Learning Through Life: Life skills, social skills and academic skills are the focus of our learning at Pre-K in the Park. We provide an opportunity to learn through the following areas:
Nature: Outdoor-based play, nourishing meals, and meaningful time in natural spaces free to explore forms the core of our program.
- Social: Our mixed-age small class (ratio 15 children to 3 adults) fosters an opportunity to be both the youngest of the group and the oldest of the group, with dedicated teachers providing continuity. We also learn through our community on field trips out into our town of Saratoga. We learn letters and numbers naturally as they appear to us as we walk through town. We have several community projects that we engage in as a class including collecting and donating to the local shelter, visiting the local nursing home, collecting coins for the homeless boxes in town and visiting the animal shelter. Part of learning to be a good person is learning to care for our community and practicing being a good citizen .
- Culture: We offer opportunities for parents to participate in school and offer stories, songs and stories from their own culture and we learn about each other. This is a more natural approach to learning about other cultures and languages. We offer this in an authentic way and how it is offered changes yearly.
- Creative Art Emphasis: Our program has a strong focus in imaginative play, storytelling, puppet shows, crafting, domestic arts, music, and singing.
- Domestic and Living Work: The children find joy and purpose in meaningful daily chores.
- Media and Technology Free: To support our program’s emphasis on activity-based learning, we provide a technology-free environment. Children are encouraged to be physically active and engage in creative play with natural materials.
- Small Class: A small class size allows the children to develop strong relationships with each other to deepen their learning as a group.
- Outdoor-based Learning: We strongly believe that outdoor learning offers the healthiest learning environment for pre-school-aged children’s development, including: understanding the seasons, practicing counting skills, earth science, and the greatest learning of all, learning from experimenting with movement to develop small and large gross-motor skills.
- Kindergarten Readiness: We believe that each age deserves the time to develop at an appropriate pace. This is why we offer learning throughout the year through songs, games, hands on learning and lesson work. We focus on “golden moments” when the children are asking questions and excited to learn. We offer the children opportunities to learn about the seasons, calendar, number recognition, letter recognition, letter sounds, shapes, and writing their name. When children leave our program they are prepared for kindergarten common core.
- Child-led Learning: Children who are eager to learn are not held back in our program. We do not ignore a child who already can write their name and wants to practice other words. We believe in child-led learning. A child who knows their numbers and wants to practice is allowed time to work on it. This also works in reverse. A child who is not interested in writing their name is never forced. We encourage, of course.
- Art Emphasis: We believe in art for children. It is a part of our daily and weekly rhythm.
- Fine Arts: Pastels, pencils, block crayons, watercolor, chalk, willow bark drawing, and earth art
- Hand Work Arts: Sewing, felting, repairing toys
- Lifeways Influence: Our daily lives carry a rhythm. A healthy rhythm offers a balance between work, play, and rest. Our curriculum incorporates the idea of daily work as an important part of a child’s life. Helping to set the table, put our rest mats away, sweep the floor, oil the wood table, hold the door open for others, wash the table and care for each other—this is human work and part of our school experience.