At St. Luke, we believe that preschool children learn best through play. Our preschool program provides an enriched and nurturing environment for 3-5 year-olds that encourages children to observe, be active, make choices, and experiment both individually and in groups. Our students continue to develop their self- esteem, problem solving skills, language development and the ability to work cooperatively with others. Our students will experience activities in all areas of learning to ensure they are ready for kindergarten. The beginning basic beliefs of the Catholic faith are introduced using the “Stories of God’s Love” curriculum. We start each day with a prayer and say grace before meals.
We use the Learning Without Tears curriculum which offers a multi-sensory and active participation approach to the understanding and development of language, writing, and mathematical concepts.
Here is a list of developmental skills children learn from each play center in the classroom:
Students learn letter recognition through a print-rich environment. Books are always available to the children and stories are read daily. Memory recall and comprehension is developed when children are asked questions about stories. Students learn to recognize their names in print and practice writing them daily. A writing center is also available where children explore with different types of writing materials.
Students learn about the world around them as we go on walks and discover nature, talk about the weather, make predictions, and use their senses to experiment with colors and various materials.
Students practice counting, sorting, measuring, estimating, graphing and work with geometric shapes and manipulative toys in the classroom. Puzzles are a great way to build and strengthen problem solving and spatial awareness skills. We count daily and work on number recognition when we review the calendar and engage in planned activities revolving around our theme of the week.
Since research shows that children develop from their large muscles down to their fine muscles, our students have daily opportunities to develop their muscle strength and coordination in our gym and our outdoor play yard. It is important to work on fine motor skills so their little hands become strong enough for printing. Learning to use scissors, molding play dough and encouraging self-help skills such as buttoning and zipping are some of the ways we help students develop in this area.
Students learn to be creative. Art is pleasurable and challenging. It engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops cognitive, social-emotional and sensory motor skills. Math, science and literacy can be developed through art as well.
Students have time to engage in both role play and pretend play. This promotes the development of both social and language skills through interaction with others. They make use of pictures in their minds to recreate past experiences, which is a form of abstract thinking.