The Pre-Kindergarten Program

The Pre-Kindergarten Room provides a developmentally appropriate space for our four and five year olds. This room is set up on a daily basis with new activities to academically prepare our children for their future elementary school experiences. The room provides a more academic and structured program but still allows for the freedom and free choice of areas that interest individual children. The room is equipped with a variety of materials including those by Maria Montessori to help children learn through the use of all their senses. Along with the Montessori equipment a combination of traditional curriculum materials are organized on the shelves to help encourage the children to reach specific goals in basic mathematics and phonics.

 

Children who are four years of age prior to September 1st are automatically enrolled into a two, three or five times weekly, 60 minute Pre-Kindergarten class. This continues the “progression to structure” for children to adapt to formal education after attending Del Mar Hills Nursery School.

 


 



pre-kindergarten-page-image-1Through the senses, taste, smell, see and touch a “Radish” for “R”, the teacher can help students develop an understanding through fun activities exploring the alphabet.

 




 


Since many of the children are at our school for several years, we feel that they benefit by having a class to introduce more advanced activities.

 

Along with a variety of materials designed to promote the skills appropriate for four year olds, the room is equipped with materials developed by Maria Montessori to help children learn through the use of all their senses. The teacher guides the child through the progression of skills that the materials are designed to teach. There are three main groups of materials. The first group encourages sensory development with such things as sound cylinders and color tablets. Another group enables the child to get a good grasp of basic mathematics by using a variety of items for counting and numeral recognition. A third group teaches phonics through the use of the three-part lesson and the sense of touch.

 

The broad goals of the Pre-Kindergarten Program include learning to follow directions, finishing both teacher-assigned and self-directed tasks, and taking responsibility. The children are encouraged to choose their own activities, serve themselves snack, and to clean up both the snack area and room. More specific goals include work on letter recognition, phonics, knowledge of numerals and counting, the learning of their addresses and phone numbers, the ability to spell and write their first name, development of visual and auditory memory, development of listening skills, and work on logical thinking.

 


 




pre-kindergarten-page-image-2Very young learners are developing their understanding of the alphabetic principle — the understanding that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.

 



 


The amount of time available in this class allows the teacher to take advantage of the longer attention span of the four year old, while still acknowledging that it is less than that of a Kindergarten child. The hour in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom provides more time to do involved crafts, experiments, games and cooking. The teacher is available to work individually with each child, keeping track of progress on specific tasks and working on those areas that need more attention.

 

In conjunction with our open environment the Pre-Kindergarten Program we provide allows that balance the four year old child needs to encourage their cognitive, creative, social, and physical growth necessary for a successful future.

 


 


Montessori

Del Mar Hills Nursery School offers a variety of Montessori equipment and materials. Montessori recognizes in children a natural curiosity and desire to learn. The Montessori materials awaken this desire and channel that curiosity into learning experience, which children enjoy. Montessori materials help children to understand what they are learning by associating an abstract concept with a concrete sensorial experience. In this manner, the child is truly learning, not just memorizing. The Montessori materials stress that children learn and progress at their own pace so that fast learners are not held back, and slow learners are not frustrated by their inability to keep up. We value Montessori materials, but do not require our teachers to follow strict Montessori methodology.
Montessori: http://www.amshq.org