Activity areas (learning centers) are “open” during free choice time and when a teacher designates a specific small group activity. Each area coordinates with the current study theme to enhance learning. Children explore the areas which continually reward and rekindle their interest and enthusiasm for learning. Sometimes your child may discover an area alone. At other times, a teacher will be very involved with your child, stimulating conversation and asking open-ended questions. Most important, your child will learn new skills and develop talents while having fun!
This area not only contains wooden, cardboard, or foam blocks, but also small figures, architectural pictures and other items which will promote creative building. When your child builds, she learns about sizes, shapes, spatial relationships, and math concepts. She is making critical decisions about how to build a structure or solve a construction problem. When she knocks it over, she is learning about gravity and safety issues.
DRAMATIC PLAY/KITCHEN AREA
Whether it is a kitchen, restaurant, space ship, doctor’s office, or tree house, the place where your child pretends is vital to his learning. He uses abstract thinking skills to re-create real life situations and thoughts from his imagination. He must be able to picture experiences in his mind, recall information and verbally express these thoughts to others. When role-playing, he must be able to cooperate and defend his ideas to his friends. The ability to function socially in a structured environment will be extremely valuable in his future educational experience.
Language skills are developed through exposure to children’s literature. A love of books starts early and lays the foundation for emergent literacy skills. Teachers encourage her to “read” the pictures, make predictions, and repeat phrases. Your child will learn to share, follow directions, and lengthen her attention span. She will also begin to recognize the connection between spoken language and the written word.
By drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, and using play-dough, your child learns to creatively express emotions and ideas. He has fun exploring and experimenting with different textures and colors while taking pride in his accomplishments. He will develop his coordination and small muscles needed for emergent writing skills. He will have the opportunity to create both original artwork and pre-designed projects.
SENSORY TABLE AREA
Water is not the only medium available to your child in this area. She may also use her senses to discover the properties of colored water, ice, snow, corks, shaving cream, beads, dirt, sand, buttons, or rice. Scientific and mathematical concepts will become more concrete when she uses measuring cups, funnels, tubes, or shovels to change the table’s landscape.
Here you find activities and materials dealing with cognitive exploration. This area is also referred to as the Table Top Area since items here can be contained on a table top. Puzzles, small blocks, Legos, sorting figures, peg boards, geo-boards and board games are at home here. Sorting, categorizing, and problem solving skills along with eye-hand coordination are integral math concepts explored.
Your child will be encouraged to climb, run, jump, and play cooperative games in our backyard. He will take walks on the Esplanade along the Hudson River. Teachers will motivate him to gaze at clouds, notice seasonal changes among the plants or observe bugs. He may visit community businesses for “behind the scene” insights into our neighborhood. He will develop an appreciation for the world around him.
Our lives are made up of scientific observations, theories, and conclusions. By becoming aware of nature, your child will become a citizen concerned for her environment. Leaves, sticks, rocks, magnets, kaleidoscopes, oil/water bottles, sea shells, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and color wands are used to peak her interest.
While all the children are given the opportunity to “write”, preschool and pre-kindergarten children are encouraged to explore print material and try to copy them. Tracing and scribbling are emergent skills which are mastered before a child can begin to replicate legible characters. Allowing a child to choose pencils, markers, crayons or other writing implements to express their thoughts will give him the confidence to explore more formal writing.Schedule a Tour