Although we sing almost every day, our formal music program is offered on Thursdays. The music program is based around traditional and modern children’s songs from a variety of cultures and musical styles. We typically sing songs that follow the seasons, the calendar, and our topics of study in the classroom. Many of the songs incorporate interactive movement. In the spring we add an orchestra study in which the children see actual instruments up close, learn how and why they are classified in their groups in the orchestra, and learn to identify them by their sounds.
Our art program is offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The children explore many mediums, such as paint, clay, watercolors, markers, crayons, collage, and oil pastels. They practice a variety of skills such as coloring, cutting, gluing, and drawing. Our children then use these skills and materials to create seasonal and imaginative projects that are their own work with the least amount of adult assistance possible.
Dance is offered on Mondays. Through our dance program, the children learn to control the movement of their bodies through the space around them. They learn to express themselves through movement to a variety of traditional and modern children’s music. Scarves, hoops, and beanbags are used to encourage children to have fun and explore moving to rhythms. Our children learn a few simple choreographed dances as well throughout the year.
French is taught during circle on Thursdays. The children are introduced to speaking and understanding French by following the same circle routines they follow in English, thus leading to an immediate ability to participate in the language. We play a variety of games centered around basic preschool concepts; colors, counting, positional prepositions, etc. Our focus is on helping children to understand that there are many different ways to express themselves while expanding their understanding and acceptance of differences in cultures. Our French program is taught organically, using concepts and games that are familiar to the children. Our goal is not linguistic fluency but developing confidence and success in learning to use a foreign language for self-expression.
Our children are safely guided through exploring and learning about the natural world through a variety of activities and nature walks on the Mt. Airy campus. Our outdoor classroom space allows us to tune out the distractions of the modern world and learn to observe and listen to nature. Our students are encouraged to explore and interact with nature through hands on experiences that allow them to expand their knowledge and their appreciation of their environment. During Covid we are also using this space for outdoor lessons. We have modified a number of our basic preschool skills lessons to allow us to teach them in our outdoor space using natural materials.
Our social/emotional education program is presented formally once a week although we practice it every single day. While the social and emotional development of our students has always been one of the foundations of our curriculum, since the pandemic we have brought our treatment of these topics to the forefront. We teach the students how to identify and discuss their feelings, how their behavior and their words impact those around them, and how to appropriately engage with their peers and the adults in their world. We give them the language to discuss their feelings and resolve conflicts. We practice the verbal tools they need to interact positively with their peers. We help our students to develop self-confidence, a positive self-image, and empathy for those around them so that they can more successfully and independently navigate through their environment.