Each preschool classroom is a community of approximately 25 children and two teachers with an assistant shared between two classes. The children remain with the same teachers for three years. This means that every year, only one-third of the children will be in the learning environment for the first time. The older and more experienced children assist the teachers in caring for and helping the new children, gaining self-esteem as they become the leaders in the classroom. Over the course of the three year program, the teachers will learn each child’s strengths, weaknesses, anxieties, and goals. They monitor each student’s progress presenting sufficient challenges for each one.
Learning at an incredible rate, preschoolers are intensely interested in what the classroom environment offers. They discover from the start that learning can be fun. We give lessons to each child individually or in a small group. The child can then choose the materials to practice alone and to eventually gain mastery.
Teachers in the classroom function more like guides or facilitators by preparing the beautifully arranged classrooms, presenting the materials, and helping each child to achieve mastery. They encourage the child’s innate desire for independence. Through this interactive process the children develop kindness, courtesy, self-control, and self-discipline; all necessary traits to become accepted members in our society. The teacher also helps the child learn to question, seek answers, and explore various possibilities for solutions to problems. Preschool children receive lessons in all of the specific areas of practical life, mathematics, language arts, visual arts, music, cultural studies, sensory perception and gross and fine motor development. Lessons are limited to brief presentations to provide the most clear and basic information. At first, just enough is said to capture the child’s interest and imagination. Often the teacher will expand the lesson at another time as the child continues to work with the materials on his/her own. It is often the child’s interest which sparks the new lesson. All areas of study are appealing to the children because of the beautifully made hands-on materials. Teachers are also careful to observe the children, providing experiences and lessons which are of particular interest to them. The classroom changes from week to week continuing to evolve and develop to meet the needs of each child.
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