Children are learning quickly at this age, and offering them activities and games that they have a natural curiosity about will receive greater engagement from them. So, with much intention we create new curriculum by observing their current interests, developmental stages, and current happenings around them that we see they need the answers to. And within these questions posed by the children, teachers develop themed topics that include science, pre-reading skills, music and movement, world awareness, self-expression, arts and math; counting and shapes. This type of curriculum is called emergent curriculum. There is a balance of free-play and structured group activities.
For example: If students are in the garden playing and become curious with how a web is being built by a spider, the teachers will ask them how they think a spider builds it, and why, for what? Posing the questions back to them. If teachers see that there’s a strong interest a curriculum for their investigation begins! The questions posed by the students are recorded together and then slowly explored so that the children can answer them on their own, rather than a teacher just telling them information. Teachers will exhaust all avenues of the topic until they observed that the group is ready to branch off into a new direction or topic.Work that that the children made during each study is documented with photos, videos and art work which is always displayed in the room for further reflection and family sharing.
At Little Tree, children will explore a variety of artistic media and techniques through process art and open ended activities. Printing, clay, construction, drawing, and collage. We want to give children ample opportunities to share and express their feelings, tell stories and assert their individuality. Art supports their observational skills, pre- literacy through articulating and creating products of their imagination and building fine motor skills
Creative and Physical Movement
At Little Tree, we offer children activities such as yoga, dance and outside games that develop their large gross motor-strength, flexibility and balance. The school’s program helps build healthy bodies, encourages the development of physical skills, a love of the outdoors, and a sense of wonder and respect for nature.
Strong verbal language is the foundation of literacy. At Little Tree we sing songs, share rhymes and a have a language rich environment of books and everyday print around the room. Mornings we share the calendar, attendance and weather. Daily play and group activities will introduce children to hearing language sounds, moveable alphabet, mechanical writing of names and alphabet letters
The staff uses a variety of approaches, so that the children become excited and confident learners in literacy (reading and writing readiness), pre-math, science, the creative arts and world studies.
The staff helps children understand their emotions and find acceptable ways to express them. The staff is skilled in positive discipline techniques and appropriate limit-setting.
The children learn how to handle conflict through problem-solving and communication, so that they become confident and capable individuals who respect others and embrace differences.
In our Reggio classroom, the environment is considered a ‘teacher’ as well, and is constantly being transformed to support hands-on investigation around the topic that is being studied. For example, maybe branches are offered to the children to build a large-scale nest outside to play re-enactments of life as a certain animal or insect being studied? Maybe the art area has new materials such as clay put out for the children to investigate shape, strength and structure related to why animal’s homes are built the way they are; spirals, domes or tunnels. Other new materials are also added to the library, blocks, dramatic play area, and shelf-manipulatives to invite child directed hands on learning.
This hands-on play based learning pushes children to investigate their own questions and encourage life-long inquisitiveness and drive to know more. While understanding that making mistakes in these investigations and learning from them can feel frustrating, but mistakes are the tiny parts of problem solving and figuring out the larger picture- a very important skill set to have in school and life.
We explore our individual sensory needs and are constantly showing children new ways to manage their bodies internal barometer. Our classroom has different areas to allow our bodies to calm down and zone out with a book, draw, quietly investigate, darker cozy areas to listen to music OR we have larger areas for our bodies to run, climb, spin, swing, splatter paint, dig in the mud or hang upside down if a child is maybe feeling like there energy is really high.