We are thrilled about our move to become a nature-based preschool. Nature- based preschools commit to spending half the school day outdoors, following a rigorous curriculum that supports all areas of child development, and instilling in each child a love and respect for nature. Our campus provides a perfect setting for a nature-based program. We have a nature trail, a mini amphitheater, two playgrounds, a vegetable garden and a herb garden, and other outdoor spaces to explore or to set up outdoor lessons and activities.
Our curriculum is suited well for a nature-based program. The Preschool follows The Creative Curriculum, the leading research-based comprehensive curriculum for children birth through age five. Creative Curriculum assists teachers in planning and implementing developmentally appropriate hands-on activities that promote physical, social, cognitive and language development. The curriculum fosters learning in the content areas of literacy, math, science, social studies and the arts.
The curriculum is integrated with Teaching Strategies Gold, a seamless birth through kindergarten assessment system. The Gold system measures aspects of the areas of development and learning outlined above, which are most predictive of later school success. Assessment results allow teachers to plan instruction that is tailored to individual student needs and communicate children’s progress to families, other stakeholders and our accrediting body, Cognia ( formerly SACS/ AdvanceEd.
Our classrooms are divided into the interest areas of dramatic play, free art, music, blocks, library, discovery and toys and games. During center time, children choose which interest areas they wish to explore. During large group time, children gather with their teacher to read, participate in music and movement, and discuss the day’s weather and topic of study. Small group time is used to do art projects, science experiments, literacy or math activities, or to give individual attention to students needing additional assistance or a challenge. A typical day also includes outdoor play, snack and lunch time, enrichment, and our beloved nature walks. Enrichment offerings include chapel, physical education, gardening, and music. The curriculum for the older age levels is supplemented with Handwriting Without Tears and a phonemic awareness program which is part of Sightwords.com. Our social and emotional curriculum is Conscious Discipline.
Where appropriate, teachers use extended studies or the project-based approach to teaching. Teachers choose a study that is meaningful and interesting to their class and plan activities for the children to engage in direct observation and hands-on experimentation. Studies encourage children to develop the process skills of observing, exploring, problem solving, organizing, and communicating, skills that are critical to life-long learning.
Referrals for speech, hearing, occupational and physical therapy are available where needed. Parent involvement is an integral component of the Creative Curriculum approach. Parents are invited to share their talents in the classroom and their family/cultural traditions.
For more information, contact Joleen Neel, Director, at email@example.com.