Our Canaries Program (Older Pre-Schoolers)
Unique and age-appropriate learning experiences are the framework of Educational Playcare’s pre-kindergarten Canaries program, including exposure to:
- Other Subjects
Some of the skills that children are developing in our older preschooler’s program include:
- Participating in teacher-led group activities
- Managing transitions
- Following rules and routines
- Expressing themselves through art and movement
- Identifying some printed letters and words
Developing literacy skills in preparation for Kindergarten is one of the primary goals of our Canary program. To meet this goal, we infuse print and literacy experiences into each learning center throughout our classrooms. We also have a dedicated literacy center in each Canary room which provides children with the opportunity to play games with letters and letter sounds, and to use sensory materials such as play dough or sand in which to write letters. Our older preschoolers always have access to paper and different writing utensils to work on developing a pencil grasp and to advance fine motor coordination.
We believe children learn best through play-based experiences so in order to teach them these important skills, we incorporate activities such as silly stories with reoccurring letter sounds, and we play games that include letter identification. When children are having fun, are interested in the activity, and are using multiple senses, they learn and retain more information. For this reason, we do not use dittos or worksheets in our Canary program as they have been found to be less engaging or fun for children.
American Sign Language
Our preschoolers also learn and use American Sign Language with their teachers and peers throughout their day. Educational Playcare has 20 basic core signs that our teachers use with all of our age groups every day to help communicate wants and needs. Our preschoolers also learn signs that pertain to their current study. They practice these signs during group time and are encouraged to use them during interactive play experiences with their teachers and friends. The benefits of using American Sign Language include being able to communicate more effectively, hastening speech development, reinforcing the learning of educational concepts such as ABC’s, animals, and other specific themes, and helping children to remember words due to the muscle memory involved. Learn more about our American Sign Language program.
The curriculum for our older preschoolers is based on two-week-long studies with topics including the changing seasons, community helpers, animal habitats and adaptations, transportation, and wacky science experiments. We always start a new study by asking the children what they already know about the new topic and what they want to learn. Our teachers adapt the curriculum through the use of different learning experiences to meet the developmental needs and interests of each student.
Bringing Hands on Learning into the Classrooms
All of our activities are play-based and engaging and we extend the curriculum in order to provide exceptional experiences. For instance, each autumn as we learn about the changes in the seasons and the community in which we live, our older preschoolers take field trips to pick apples and pumpkins at local farms. In the spring, we bring nature to us by watching caterpillars turn into butterflies and by hatching baby chicks in incubators while we explore themes based on living things and life cycles.
View examples of:
Canary Lesson Plan
Our Canary Classrooms
The classrooms for our older preschoolers are divided into many different learning centers. These include:
- Dramatic play (where children can dress up and take on family and community helper roles)
- Block area (where children have a variety of building blocks and pretend toys to use in their play), sensory tables (which we change based on our current study)
- Manipulatives and math
- Art and creative expression
- A cozy corner (a soft and calming area where children can go to relax and
have time alone if they choose)
- A music and movement area
The learning areas may change their appearance throughout the month based on our themes. For instance, our dramatic play center might turn into an airport as we learn about transportation, or into a farm as we talk about life cycles. Students often add their own props to these areas for use during play.
We foster our students’ independence by encouraging them to choose which centers they would like to explore and play in during our center time. You will find that our teachers move throughout each area while children are playing in order to promote social skills, language development, and higher order thinking. During this time, our teachers are also making observations of their student’s development and they are planning future challenges which will further their skills. Twice a year, families are offered an opportunity to have a personal meeting with their child’s teacher to discuss their current development and to define goals in order to assist them with refining their skills in order to prepare them for kindergarten.
Communication with our Parents
Communication between parents and teachers is always a top priority. Families receive an emailed daily report which includes each of the day’s activities, projects, and discussions. In addition, informative bulletin boards displaying the curriculum, calendar, menus, notices, and other important information can be found outside of each classroom.
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