In Pre-K, students spend most of the day engaged in play, which is how they learn best. The majority of the school day will be spent interacting with classmates and learning how to get along and share with peers. Demonstrating independence by taking care of personal belongings and doing things by oneself sets a foundation that is critical for self directed learning as the school year progresses. Managing impulses and remaining focused and engaged during class activities is a skill that will be worked on throughout the school year.
In the Pre-K class, language is the foundation on which every other subject area and skill come from. Consistent encouragement for students to speak in complete sentences, ask questions, increase vocabulary, and take turns in conversations are the primary focus. Students are expected to use words to describe feelings, events, ideas, and needs; as well as respond to the requests of adults and peers.
Pre-K students use math concepts daily when they count how many children are in a work area or a table and in the housekeeping area when they set the table with plates. They learn about shapes and their attributes in the block and art area, and how to identify shapes in our environment. They measure at the water table using containers and funnels, and in centers when using non-standard units to measure the length. Students also learn about patterns, and not only how to extend them but to create them as well using the calendar, art pieces, small toys, and large blocks. Sorting and classifying happen naturally when students begin to put all of the same objects together during clean up time or during small group lessons when they sort the bears by size.
The best scientists are Pre-K students. They enjoy asking “why?” and noticing ordinary things that they observe and have questions about. Everything fascinates them, from the rocks and ants they find on the playground to the reason they get wet in the rain, and they want to know something about it. Experiments happen frequently by trying solutions or ideas to see how they work…Will a boat sink? Will a penny float? How can I make a shadow?
Pre-K students also have to know about their own body. Learning the names of body parts, how to use the five senses to learn about the world around them, and how they have changed over time are important concepts for science lessons in kindergarten.
Pre-K students are just beginning to realize that there is more to the world than just “me.” This is demonstrated daily with practicing to respect one another and learning how to navigate our “school community.” Certain people have specific duties which is taught by having the students be a “helper” with specific duties to perform. Recognizing things that can be done to keep you safe and healthy, as well as taking care of the environment are skills that are practiced not only at school, but on the school bus, and on field trips.