NLC Preschool Curriculum
The teachers approach our many activities and the general curriculum as if they were unlocking a treasure chest filled with delightful surprises for helping your child discover something new and exciting each day. The following questions and answers about the curriculum will provide you with more complete information and details about the program.
What is the teaching program?
It is a program of excellent children's literature, designed to awaken interest and open doors to thinking and learning. The program introduces readiness skills in language arts, sciences, mathematics and social studies with creative activities in music and rhythms, arts and crafts, dramatics, games and free-play experiences. By providing a solid foundation for learning, we can broaden the children's awareness and understanding of themselves and others, and of the world around them.
How is the teaching program organized?
The program is organized into units designed to cover a full school year. The units presented provide the foundations for sequential development of basic skills and concepts. Since the attention span of a young child is limited, meaningful listening and speaking experiences are balanced with physical activities. Each lesson in this program has been designed to provide for a variety of pace, coverage and flexible use. Because the program interrelates all major subject areas with creative activities, it is used in a supplementary way to enrich and reinforce our other curriculum.
How do we select our literature and how is it used in our program?
The books are selected for various reasons. They are established favorites with children preschool and kindergarten age. The text and illustrations of each book may be used to develop language skills and concepts, as well as to provide insights into other areas. The entire library provides a balanced selection of outstanding literature and poetry.
New literature is being added regularly to our program. Learning to love good stories is a big step in motivating a student to read. If a young child enjoys the stories and poems that are read to him, he will transfer this pleasure to his approach to books in general, and will look forward to the time when he will be able to read books for himself. In addition, with exposure to carefully selected literature, the child learns to focus his attention on language, as well as on story theme and illustrations. The teaching program provides for the child's direct involvement with the language of good books. Listening, day by day, to the language of gifted and major writers, the child grows in the ability to listen, to understand, and to communicate.
What subjects are taught and how are they developed?
The four major subject areas are language arts, science, mathematics and social studies.
1. Language Arts
Provision has been made, throughout the program, for balanced development of both listening and speaking skills. The language activities in the program have been directed toward developing the children's awareness of themselves and their surroundings. Through participation in learning situations such as the following, the children can be encouraged to think and to express themselves more easily:
- Describing shapes and colors, textures, tastes, odors and sounds
- Describing personal reactions to situations
- Describing words having the same or opposite meanings
- Recognizing words with similar sounds
- Interpreting language in stories, poems and riddles
- Discussing story and picture sequences
- Drawing conclusions to supply endings for stories
- Participating in discussions, word games and dramatizations
For our younger children we use several prewriting activities, as well as the beginning letters of their names. Establishing proper pencil position helps in fine motor skill development and to build confidence.
The older children are taught handwriting skills beginnning with the letters of the alphabet and eventually writing their name with upper and lower case letters as their fine motor skills develop. Proper pencil position is emphasized and there is respect for individuality with every child's handwriting.
Reading requires children to know how to employ decoding and comprehension skills, when and how to apply them, and how to do so independently. Phonics and other decoding skills are the most useful and give children independence as early as possible. Common initial consonants and log vowel sounds are taught explicitly in the pre-reading program.
The major areas of emphasis in science are: the four seasons, the growth of plants, animals and people, weather, and the universe. Healthy concepts (washing hands, etc.) are discussed in many contexts throughout the units, and the children's awareness of the five senses is developed in a variety of activities. The children are given a variety of opportunities to learn about different animals, flowers and trees. Geography is also included in several units to help prepare children to understand better their relationship to their surroundings.
Mathematic concepts, including counting and familiarity with ordinal as well as cardinal numbers are developed throughout the units. All numbers are presented in connection with stories or verses and pictures in a pattern that first establishes visual and/or tactile references. Before new numbers are introduced, those already learned are reviewed. The curriculum provides a link between the child's world and the adult's world of mathematic symbols and abstractions. This program forms a bridge that begins at the child's concrete, material level and leads the child to the world of abstractions. Some of the specific pre-mathematic concepts and skills that we work with, and attempt to develop in children are the following:
- Problem solving
- Counting classifications
- One to one correspondence
- Numeral recognition/form
4. Social Studies
A child's understanding of himself, his family and friends, the people in his community, and their relationship to one another is of the utmost importance to his adjustment to school and the other phases of his life as well. Therefore, this program devotes much effort to providing opportunities for developing the child's awareness in these areas. Emphasis is given to discussions of family relationships, sharing and taking turns with companions, accepting and appreciating individual differences, and solving problems arising from bullying and arguments. In addition, health and safety concepts are emphasized.