"Life must be lived as play." - Plato
Early childhood for three-year olds is a thematically based program in which our youngest students learn through play. We use a hands-on approach to encompass all of developmental domains. These domains, which all relate to each other, include social-emotional, motor/physical, cognitive, and language/communication development. The classroom teachers create an environment based around play centers that provide endless opportunities to enhance each area of development. Our teachers recognize that social, emotional, linguistic, and physical lessons are not learned separately by young children. They interact with the students in ways that recognize the child is learning from the whole experience.
In this area of development, children are provided with daily opportunities that introduce and reinforce social skills such as taking turns, and verbally communicating with others. The activities presented through story time, group movement games, circle time activities, plus indoor and outdoor play, all help foster the above concepts as the children work together to develop empathy, make friendships, engage in conversations, and learn to problem solve when conflicts arise.
During the course of the school year, the children in Barnesville’s early childhood program are introduced to the alphabet for letter recognition, story sequencing. In the area of math, counting and numeral recognition through ten, opposites, basic shape recognition, and simple graphing and patterning are intertwined in all that we do. These introductions are achieved through a combination of group activities and independent work time. The wide variety of activities and hands-on experiences challenge the creativity of the young child and help them embrace learning as fun.
The early childhood program is designed to foster motor development within each child. We present a balance of gross and fine motor activities that give each child experiences in lacing, cutting, coloring, painting, block building, puzzle making. The children are also given opportunities to ride tricycles and play in our woods area.
Singing and song repertoire constitute the basis of early childhood music classes. Much of the movement, simple dances, acting out activities, miming, and rhythmic actions in which the children engage, are connected with songs. Songs transmit culture, history, and the richness of shared human experiences, values, and feelings. Through music, the children celebrate the seasons, and observe in some meaningful way the traditional holidays and festivals. Special emphasis is placed on agricultural cycles since the Barnesville School is located in the Agricultural Reserve; farm animals are a favorite subject in music! In addition to singing, the music curriculum involves the exploration of musical instruments and how they make sounds.
The early childhood student has a weekly library experience beginning in October with a class visit by the Librarian. The Librarian engages the students with her traveling story box that contains a book and related activity. The library session supports the curricular needs by highlighting the letter of the week. Beginning in January, the students are introduced to the library and weekly story-time. Selected books are on display on the library tables based on the story-time theme or letter of the week, and are checked out in the teacher’s name for classroom use.
The Spanish program begins for the three-year olds during the month of September for 15 minutes every week. The units and topics that we cover include: colors, animals, the human body, family, greetings, and numbers. Within each unit we also cover five vocabulary words that are taught in a comprehensive and phonetic manner by repeating them in different contexts. The strategies we use are based on singing songs and playing games so that the learning process is fun and efficient.