The Allen Creek Pre-K class, piloted as a 5's class in 2007, provides an 18 hour/week learning environment targeted to the the developing social, emotional, and academic needs of five-year old children. The class serves younger 5's the year prior to kindergarten or, for some children, an alternative to a kindergarten program.
Child Development is the Core of Our Approach
Research consistently shows that five-year-olds are developmentally closer to preschoolers than to elementary school age children. That is why, not long ago, kindergarten used to be a year designed for young children’s needs to be eased gradually into school routines, with an emphasis on play-learning and learning socialization skills. It is only in recent years, due to a new emphasis on early academic learning goals, that our demands on kindergarten-age children have dramatically shifted. Unfortunately this leaves many five year old children with less time for developing the essential skills of relating with others – of understanding, negotiation, compromise and collaboration. Yet relational and emotional skill development is among the best predictors of a child’s long-term success in development.
Emergent Curriculum and Project-Based Learning
With the freedom to follow their interests and passions, young learners develop academic skills by studying things in the world that interest them. Studies have shown that this type of learning, called “emergent learning,” is what best suits the five year old brain. In following and cultivating a child’s curiosity about a subject, we help him or her develop, in a natural and low pressure way, skills in literacy, math, science, geography, and other areas.
Small Class Size
Small class size ensures that a productive learning atmosphere is established in which individual ideas as well as group exchanges are valued and emphasized. Fives learn best when they feel valued by teachers, are confident the teachers will meet their basic needs promptly, and can count on the teachers to interact with them in ways that respect their individuality. The Pre-K Class teachers come to know each child well, meet them where they are developmentally, and enable them to reach goals that are both challenging and pleasurable to attain. Having a positive relationship with one’s teacher is correlated not only with school success during that year, but also tends to predict future school achievement as well.