Each month we will have several different themes which we use as a way to teach language concepts (vocabulary such as: objects, actions and descriptive words, concepts of space, quality and quantity, function of objects, categories, 'wh' questions, speech sounds and to increase sentence length) and to provide a backdrop for opportunities to learn pre-academic concepts (shapes, colors, alphabet and numbers), fine motor skills (writing, cutting, puzzles, lacing, manipulating fasteners, 2-handed skills), large motor development (moving our bodies by walking forward, backwards, sideways and around obstacles; crawling; running; jumping; hopping; pedaling; balancing and climbing and using objects such as throwing, catching, rolling, kicking and bouncing balls); appropriate social-emotional behavior (playing with toys, playing and interacting with adults and peers; using appropriate behavior to express wants and needs; following classroom routines, participating in activities and transitioning between activities.) AND to have fun!
We do this through a variety of structured activities and learning centers involving choice making that also often involve lots of noise and mess. This is called active learning and it is how young children learn best. We use a program called, 'Handwriting Without Tears' which uses age appropriate activities to begin teaching young children fine motor skills which help develop early writing skills. The afternoon class will also use the Zoo-phonics Program which introduces children to the sounds of the letters of the alphabet through animal names and movements. Our Speech Therapist works weekly with our children and with the teacher and parapros to promote language through specific goals for each child and general activities for all children. There are also monthly speech and language skills that we focus on, such as oral-motor activities for the morning class and more advanced language skills for the afternoon class (such as: concepts of space, categories, rhyming, etc.). The Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist work individually with children who have specific OT and PT goals and at times do a group activity to incorporate fine and large motor skills in a game or table activity. We also have a Color of the Month and a Nursery Rhyme for each month.