6 weeks-1 year
The children in this classroom are our youngest children, typically ranging in age from 6 weeks through 24 months. The teachers meet the basic needs of each child while encouraging them to develop independence in their own time. Once it becomes appropriate, children are encouraged to begin putting on their own clothes and shoes, setting up their sleep areas and sharing their activities and toys. Curriculum in this classroom involves play and exploration. Children at this age often respond to highly tactile activities that develop both gross and fine motor skills. Children also enjoy caring for ‘babies’ (dolls) which they teach themselves to carry and wrap. These skills lead to greater interaction, sharing and peer bonding as they move into more independent classrooms.
The children in the Explorers classroom range in age from 24 to 36 months at times remaining past that age depending on our census. Children in this classroom work on a variety of skills. As their language begins to rapidly develop they are encouraged to use words in order to get things that they need, to explain their frustrations and emotions and to communicate with peers and adults. These children’s level of independence continues to increase and they begin to learn to dress themselves, serve themselves food, and use the bathroom independently. Academics in this classroom include exposure to thematic art, literature and science projects. Significant attention is paid to the development of the group as a unit with individual personalities reflected.
The Trailblazers classroom is also sometimes referred to as our young preschool. The majority of children in this classroom are between 3 and 4 years old. The Trailblazers focus on a variety of self-care skills throughout the year including: independent use of the bathroom, calm and patient social interactions which promote sharing and effective use of language to have specific needs met, and burgeoning independence in other areas. Academic investigation is very hands on. Typical explorations have focus on volcanoes in ‘science’, sorting and categorizing as well as creating patterns and measuring in ‘math’ and exposure to literacy and language development in a variety of ways through books, sing along and read-a-loud. Creative expression in the form of dramatic play and role playing allows children to practice many of their social skills in a play based setting.
The Navigators are generally 4 and 5 years old (the year prior to kindergarten). Group dynamics, social skills and pre-literacy skills are important elements of the curriculum as well as the continued encouragement of curiosity across all academic settings. Children begin using materials that they will have more frequent use of in public school, ‘writing’ in journals, tracking and graphing various types of information that they identify as a group and identifying patterns and trends in those activities.