Mt. Zion Preschool’s General Curriculum Guidelines
The classes for the younger children in our program, from 12 months through 30 months of age are divided into six-month increments, allowing us to keep developmental and skill levels closely grouped. The curriculum we use, The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood, is play-based and age-appropriate, and assures continuity over time for the children who go through our program. The children in these classes do not have to be potty-trained.
The 12-18 month olds will be learning how to manage separation from Mommy & Daddy for several hours at a time, as well as learning how to navigate in a room with other young toddlers. Our warm and loving teachers will help these older babies negotiate this period of separation and trust. The teachers at this age level will be busy encouraging each child’s emerging language skills and early peer social skills. These are all very big steps for your one year old!
The 18-24 month olds will have many opportunities to run and play, both indoors and out. These middle toddlers will be busy exploring the world around them. Language skill will continue to grow as the children hear stories and learn finger plays, rhymes, and songs. Puzzles, coloring, and watercolors will exercise those small muscles, while dancing and climbing will work on their bigger muscles. This will be a year of many changes as the children’s large motor skills become steadier, and their fine motor skills continue to mature.
The 24-30 month olds will enjoy learning Nursery Rhymes, simple games, and the exploration of art materials. They will grow at an incredible rate, moving from “babyhood” into “childhood.” Taking turns and sharing will continue to be a challenge for these older toddlers. As each child’s patience and attention span increases, there will be more opportunities for small group activities. Pretend play and dress-up will become a great way to spend their mornings at school. This is an exciting time for parents and teachers, as each day brings new growth and change.
The 2-½+ year olds will have many chances to use their ever-increasing desire for independence. They will be encouraged to make choices and decisions, and become more involved in taking care of their own needs. There will be many opportunities to use a variety of art materials during the day – cutting, tearing, pasting, painting, and coloring, In this class, the children will be progressively encouraged to participate in small group, and finally large group activities. As their play skills begin to move beyond parallel play, to more meaningful interaction, the children will learn how to solve problems, negotiate with one another, and use their language skills to make their wants and needs understood.
The curriculum in the younger portion of the program includes the following areas of exploration & development:
Some of the themes & units are Me, Friends, Families, Nursery Rhymes, Seasons & Holidays
Language arts skills include following verbal directions, listening to stories and responding to questions, increasing vocabulary, using pronouns, possessives, and plurals, repeating rhymes, and learning songs
Pre-Math skills such as recognizing same and different, distinguishing between one and more than one, recognizing descriptive differences like big/little, tall/short, over/under
Fine motor skills using blocks, peg boards, beads for stringing, pasting, tearing paper, “Play Doh”
Gross motor skills jumping, dancing, climbing, pedaling, throwing, and catching
Social skills development learning to be happy away from home and family, making friends, trusting teachers, becoming more confident in a group, sharing, taking turns, and following and anticipating class routines
The Preschool’s Older Classes
The children in this portion of our program are 3, 4, and 5 year olds. The curriculum we follow for our classes provides progressive, age appropriate activities, offering program continuity, while children move from the 3 year-olds, into the 4 year-olds, and if indicated, to the young 5 year-olds class. The Creative Curriculum provides the basis for all planned activities in a play-based environment.
The curriculum for the 3 year-olds includes some of the following areas of exploration and development:
Some of the themes & units are Home & Family, Real & Make Believe, Good Nutrition, Bears-Bears-Bears, Things That Go, and more
Language Arts skills such as extending vocabulary, recognizing rhymes, recognizing name in print, listening for information, recalling details in stories, following directions with more than one step, learning color names and shape names
Math skills including block building, identifying shapes, drawing shapes, counting objects, demonstrating an understanding of number concepts for from zero through five, sorting and classifying objects, determining greater than and less than
Fine motor skills are snipping, cutting on a line, stringing beads, pegboards, puzzles, Play Doh, painting, and drawing
Gross motor skills include running, jumping, hopping on one foot, climbing, pedaling, and dancing
Social skills development include being part of a group, understanding the difference between real and pretend, good manners, the importance of giving, sharing, working together, honesty, promises, and taking care of God’s world
The curriculum for 4 year-olds includes some of the following areas of exploration & development:
Some of the themes & units are Making New Friends, Dinosaurs, The Four Seasons, Farms, Native Americans, My Community, Plants, Butterflies & Birds, and Under the Sea
Language arts skills include recognizing printed letters and letter sounds, opposites, rhyming words, using left to right progression, recognizing their first and last name in print, sequencing story cards, and listening for information
Math skills practiced by counting and recognizing numbers from zero to twenty, comparing size, sorting by more than one attribute, following and creating patterns, recognizing sets of greater than and less than, recognizing equal and unequal sets, and simple graphing
Fine motor skills improve when block building, writing, drawing, painting, handling smaller manipulative materials, lacing, pegboard, beads, etc.
Gross motor skills include running, jumping, tumbling, skipping, hopping, climbing, throwing, catching, and kicking a ball, teamwork during group games
Social skills development is improved by working together, learning the importance of sharing, recognizing that we are all God’s children, we are all different & the same, understanding that sometimes we talk and sometimes we listen, and by learning to control and talk about our feelings.
Our Young Fives Class
The young fives class is designed for the child with a summer birthday; the child who might not be emotionally or socially mature enough for the rigors of a full-day public kindergarten. This unique class will allow the older preschooler an extra year to master the social, emotional, and academic readiness skills that will carry through the child’s entire school career. There will be many opportunities to learn about the importance of personal responsibility. This class is NOT intended to prepare a child for 1st grade! The Young Fives class is a “bridge” from a half-day preschool setting to a full-day, regular kindergarten classroom experience. The first half of the year the structure and routine will be very similar to an older 4 year-old classroom. There will still be ample time for play, because young five year olds still have difficulty sitting still for extended periods of time. However, the second half of the year the pace will pick up, in order to keep these 5 year- olds excited and engaged in learning.
Each child in this class must be 5 years old on or before September 1st of the school year. This is a 4 hour class, from 9:30am to 1:30pm.
Some of the themes & units might be Fire Safety, My Amazing Body, Hibernation, Naps & Sleep, Our World in the Solar System, Tall Tales & Funny Stories, and Kites & the Wind
Language arts skills such as listening for information, retelling a story, describing and comparing objects, translating ideas into pictures or actions, using left to right progression in reading words and in writing, following multiple step directions, and participating in class discussions
Math skills include one to one correspondence from zero to twenty, manipulating sets and regrouping, recognizing numerals from zero to 31, sequencing
Fine motor skills such as cutting shapes, writing, duplicating a drawing, painting, using stencils, doing dot-to-dot pictures, continuing to use manipulative materials
Gross motor skills develop with many more opportunities for team play & group skills
Social development skills such as helping one another, cooperating to solve a problem, helping to generate the class rules, and following those rules