet space.

Sand and Water Table

  • The sand and water table is used for exploration and discovery. Sand and water toys are available for the child’s use. (shovels, funnels, cups, etc)
  • Spatial relations, eye hand coordination, strengthening fine motor skills
  • Exploration and discovery

Science and Mathematics

  • The science and math center will be set up by the teacher for small experiments and discoveries. Depending on the curriculum for that day – this center will vary accordingly. (For example: If the class is studying bugs and insects, this center may contain bugs, ants, worms, dirt, a magnifying glass, etc.)
  • Language of numbers through sight and touch.
  • Concept development through participation.
  • Understanding through comparisons, sorting and grouping.
  • Learning through experimentation and discovery.

Our curriculum includes opportunities for fine and gross motor skills development, social and emotional growth, speech and language development, cognitive skills appreciation and respect for nature, worship and reverence. Our ‘special goals’ are independence and self-esteem which we strive for, facilitate and encourage throughout our entire curriculum.

Outdoor play is another area on our curriculum spectrum. We believe outdoor play is a vital and necessary part of each child’s day. Children learn about their world through play. They remember best what they have experienced with all of their senses. While playing, they solve problems, gain confidence in themselves, discover cause and effect, develop language and relate to others. They experience creativity, disappointment, sadness, pride and joy. They move, think, sense and grow. Play is the natural occupation of young children.

Music is also on our spectrum. We feel music can serve as worship, reverence and respect for God. Music can provide language and listening skills, while also providing great fun and excitement through the wonderful variety of music exposed to our children.

Sample Schedules

Teachers adapt the Sample Schedules throughout the year to help children succeed to their greatest potential, enabling them to experience success.

Schedule Notes:

Arrival/Greeting-Children, in all classes, are greeted by their teachers and move freely throughout the Centers, selecting areas to play based on interest.  This helps children learn to make and vary choices.

Bathroom and Diaper Changes-Teachers accompany children to the bathroom/change diapers.  Helping Parents may only assist their own children.

Circle-The Turtle Class does not have Circle Time.  Instead, they incorporate what would happen in Circle into Centers and Snack (reading books as they eat).  Circle Time in the other classes is developmentally based and designed for each specific class’s abilities and interests.

Outdoor Exploration and Play-When weather permits, all classes will spend at least 30 minutes outside each day.  Classes often spend more than 30 minutes outdoors.  This time may include outdoor exploration (nature walks, learning stations) and free play on the playground.  When weather (extreme cold, storms) does not allow for outdoor play, classes enjoy special activities indoors (gross motor games or experiences (obstacle course…).

Special Activities– The Tadpole, Frog and Monkey Classes have a special Music Class and Chapel once per week.  The Turtle Class incorporates Music into their classroom activities.

Supervision-All children are supervised at all times by a teacher.

Infant/Toddler Class Schedule (Turtle Class)

  • 9:00-9:40-Arrival/Art/Centers-Children explore all areas of the room.
  • 9:40-9:50-Wash Hands
  • 9:50-10:30-Snack
  • 10:30-10:45-Art/Centers
  • 10:45-11:30-Outdoor Exploration and Play
  • 11:30-12:00-Change Diapers / Sensory Table
  • 12:00-12:30-Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00-Gross Motor Play/Music


2/3 Year Old Class Schedule (Tadpole Class)

  • 9-9:45-Arrival/Centers
  • 9:45-9:55-Clean/Wash Hands
  • 9:55-10:15-Snack and Story
  • 10:15-10:30-Rotate to Bathroom and Fine Motor Activity
  • 10:30-11:00-Chapel/Music/Special Activity
  • 11:00-12:00-Outdoor Exploration and Play
  • 12:00-12:30-Wash Hands/Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00-Special Activity (Sensory Exploration…)


3/4 Year Old Class Schedule (Frog Class)

  • 9-9:45 Arrival/Centers
  • 9:45-10:00-Clean Up
  • 10:00-10:20-Group/Circle Activities (Greeting Songs, Class Family Connections, Check the weather and mail…)
  • 10:20-10:30-Bathroom
  • 10:30-11:00-Snack
  • 11:00-11:30 Outdoor Exploration and Play
  • 11:30-12:00-Wonder Box/Music/Chapel
  • 12:00-12:10-Bathroom
  • 12:10-12:40-Lunch
  • 12:40-1:00-Outdoor Centers


4/5 Year Old Class (Monkey Class)

  • 9:00-9:35-Greeting/Centers
  • 9:40-10:00-Circle Time
  • Bathroom/Wash Hands
  • 10:00-10:30-Snack/Books
  • 10:30-11:15-Art/Specials (Music or Chapel)/Floor Puzzles/Math Games
  • Clean Up
  • 11:15-11:45-Outdoor Exploration and Play
  • 11:45-12:20-Second Circle/Quiet Time
  • Bathroom/Wash Hands
  • 12:20-12:45-Lunch
  • 12:45-1:00-Outdoor Play

PARENT CONFERENCES

Parent/Teacher conferences are scheduled in the fall and the spring. The fall conference is an information gathering time for the teacher. In addition, teachers are available by calling the school and arranging a time to meet. Please let us know if the school hours are impossible to meet and we will do the best we can to serve you. Refer to the school calendar for the dates of these conferences. You will need to make child care arrangements, as these are parent only meetings.

We feel our parent conferences are a time to reflect on your child and offer praise and encouragement to your needs. We will outline your child’s progress in the four developmental areas: Social, Cognitive, Physical and Emotional.

Prior to the conference, teachers will distribute a form for you to complete. The conference form will allow you to consider both the strengths and needs of your child. You may also choose to ask your child if there is anything he/she would like you to tell or ask the teacher.

Birthday Policy

The School of Grace recognizes that a child’s birthday is a joyful occasion worthy of acknowledgement and celebration. In order to provide consistency for all children at school and to respect each family’s unique traditions, The School of Grace offers the following guidelines:

The parents and teacher may choose a day to celebrate each child’s birthday during the school year. This should occur as close to the actual birthday as possible. For children who have summer birthdays, a half birthday celebration may be discussed with the classroom teacher.

On this day, the teacher will recognize the child with special responsibilities, such as:

•    Lead the line as the class goes outside, to chapel, etc.
•    Pick a group game for the class to play.
•    Choose a favorite song for the class to sing.

Teachers may also plan a special activity for the child, such as:

•    A special hat decorated by the birthday child.
•    A pretend candle used when singing a birthday song.
•    Receiving a card decorated by the classmates.

Note: To provide continuity, teachers will offer similar activities for each child, throughout the year.
Parents may bring a special snack, as approved by the teacher, such as:

•    Cake or cupcakes
•    Other favorite food, like pizza, macaroni and cheese or bananas Note: If snack includes a sweet treat, a healthy alternative must be provided for our growing children.

With respect to all of our diverse families, any additional activities or treats should be on a small scale:

Goodie bags should be placed in cubbies, with inexpensive items inside.

Food items other than the primary treat of cake/cupcakes should reflect healthy eating habits.

Please do not bring in presents for the birthday child.

All of the above school related birthday celebrations should take place during school hours and will not involve field trips.

Invitations to family birthday parties should be mailed. Please do not deliver them in class or via the cubbies.

With respect to children who may not be invited, please encourage your child to discuss party plans away from school.

Remember that all birthday celebrations should be pre-approved by your child’s teacher and reflect the school’s mission statement ‘to empower children and families to reach their greatest potential and to enjoy the richness of the preschool years.’

Home Visitation Policy Adopted by the Board of Directors August 1999

Home Visits allow the teacher to:

  • Meet both the child and his/her parent(s) before the school year begins.
  • Interact with the family in an environment that feels secure to the child.
  • Attain a better understanding of the child’s home life, which affects the whole child.
  • Provide a connection between home and school before classes begin.
  • Open the door for effective home/school communication.
  • Establish reference points to use with the children throughout the year.

Therefore, the Board of Directors has developed the following Home Visitation Policy:

  • Each lead teacher will visit any child who is new to the school or new to that teacher, meeting the following criteria:
  • The visits will preferably take place prior to the first day of classes in September, but may happen during the first month of school.
  • The visits will preferably take place in the child’s home, but may take place at school if extenuating circumstances exist.
  • The teacher may choose to visit children who are returning to her classroom from the previous year.
  • Home Visits may be scheduled by phone, or by sending a letter asking parents to call the teacher to schedule a visit. The teacher should then follow-up with any families who have not called.
  • Class parties may be scheduled in addition to, but not instead of Home Visits.
  • Any student who enrolls during the school year will receive a Home Visit within the first month of attendance.