We base our teaching curriculum on the premise that children learn while they are playing, or “academics through play”. Play is essential during the early years as children “learn how to learn”. As they indulge their natural inclinations to explore, investigate and experiment through developmentally appropriate play, they acquire the fundamental knowledge they need for their future.
Stepping Stones Preschool curriculum is centered on the Arizona State Early Learning Standards in early education, using the High Scope method of teaching. HighScope’s educational approach emphasizes “active participatory learning.” Active learning means students have direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Children’s interests and choices are at the heart of HighScope programs.
We assess children in the Arizona State Educational standards of social and emotional learning, fine arts, language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, health and physical development including gross and fine motor areas.
- Social and Emotional learning includes assessing and helping children grow in their knowledge of self, in their understanding of responsibility, in social interactions with others and developing a child’s confidence, problem solving abilities, creativity, persistence, initiative and curiosity.
- Fine arts includes dramatic play, music, creative movement and creative visual arts using a wide variety of materials, media, tools, techniques and processes to explore and create.
- Language and literacy includes oral language development, and pre-reading development of print awareness, vocabulary development, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and book handling skills.
- Mathematics awareness and instruction is represented in patterns, data analysis, number sense and operations, logic, measurement, spatial relationships and geometry.
- Science inquiry is encouraged through observations, questions, hypotheses, and analysis: conclusions are valued and assessed. The outside environment, recycling, life cycles of plants and animals, and other topics initiate discussions and classroom activities.
- Social Studies include discussions on family identity, diversity, government, money, community, environment, and time.
- Health includes helping children understand good personal hygiene, nutrition, physical activity, safe play, and taking care of personal needs.
- Physical and motor development stresses skills in gross motor development, body awareness and spatial awareness, balance and controlled movements. Equally important is fine motor development including eye-hand coordination, hand and finger strength, and manipulation of small objects and tools like pencils, markers and scissors. Both areas are stressed equally in our curriculum.
Our Daily Routine:
(10 minutes) Greeting time provides a smooth transition from home to school and gives children and adults a chance to share important information for the day.
(10 minutes) Children indicate what they choose to do during work time (typically what they will do first). Adults try to understand children’s plans and often try to help them develop problem-solving skills.
(45 minutes to 1 hour) Children carry out their initial and subsequent plans. Children can work with any of the materials in any of the interest areas. Adults observe children and look for opportunities to enter into children’s activities to encourage their thinking, extend their play, and help them develop problem-solving skills.
(10 minutes) Children and adults together return materials and equipment to their storage spaces and, when appropriate, put away or find display space for their personal creations. Yes, at preschool, children do clean up!
(10 minutes) Recall brings closure to the planning-work time-recall sequence. Children reflect on, talk about and/or show what they have done at work times.
SNACK TIME (snack is provided)
(20 minutes) Children and adults share nutritious food and interesting conversation together in a relaxed manner.
LARGE GROUP TIME
(15 minutes) Children and adults get together to play games, tell and reenact stories, sing songs, do finger plays, dance, play musical instruments, or discuss recent special events. This time is an opportunity for each child to participate in a large group, sharing ideas, and learning from the ideas of others.
SMALL GROUP TIME
(15-20 minutes) Each adult meets with a small group of children to work with materials planned and introduced by the adult. Although the adult chooses and introduces the materials, each child has control over what he or she can do with these materials.
(20-30 minutes) Children spend time outside with adults as they strengthen their large motor skills, explore nature, and develop social skills during outside time.