Annie Wright’s Prekindergarten program is responsive to a student’s unique temperament and developmental needs. Rich, age-appropriate experiences and versatile materials satisfy a child's curious nature and support his or her developmental growth.
The language arts curriculum is rich with activities and experiences that encourage listening, speaking, writing and reading readiness. Language arts may be taught as part of math, science, social studies, or any other area of the curriculum. Children become familiar with a variety of literature and learn to express complete thoughts and ideas in proper sequence. Students also learn to recognize and print most capital and lowercase letters and begin the process of phonetic spelling. The "Handwriting Without Tears" program develops all areas of the language arts curriculum, improves fine motor skills and encourages creativity.
The activity-based hands-on mathematics curriculum includes classifying, measuring, sorting, graphing, sequencing, patterning, number recognition and formation, and building understanding of part to whole relationships. Students have fun developing numeration, constancy, and grouping skills through the use of items such as unifix cubes, buttons, blocks and a variety of objects that help develop strong number sense.
The inquiry-based science curriculum offers authentic lab work to budding scientists. The program emphasizes a range of skills including observing, comparing and contrasting, predicting, sorting, and the beginnings of ordered thinking. Examples of topics include exploring seasons, potato and pumpkin planting, and investigations that include the use of microscopes. Topics are integrated with those covered in the classroom, and are often fluid as in the nature of science itself.
Prekindergarten students have Spanish lessons twice a week. During class students learn songs, hear stories and engage in movement activities in Spanish. Students ask and answer simple questions in Spanish and explore cultural aspects of diverse Spanish-speaking countries.
Teachers recognize students’ unique learning styles and assist them in reaching their full potential by helping them develop strategies for success. Learning resources are also available from Learning Specialists, who provide both extra challenges and extra support with specific skill work as necessary. Social/emotional resources are also available from the Lower School Counselor, who offers parent education; meets with teachers, individual students, small groups and entire classes; and provides the social/emotional support that helps children feel secure, successful and happy.
Prekindergarten students enjoy listening to stories on their weekly visit to the Library. Four-year-olds especially appreciate humorous stories and complex illustrations. They also enjoy big words, silly sounds, and nonsense rhymes in the library’s collections of poetry books. A major goal of the Prekindergarten library program is to develop a love for books and stories that lasts a lifetime.
Prekindergarten musicians continue to explore musical sounds using simple instruments. While the program continues to stress a steady beat, students begin to explore the use of various sounds at different times. Students also continue to develop simple dancing and singing skills both with and without instrumental or pre-recorded accompaniments. Starting in Prekindergarten, private music lessons are available for an additional fee. These lessons are a shared adventure in music involving both child and parent. Each student learns the basics of his or her instrument and has the opportunity to perform.
"We like to move it, move it!" is the cheer you hear as Prekindergarten students enter the gym for their bi-weekly physical education class. The aim is to stimulate interest in healthy lifestyles and get students excited about being in motion. Activities are designed to energize motor development through movement exploration, simple games, and tumbling. PE for Prekindergarten also includes the traverse-climbing wall as a way to build strength, endurance, confidence, self-esteem and problem solving. Climbing, rolling, leaping over obstacles, throwing, kicking and dancing to music all serve to help children discover the joy of physical activity and teamwork.
All Prekindergarten students participate in swim class once a week throughout the school year. In a nurturing environment, teachers work with the students both in the locker room and in the pool to gain independence and learn how to be safe. Swim skills include safety in and around the pool, comfort and security in the water, kicking and basic strokes. The program is designed to build upon skills learned as Preschool students.