There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind. – C.S. Lewis
With the beginning of school comes many different emotions. This is never more true than with our Pre-K 3 families. For many this is their first exposure to formal education. We are lucky here at St. James to be able to combine our Creative Curriculum with Handwriting Without Tears in a way that provides a very supportive environment. Our first unit, Beginning of the Year, combines nicely with the beginning stages of reading, writing, name recognition and phonetic awareness. The children also participate in two enrichment classes, Music and PE, as well as our daily chapel time. We believe mixing our unique scheduling with lots of playtime and laughter supports the whole child - mind, body, and soul.
Our Beginning of School unit uses familiar nursery rhymes to help explain the routines, social skills, and rules that we use at school. For our first week we start with the question, “What names do we need to know at school?” Learning the names of our friends and our teachers helps us feel like we belong to a community. We explored this concept using Humpty Dumpty and Three Little Kittens. The children had a blast searching our room for their “lost” name mittens.
Our second week covered the question, “What should we do if we get sad or scared at school?” A little dramatic play with Little Miss Muffet helped us discuss our fears and thrive in our new environment. We had a blessing this year as we found a box turtle on our property during our “sad/scared” week. Due to the flexibility built into our curriculum we were able to explore our turtle. We learned what he eats, how he lives, as well as how he defends himself. We used our explorations to introduce “Tucker the Turtle” - a self-regulation technique. We then took a walk and said bye to our “Tucker”.
As I mentioned, part of our unique schedule is our enrichment classes that the children travel to during the week; Music and PE. Music is a wonderful way for the children to explore many concepts including rhythm, sound, and rhyme. PE is a great way to develop our gross motor skills as well as our cognitive learning. We have to learn to follow multi-step directions and wait our turn. We are learning that organized games can actually be fun and exciting.
All in all, we have had a very busy couple of weeks here in Pre-K 3. We have had some tears and some struggles as we grow but we have also had joy and love. I look forward to what the future will bring these lovely, bright minds. See you in a few weeks!