The Pre-K classes are typically composed of up to 18 children who turn 4 ½ or 5-years-old during the school year. Two to three teachers staff the classroom and additional resource teachers support the class throughout the week. There are two pre-k classes: morning and afternoon. Morning students attend five mornings per week with three extended days until 3:15 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Students enrolled in the afternoon class attend five days per week for three hours per day. Both classes may extend their days with lunch and enrichment opportunities (Smokey’s Bounder).
Interactive Play – The teachers help the children settle in to the class for the day. As the children play with one another, the teachers assist them in strengthening their interests and friendships, facilitating problem solving and effective communication. The children are encouraged to take advantage of the different activities in the room. Drawing and writing are especially supported throughout the morning.
Meeting – Class meeting takes place every day approximately 30-45 minutes after the start of the school day. During this time, classroom jobs are performed and the “Teacher Helper” is chosen. Attendance is taken, a discussion of the weather takes place and a song is sung. Teachers and children discuss any new or current events and the plans for the day.
Choice Time – This time revolves around projects of interest to the children and class themes. Children use name tags to sign up at any of the 13 learning centers in the room. These centers include: math, science, easel, sensory table, art table, blocks, dramatic play, writing center, chalkboard, books, listening center, snack and manipulative toys. This part of the day is critical for socialization, confidence and decision-making. In addition, each center fosters cognitive development; for example, at the writing center, a child may write words or phrases of interest. During this time, classroom and resource teachers work with small groups in and/or out of the classroom.
Story Time – During story time, teachers hone language arts, comprehension and listening skills by asking children questions about what they heard and saw. Stories are often related to current classroom topics or selected by the children.
Self-Responsibility – Children are encouraged to take care of their belongings including hanging up their bags and jackets and stowing away their work. They check themselves in on the attendance board by flipping over their pictures, wash their hands and then each student proceeds to a self-selected free play area. At the end of Choice Time, children help clean-up before settling in for story time.
Enrichment – Students transition in small groups once per week to special classes in Music, Studio Art and Science/Nature. The extended day for the morning class allows for more in-depth study and project work and for the integration of supporting field trips and other experiences.
Large Motor and Active Exploration – Children have an opportunity to develop large motor skills and safe play in the multi-purpose room and on the playground. They learn to appreciate nature and the outdoors through exploration on the playground, gardens and during Nature class.