Overview: The most important thing children should develop in their early years is belief in themselves and their world. Our program strives to reinforce the confidence and trust of children in themselves and the people they meet. Warm and loving relationships come first and are the basis for all the learning experiences that the program provides. We are committed to helping each child develop a sense of self-worth, a respect for his or her own needs and rights, as well as the needs and rights of others.
We provide guidance and encouragement to each child with a healthy, supportive, and accepting atmosphere, one that cultivates enthusiasm and discovery. We try to stimulate within each child the desire to learn, to observe and to explore, to gain an understanding of the world. We provide firsthand experience and activities appropriate to each child’s interest and developmental level. We hope to foster positive attitudes toward the school experience and lay an educational foundation that supports learning in later years.
We believe children need to explore the world, observing, examining and questioning the things around them.
Methods: We encourage meaningful communication and imaginative self-expression. Through storytelling, reading, circle conversation, sharing, dramatic play, and individual conversation with peers and adults, our program contributes to the child’s development of listening and speaking skills, critical and creative thinking, visual and auditory skills and hand-eye coordination.
Our program attempts to help each child develop the skills and understanding needed for quantitative thinking and to make the transition from perception to problem solving. By the time each child has completed the Pre-K program our goals in mathematics are to establish the meaning of number concepts through actual usage, to help each child learn to organize things into groups, count in sequence and recognize the numerals from 1 to 20, and to understand the use of shapes, patterns, measurements, and designs in concrete and representational form.
We believe that a child will gain an understanding and knowledge of basic scientific concepts best through observation and exploration, therefore we encourage a scientific attitude through questions, discussion, simple investigation, and evaluation of information. Interactions with the Director’s dog, Scout encourage children to observe and help with family pets. Neighborhood walks and field trips to nature centers help the child develop an appreciation and respect for all living things.
Children are also encouraged to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings through the use of a wide variety of art materials. In these activities, a child will explore the use of materials and develop confidence in the creative process. Each child will also learn to recognize colors, shapes, line, form, texture, and design, and to develop the small motor skills needed for writing and drawing.
A special session each week for music and rhythms, taught by a music specialist, provides the children with an opportunity to respond to ideas and feelings expressed through music and to introduce them to various instruments and genres of music.
We strive to help each child learn to control and enjoy his/her body, to learn and use safety concepts, develop motor skills and a sense of spatial awareness, balance and coordination. Weekly fitness and sports sessions are included in the program January through March by Jump Bunch. Outdoor activity on playgrounds with climbing apparatus, swings and riding toys is scheduled each day.
We are preparing our students for life within a global community, by incorporating foreign language learning, usually French or Spanish, and appreciation for other cultures into the daily rhythm of the classroom. We focus on functional acquisition of concepts that are relevant for our preschoolers.
Our intentional virtues curriculum fosters the development of empathy, inclusivity, courage and other virtues through role modeling, play acting and catching children in acts exhibiting those virtues. These virtues are lived out daily in the classroom and through community service activities for the entire preschool community. Pre-K students make bagged lunches for a local homeless shelter monthly beginning in January.
PRE-K: In preparation for transitions that begin with elementary school, the Pre-K classes rotate between their classrooms once a month beginning in January to receive lessons in language arts, science and math. In this way, each child benefits from the expertise of each teacher and classroom set-up. Pre-K students are encouraged to take part in the Extended Day program to prepare them for the rigors of being at school for a longer day.
Resources: CCUMC prepares children for the rigors of the area’s public and private schools keeping in mind the expectations outlined in Montgomery County Public School’s curriculum.
The Preschool uses the “Handwriting Without Tears” method for developing children’s coloring, drawing, counting and handwriting readiness. The method can be viewed at www.hwtears.com.
By the end of October teachers send a brief written assessment of each child to parents by the end of October. Individual parent teacher conferences are held in January at which time classroom activities and the progress of each child is discussed. At other times, parents are encouraged to discuss any concerns they may have with their child’s teacher and/or with the Director.