The Pre-Kindergarten experience at ECS is often the child's introduction to school and to a more structured, yet stimulating, learning environment. Our goal is to make this experience a positive one that fosters a joy for learning. Children learn by actively exploring a variety of materials and activities in a nurturing, organized, child-centered atmosphere.
Skills are introduced through creative individual and group play, as well as through developmentally appropriate class projects. Teaching methods include whole group, small group, and one-on-one instruction; the use of learning centers; cooperative and independent activities and projects; an emphasis on manipulatives and hands-on, experiential activities; and the incorporation of music, art, rhyming, games and other activities to heighten interest and reinforce skill building and comprehension. Parents may choose to have their child attend half day or full day. Field trips have included Green Meadows Farm, performing arts programs, and the Baltimore Zoo.
Reading readiness and language arts are taught not as separate subjects but as an integral part of the entire day. Through the development and reinforcement of reading readiness skills, a foundation is formed for future reading, as well as the enjoyment of literature. High interest units are developed to support these goals with culminating activities such as a student-made book, Teddy Bear Tea Party, or Mother’s Day Tea.
Students learn by actively exploring a variety of materials in a nurturing, organized, child-centered atmosphere. Emphasis is placed on name recognition, print awareness, and an introduction to letter recognition and sounds. Classroom writing activities support the reading-writing connection. Our program stresses a strong literature base with story time set aside each day as well as classrooms rich in books and print. The D’Nealian method of printing is introduced.
The math curriculum is designed to introduce children to basic mathematical concepts. These concepts are presented visually as well as through hands-on and interactive activities. The areas of study include shape and number recognition, one to one correspondence, sorting and classifying, patterning, and measurement. Math study is incorporated through daily activities, and all children are encouraged to explore and investigate mathematical ideas through manipulatives and teacher-directed activities.
The social studies curriculum develops self-understanding, which is the foundation for learning about others. History is introduced through the study of historical figures and the recognition of holidays. Units include the study of self and family, respect for self and others, safety, community helpers, and holiday and cultural celebrations. Topics are presented and explored in the curriculum through projects and activities such as the Mayflower re-enactment, Thanksgiving feast, visits from community helpers, and study of holiday celebrations.
The art curriculum is based on an introduction to art for the small child. The course will help the child learn about art's meaning in the world, give an understanding of other cultures, introduce art materials, encourage creativity and imagination, aid in small motor development, and improve memory.
The computer program is designed to help students strengthen the view of computers as familiar learning and working tools. Pre-Kindergarteners become familiar with terms such as computer, mouse, mouse pad, keyboard, click, double click, and enter, and learn to open and navigate through programs on their own. The emphasis at this level is on graphic-oriented programs, allowing students to practice their motor skills while becoming comfortable using a mouse and keyboard. The computer program is used for Pre-K A throughout the year. Pre-K B students are introduced to the computers and the computer lab toward the end of the school year.
The Library program is designed to provide a rich, stimulating environment that promotes an appreciation for literature and a life-long love of reading. We stress exploration of traditional literature (folk and fairy tales, nursery rhymes) and award-winning books; awareness of parts of and care of books; the location of and difference between fiction and nonfiction.
Students are introduced to basic music elements such as pitch and tempo. Students are also introduced to the four major instrument groups and exposed to different music genres through composer of the month and multicultural music. Cross-curricular approaches such as the use of Nursery Rhyme Book and/or ABC Book of Music are integrated into music lessons in cooperation with the homeroom teachers. Performance opportunities occur in class and during the December Holiday Program and Assembly Programs.
Students participate in movement exploration, rhythmic expression and activities that introduce locomotor and non-locomotor skills. Music is used for rhythm with activities. We discuss sportsmanship, taking turns, sharing, cooperation, safety, and an introduction to the muscles of their body.
The science program takes place both in the classroom and in the weekly science class with the science teacher. In our classroom, we discover and explore weather and seasonal changes, our senses, life cycles, dinosaurs, bears, aquatic mammals, our bodies, nutrition, and water play. Language arts and math are incorporated into these units as well. In science class, taught once a week, students explore their world through hands-on experiential activities that nurture their curiosity and lead to student-driven experiments.
We investigate the human body, our five senses, plants, animals and their homes, weather, seasonal changes, and explore the sky above and the earth below. Some features are aquarium, growing plants from seeds, nature trail, and games that reinforce what has been learned. Science room and outdoor nature path activities complement and augment the science content of the classroom, as well.
The students receive an exposure to the Spanish language and culture. Each student is given a Spanish name. They begin to learn Spanish just the same way they learned their first language, by hearing sounds over and over, by repeating these sounds when they are comfortable, and finally by attaching meanings to the sounds.
The students are exposed to greetings, family, numbers to 10+, colors, body parts, animals, weather, food, fruits, vegetables, and so much more! We sing many songs, recite poems, play games, and do fun activities with basic conversation and vocabulary.