Literacy and Numeracy
Morning meeting plays a major role in literacy and numeracy development. Singing, chanting, reciting poems, and sharing news from home foster oral language development and aural discrimination. The teacher's written morning message provides an introduction to basic concepts of print (directionality, spacing, punctuation) as well as letter identification and letter-sound correspondence and extends problem-solving skills by requiring students to decode a rebus or unfamiliar word in the message. Children develop the ability to identify predictable text through daily exposure to the printed calendar and schedule board and develop early numeracy awareness through filling in the calendar and tracking attendance, weather trends, and the number of days school has been in session. Interactive games involving patterning and counting are also an important part of morning meeting.
Children in both pre-k and k receive direct instruction in letter identification and letter formation in more structured language arts activities, and hear many, many books read aloud. Classroom environments are print rich and number rich, and designated math and language centers offer daily activity choices. In kindergarten, children also have writing, reading, and math workshops each week, in which they engage in more in-depth, skill-specific activities as well as small group reading insruction appropriate to their level. Every thematic unit taught in pre-k and k is designed to offer opportunities to develop literacy and numeracy skills.
Exploring Their World
Young children are natural scientists; they experiment freely with the world they encounter, note the results, and create new experiments, all the while developing theories about the way things work. They are curious and often astute social anthropologists, observing the people around them and absorbing the cultural values of school and the wider world. The pre-k and k curricula provide a wealth of opportunities, both structured and unstructured, for children to extend and enhance these skills. Designated science and sensory centers allow children to observe, manipulate, and create using familiar and unfamiliar media. Frequent interactions with the natural and human worlds foster a sense of mission and discovery. We take advantage of our woodland setting; a great deal of the science curriculum centers on this environment, and we venture forth in all weather, warm or cold, wet or dry. When we complete our wanderings, we always return to homebase in the classroom to share our thoughts about the day.