The Little Class, for 3 year-olds, is a small, intimate group of 10 to 11 students and 2 teachers. For most of these students, this is their first experience in a school setting. We get their learning started gently with extended play sessions and short lesson times. We help them learn how to be away from their parents, play with their peers and get comfortable with a classroom schedule. Discipline is primarily redirection of behavior to more appropriate activities. Very occasionally a short time out is used as a way to think about better choices.
Your child is eligible for enrollment if they have turned 3 by September 1 of the school year in which they will attend. They must be potty-trained and at least somewhat independent in the bathroom. We provide step-stools by the toilets and offer help with buttons and snaps. Students visit the bathroom twice each session and are encouraged to try each time. All students are required to wash their hands before returning to the classroom. We have extra clothes at preschool in the event of an occasional accident. Frequent accidents would mean that a child is not quite ready to be in preschool.
We follow this same routine for each class session which helps the students get comfortable with adapting to a school schedule. As the school year progresses, they learn the schedule and are better prepared for classroom transitions.
We begin our day with a free choice session where students are provided with several options designed to encourage imagination, social skills and academic skills. Different toys and manipulatives are provided each week. During centers, a few students at a time are rotated through a station for an art and craft project and fine motor skill practice where they are worked with individually as needed.
Students gather on the ABC rug to learn about today’s date and weather, have a show-and-tell time, do some counting and practice letter names and sounds. Students have a lesson or activity from the Second Step (Social-Emotional Learning) curriculum that helps them learn to listen, pay attention, manage behavior and get along with others. We finish with a short Bible lesson or story and a memory verse.
We play outside as much as possible! Our large playground is equipped with a sandbox area, climbing structure, slides, sidewalks for riding bikes, a playhouse and more. Children learn to put on their own coats and practice zipping. If rain or cold keeps us inside, students will have extra free playtime and a physical activity.
Our leader for the day provides a healthy snack for the class. They help serve their classmates and the students practice manners such as “Please”, “Thank you” and “May I please have some more?” Students learn responsibility by clearing their own place and pushing in their chair.
We end the day with theme teaching which can include stories, songs, games and physical activity.