Developing literacy skills begins at birth through everyday interactions—sharing books, telling stories, singing songs, talking to one another, or pointing out and naming objects; even painting, drawing or picking up things serve a purpose. These activities help develop hand muscles and coordination—skills necessary for learning how to write. Looking at early literacy development as a dynamic developmental process, we can see the connection (and meaning) between an infant mouthing a book, the book handling behavior of a two year old, and the page turning of a five year old. We can see that the first five years of exploring and playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, listening to stories, recognizing words, and scribbling are truly the building blocks for language and literacy development. In this classroom children at the British Private Prep School will develop sound habits for reading and writing, we introduce independent letters, word families, blends, color words and sight words. This combination guides any child to sounding out words and gives them the gift of reading.
In this classroom the children compare quantities, find patterns, navigate in space, and grapple with real problems such as balancing a tall block building or sharing counters fairly with a playmate. Mathematics helps children make sense of their world outside of school and helps them construct a solid foundation for success in school. Children must learn mathematics with understanding, actively building new knowledge from experience and prior knowledge.
Number sense, or the basics of learning about numbers, is the first vital math skill children at the British Private Prep School develop before reaching kindergarten. Children must learn to count forwards and backwards early in childhood to learn the relationship between numbers in the future. The basic math skills teachers provide in early childhood education set the building blocks for the entire academic career. Without learning simple skills like number sense, math concepts and simple application of ideas like adding and subtraction, children are not prepared to move into elementary education
Learning through Play
Early childhood education often focuses on learning through play, based on the research and philosophy of Jean Piaget, which suggests that play meets the physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social needs of children. Children’s natural curiosity and imagination naturally evoke learning when freed. Therefore, children learn more efficiently and gain more knowledge through activities such as dramatic play, building with blocks, water play, using manipulatives, putting together a puzzle and social games; which all can be found in this classroom. Children are encouraged to play in small groups to develop social skills and make new friends.
It is important that teachers promote children’s development through play by using various types of play on a daily basis. Learning through play has been seen regularly in preschools as the most versatile way a child can learn.
Play is the first way that children learn to make sense of the world at a young age. They are exploring different roles, learning how things work, and learning to communicate and work with others. These things cannot by taught by a standard curriculum, but have to be developed through the method of play. We at the British Private Prep School understand the importance of play and have designed our curriculum to allow children to have more freedom in this particular classroom. Once these basics are learned at a young age, it sets children up for success throughout their schooling and their life.
Music & Movement
Children naturally love music! Whether it’s soft and soothing or a lively tune, children feel it both physically and emotionally.
Throughout the early years, children are learning to do new things with their bodies. Young children are also learning that movement can communicate messages and represent actions. Young children are able to perform and recognize pantomimed actions such as ironing, stirring, swimming, or playing the piano.
Most children usually are quite at home with movement. They begin to learn about the world by acting on objects and people, and they “think with their bodies” well before they think with words. This is why body movement is not only fun for children but also a good opportunity for them to solve problems. Movement problems challenge children in different ways and help teachers/parents learn about the problem solving and creative abilities of less verbal children.
Singing or chanting can help make routine activities and transitions, such as gathering children into a circle or group activity, smoother and more enjoyable. And music helps to set a mood. Quiet, soothing music calms and relaxes children, while a lively marching tune rouses them for energetic clean‐up time. Music and movement are also social activities that help children feel part of the group. As children grow in their appreciation of the beauty of music and dance, they acquire a gift that will bring them great pleasure. Music brings another dimension of beauty into our lives.
Here are skills that music and movement can help develop:
- Participating in a group
- Social skills
- Express emotions
- Enhance self‐concept by sharing music and dance of each other’s culture
- Refine listening skills‐noticing changes in tempo or pitch
- Awareness of movement and body positions
- Creativity and imagination
- Learn new words and concepts
- Explore cause and effect
- Develop large motor skills
- Improve balance, coordination, and rhythm through dance and movement activities
- Improve small motor skills‐learning finger plays and playing musical instruments.
Art & Sensory
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.
Fostering creativity won’t just increase your child’s chances of becoming the next Picasso. You’re also helping him develop mentally, socially, and emotionally. Creating art may boost young children’s ability to analyze and problem-solve in countless ways. As children manipulate a paintbrush, their fine motor skills improve. By counting pieces and colors, they learn the basics of math. When children experiment with materials, they dabble in science. Most important perhaps, when kids feel good while they are creating, art helps boost self-confidence. And children who feel able to experiment and to make mistakes feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends well beyond the classroom room.