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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

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he Giddens Preschool and Pre-K programs grow out of our mission and revolve around honoring the child; the child’s interests, strengths, and innate love of learning create fertile ground for our teachers to build learning opportunities across content areas. We feel committed to preparing children for success at this very young age, as their experiences here will be the foundation for all future learning. At Giddens, we view success as happiness, a love of learning, and the ability to thrive in multiple situations. The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K program places a lead and assistant teacher in every classroom to attend to the social-emotional growth of each student, and to act as instructional guides through age-appropriate lessons in literacy, mathematics, science, movement, self-regulation, and self-expression. In addition, our teachers accompany their students to Specialist classes in P.E., Spanish, Music, and Library. Through creating this connection between experiences, our teachers gain a more complete understanding of each child throughout their day. Each experience in the Giddens Preschool and Pre-K is an essential part of the beautiful whole. In order to best honor and prepare our children in the Preschool and Pre-K, we attend to the joyful elements of exploration as a guide to growth; we notice children’s interests, expand their knowledge around subject matter meaningful to them, and we introduce children to ideas and experiences that we feel may heighten their engagement in their own learning. Below you will find some of our guiding statements of purpose. w Children at play are children who are learning w Intentional lesson planning centered on student interests leads to meaningful connections and a greater love of learning. w Experiences where children are free to express themselves every day in a child centered manner are critical w Play is the precursor to the executive functions which are the root of academic success throughout life. w Playing is a joyful, indispensable part of childhood Please feel free to scroll through our Preschool and Pre-K Curriculum Guide below.


Literacy

The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs work in collaboration with one another and the Primary Program to deliver a multifaceted approach to the development of literacy. We weave together many different threads of language awareness in guiding the children through the wonderful world of literacy and communication. Threads include the encouragement of oral language and vocabulary development through dramatic play, storytelling and intentional small group learning times. Teachers work alongside students; they watch, question, and interact in order to learn more about what interests and provokes curiosity within each child. The resulting units of study become an honored reflection of the children’s desire for more knowledge. We find that lessons created in this manner provide an authentic learning pathway for children, in which our teachers thoughtfully provide the skills and strategies to investigate environments where the power of the written and spoken word is celebrated. Below, you will find our Preschool and Pre-K Program separated by age-level classes. Please take a moment to scroll through some of the skills and concepts our students experience at Giddens. Children at this age necessarily learn through multiple modalities, and display high engagement when subject matter is based on hands-on sensory experiences, tools, and materials from their lives. Teachers are guides, leading positive ‘provocations’ for the students to further their learning and heighten engagement.

Younger Preschool (2 years 9 months - 3 year old class) Through Self Expression we: H Act out stories from our imaginations H Practice self-advocacy skills through modeling and practicing pro-social language H Learn how to use materials to create art and tell our stories H Express fantasy through dramatic play H Learn to find our voices and take risks through pretend play H Engage in and practice empathic literacy and conflict resolution through Second Step©, small groups and social play times In Reading we: H Enjoy ongoing exposure to different genres of books H Engage in pre-reading activities, such as pretending to read H Listen to stories in small and whole groups H Have group discussions about books we read together H Predict verbally what might happen next in a story H Start to remember the events of a story in sequence (beginning, middle, and end) H Identify with a story or relate events to our own lives We Explore Phonics by: H Exploring sounds and letters of the alphabet H Learning about our names as our first sight words H Working on rhyme awareness through song H Increasing our verbal memory with songs and poems each day

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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs


In Writing we: H Use marks and lines to represent writing H Explore some letters, especially those in our own names H Use art as a form of written communication (create and tell) H Make time for dictation of student ideas, thoughts, and stories H Use materials such as clay, beads, and playdough to encourage fine motor development

Preschool (3-4 year old classes) Through Self Expression we: H Act out stories from our imaginations H Practice self-advocacy skills through modeling and practicing pro-social language H Work on our ability to draw and write about our lives H Express fantasy through dramatic play H Learn to find our voices and take risks through pretend play H Engage in and practice empathic literacy and conflict resolution through Second Step©, small groups and social play times In Reading we: H Enjoy ongoing exposure to different genres of books H Act out stories as a means of solidifying understanding and sequencing H Engage in pre-reading activities, such as pretending to read H Begin to learn how to hold the book correctly H Listen to stories in small and whole groups H Have group discussions about books we read together H Predict what will happen next in a story H Start to remember the events of a story in sequence (beginning, middle and end) H Identify with a story or relate events to personal experiences H Identify concepts of characters and setting H Identify elements of a book, such as cover, author, illustrator H Begin to understand that text has meaning H Meet with our “Older Buddies” to read and share stories We Explore Phonics by: H Exploring sounds and letters of the alphabet H Learning about our names as our first sight words H Creating rhyme awareness and practice H Increasing our verbal memory with songs and poetry In Writing we: H Use marks and letters to represent writing H Explore some letters, especially those in our own names H Use art as a form of written communication (create and tell) H Make time for dictation of student ideas, thoughts and stories H Use materials to encourage fine motor development H Create books

The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

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Pre-K (4-5 year old classes) Through Self Expression we: H Act out stories from our imaginations H Practice self-advocacy skills through modeling and practicing pro-social language H Work on our ability to draw and write about our lives H Express fantasy through dramatic play H Learn to find our voices and take risks through pretend play H Engage in and practice empathic literacy and conflict resolution through Second Step©, small groups and social play times In Reading we: H Enjoy ongoing exposure to different genres of books H Act out stories as a means of solidifying understanding and sequencing H Engage in pre-reading activities, such as pretending to read H Begin to learn how to hold the book correctly H Listen to stories in small and whole groups H Have group discussions about books we read together H Predict what will happen next in a story H Start to remember the events of a story in sequence (beginning, middle and end) H Identify with a story or relate events to personal experiences H Identify concepts of characters and setting H Identify elements of a book, such as cover, author, illustrator H Begin to understand that text has meaning H Meet with our “Older Buddies” to read and share stories We Learn Phonics by: H Exploring sounds and letters of the alphabet H Learning about our names as our first sight words H Creating rhyme awareness and practice through songs and poems H Increasing our verbal memory with songs and poetry H Beginning sight word practice and building sight word vocabulary H Exploring letter blends H Noticing the physical formation of our mouth and tongue to learn letter sounds In Writing we: H Use marks to represent writing H Explore some letters, especially those in our own names H Use words that we know from sight H Use art as a form of written communication (create and tell) H Make time for dictation of student ideas, thoughts and stories H Use materials to encourage fine motor development H Create books H Create journals H Practice correct pencil grip and letter formation

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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs


Mathematics

Giddens Preschool and Pre-K classes stress exploration and the knowledge that mathematical engagement happens across content areas for all of us. Mathematical concepts are incorporated into every area of the Preschool and Pre-K curriculum through intentional daily lessons in art, through observing and studying nature, during circle times, in P.E., Music, and even in our Literacy lessons. Students at Giddens learn underlying mathematical operations in many of their daily activities which are highlighted by instruction geared toward creating meaningful connections between the children and the mathematical world around them. Our teachers introduce these young students to the idea that there are many ways to engage in math every day. Children at this age necessarily learn through multiple modalities, and display high engagement when subject matter is based on hands-on sensory experiences, tools, and materials from their lives. Whether measuring ingredients for cooking, or counting items in our garden, Preschool and Pre-K students at Giddens interact with their world to learn more about math. We create activities through which our students may practically apply mathematical concepts.

Younger Preschool (2 years 9 months - 3 year old class) To learn about number sense in Math we: H Count! Counting is the cornerstone of how we become more familiar with numbers H Use mathematical tools to help us practice counting H Work toward counting accurately with one to one correspondence H Learn to recognize numerals H Cultivate number sense by understanding quantities that are greater, less than, or equal to one another H Use mathematical language when learning about math H Learn about number sequence through counting and sorting materials or manipulatives H Use deductive reasoning when estimating or making predictions H Sort information by creating simple graphs In Geometry we: H Sort objects by attributes such as color, shape, and size H Learn about spatial relationships by working with shapes, colored blocks, and everyday items H Use mathematical language to name proper shapes H Learn to recognize geometric shapes throughout our classroom and greater learning community H Find geometric shapes in nature H Begin to look at how fractional parts make up the whole H Build, build, build with blocks of all shapes and sizes H Identify sets and pairs To learn about Quantities we: H Count! H Do basic graphing of meaningful events and items in our lives H Estimate proper weights and measurements H Make predictions H Measure items using non-standard units H Compare quantities by weighing and measuring H Use mathematical vocabulary to describe what we are learning H Focus on time, temperature, and size H Use diagrams

The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

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Preschool (3-4 year old classes) To learn about numbers in Math we: H Count! Counting is the cornerstone of how we become more familiar with numbers H Use mathematical tools to help us practice counting H Work toward counting accurately with one to one correspondence H Learn to recognize numerals H Cultivate number sense by understanding quantities that are greater, less than, or equal to one another H Use mathematical language when learning about math H Learn about number sequence through counting and sorting materials or manipulatives In Geometry we: H Sort objects by attributes such as color, shape, and size H Learn about spatial relationships by working with shapes, colored blocks, and everyday items H Use mathematical language to name proper shapes H Learn to recognize geometric shapes throughout our classroom and greater learning community H Find geometric shapes in nature H Begin to look at how fractional parts make up the whole H Build, build, build with blocks of all shapes and sizes H Identify sets and pairs To learn about Quantities we: H Count! H Do basic graphing of meaningful events and items in our lives H Estimate proper weights and measurements H Make predictions H Measure items using non-standard units H Compare quantities by weighing and measuring H Use mathematical vocabulary to describe what we are learning H Focus on time, temperature, and size H Use diagrams H Use deductive reasoning when estimating or making predictions

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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs


Pre-K (4-5 year old classes) To learn about numbers in Math we: H Count! Counting is the cornerstone of how we become more familiar with numbers H Use mathematical tools to help us practice counting H Work toward counting accurately with one to one correspondence H Learn to recognize numerals H Cultivate number sense by understanding quantities that are greater, less than, or equal to one another H Use mathematical language when learning about math H Learn about number sequence through counting and sorting materials or manipulatives H Use deductive reasoning when estimating or making predictions In Geometry we: H Sort objects by attributes such as color, shape, and size H Learn about spatial relationships by working with shapes, colored blocks, and everyday items H Use mathematical language to name proper shapes H Learn to recognize geometric shapes throughout our classroom and greater learning community H Find geometric shapes in nature H Begin to look at how fractional parts make up the whole H Build, build, build with blocks of all shapes and sizes H Identify sets and pairs To learn about Quantities we: H Count! H Do basic graphing of meaningful events and items in our lives H Estimate proper weights and measurements H Make predictions H Measure items using non-standard units H Compare quantities by weighing and measuring H Use mathematical vocabulary to describe what we are learning H Focus on time, temperature, and size H Use diagrams

The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

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Social and Emotional Development

The social-emotional curriculum in the Giddens Preschool and Pre-K programs promotes a strong foundation of self knowledge and independence as well as the ability to work with others. In Preschool and Pre-K, we believe that social knowledge provides a basis for all communication and interaction in addition to all learning and problem solving children will need access to in later learning. Social knowledge is central to each child’s ability to adapt to new and different people and events, and we take the time when our students are young to honor this journey. Through providing a nurturing environment in which play and exploration are coupled with direct instruction around empathic literacy, Giddens students learn more deeply about themselves and the world around them. Giddens School focuses on the experience of social learning through play because this is central to the development of one’s own person. Play is an often misunderstood or overlooked component to a child’s learning environment. At Giddens, our teachers are trained to observe the children at play as an essential means of gaining deeper understanding of where each child should be met developmentally. What may look like “free time” to an untrained observer is actually the key element to further instruction for our Preschool and Pre-K teachers. Play leads to intentional lesson planning to further children’s emotional capacities and breadth of knowledge.

Younger Preschool (2 years 9 months - 3 year old class), Older Preschool (3 and 4 year old classes), and Pre-K Classes (4-5 year old classes) To learn about Empathic Literacy and Kindness we: H Implement the Second Step© social skills program in all classrooms each year H Focus on activities and games which improve our self-regulation abilities H Learn to be a part of a larger group and how we fit into that dynamic H Learn about problem solving and conflict resolution through conversation, modeling and practice H Practice identifying, naming, and managing our emotions H Use words to express our emotions H Learn to read non-verbal cues from our friends and teachers H Learn about the consequences of our choices and actions H Begin to develop a vocabulary to identify our needs and feelings To foster Self Expression we: H Learn and practice sharing information verbally H Express our needs and wants using simple sentences H Have time to participate verbally and through movement in whole and small class groupings H Learn to listen to the ideas of others and to take turns when speaking H Express ourselves in writing through dictation of our feelings, ideas, and stories H Recount rhyming songs, short poems, and finger-play songs H Spend time outside dancing, gardening, and pretending

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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs


To better understand Social Justice and Anti-Bias we: H Create time for students to celebrate their own family structure, culture, race, and traditions H Leave space for “think time” when children are formulating ideas they would like to share H Offer time and space for children to be alone, and recognize when this time could be helpful H Implement the Second Step© program H Attend to intentional lessons around compassion, fairness, cooperation, and health H Create lessons supporting critical thinking in subjects such as friendship, gender issues, caring for others, and caring for our environment H Offer intentional lessons around non-gendered play in addition to times to explore more traditional pretending and role playing H Create specific times for conversations and “Thinking Circles” regarding gender identity, self-awareness, and knowledge of others H Invite family members to share cultural traditions with the class H Invite family members to share interests, skills, and knowledge with the students

Science and Environmental Education

Children at Preschool and Pre-K ages learn science content through hands-on, inquiry-based experiences. At Giddens, we have a large working vegetable garden in which our students spend scheduled times each week with our teachers to learn more about our local habitats, native plants, and environmental stewardship. In addition to the garden, teachers lead other science lessons in which children apply scientific methods in highly engaging explorations. At Giddens, students in our early childhood program learn to ask relevant questions and learn what it means to investigate. In addition to the application of scientific reasoning skills, our methods apply to other skills children are developing such as hand-eye coordination, experience with quantity, language and writing, and making predictions. Natural and Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Sciences are all included and pursued in our Preschool and Pre-K program. Lessons and materials at this age are most useful and create the greatest connection to meaning when grown from children’s interests. As such, we use this knowledge as a springboard for creating more intentional work which provokes higher engagement and inspiration to learn more about science and the world in which we live.

Younger Preschool (2 years 9 months - 3 year old class), Older Preschool (3 and 4 year old classes) and Pre-K Classes (4-5 year old classes) Some content areas we pursue in Science are: H Geography H Families and Culture H Health and Nutrition H Gardening H Habitats and where we live H Plants and Animals including native and invasive species H Weather

The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

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To learn Science Skills we: H Learn what observing feels and looks like H Have the opportunity to practice answering open-ended questions H See what our observations look like when applied to graphs and drawings through dictation H Make hypotheses when investigating new concepts or explorations H Learn to use science tools H Use scientific language and vocabulary related to the natural world H Create questions based on our experiences H Begin to learn about patterns, cycles, and changes in our natural world Science Field Trips teach us about: H Being away from school H Listening to the world around us and to our teachers when away from school H How to be safe when we travel in groups away from home and school H What it feels like to take different modes of transportation H How important it is to reach out to our surrounding communities H How to be with our family members and caregivers while learning about our city, parks, and wildlife To introduce elements of Technology we: H Learn a bit about what it is H Learn about how it is connected to our world and ourselves H Investigate machines, how some are made and how they are used H Learn about how things work

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The Giddens Preschool and Pre-K Programs

Preschool Curriculum Guide  

The curriculum guide for the Preschool and Pre-K Program at Giddens School, organized by content area.

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