In preparation for Kindergarten our four and a half and five year old’s participate in a daily mini lesson separate from the younger children. The lesson is brought to the children in several different developmentally age appropriate ways such as movement, tactile sensory activities, games and stories. We practice letter recognition, sounds and rhyming, pronunciation, sequences, patterns, shapes and counting. We use a variety of natural materials for our counting, patterns and tactile work including hand felted balls and pinecones, acorns and chestnuts the children have collected during their outdoor time.
Creative Free Play
Children in the Little Chestnuts classroom are given the freedom to engage in imaginative free play both indoors and outdoors daily. Our classroom has wood toys and other natural materials to enhance this play time. Children are able to build a variety of things with the wood trestles and building blocks using silks and cloth blankets. If children feel overwhelmed during this time or need a break we have a cozy corner where they can grab a book and look at it in the teepee or simply just lay down for a rest.
During our outdoor freeplay the children are able to explore the nature that surrounds them. They use pinecones, chestnuts, leaves and sticks for fairy houses, gnome homes and many other imaginative things. The only thing that we bring with us to the park are baskets for the children if they would like to collect or gather things and to this day, we have yet to have a child tell us they’re “bored.” Nature provides them with all of the “toys” that they need.
Children participate in a daily morning circle where they are able to joyfully greet the day through seasonal songs, verses, finger games and movement. Through movement the young child becomes more aware of their body, developing a sense of boundary from where they end and begin. Confidence, security and gross motor skills are developed through playful movement during good morning circle. Through all of this playfulness and imagination there is still a sense of order that is achieved each day.
Storytime and Puppetry
Story time and Puppetry are big influences in our daily curriculum. The beauty of language is introduced through stories and the well thought out verses in puppetry. Children learn sequence and repetition through stories, while also getting to create their own pictures using their imagination.
We use therapeutic storytelling to bring particular images, ideas or lessons necessary for the child in our class. We cater these therapeutic stories to the classroom and what we see. For example, if children are having a hard time sharing we will tell a story about sharing and how and why we do it. Puppetry connects with children and encourages creativity in their play. Parents are able to experience these magical puppet shows at various events throughout the year.