Senior Preschool 5 Day
The Allen Creek Senior Preschool 5 Day class, begun in 2007 as the 'Fives Program', provides an 18 hour/week learning environment targeted to the the developing social, emotional, and academic needs of older four-year and younger five-year old children the year prior to kindergarten.
The school believes that a year of a program like this, before entering kindergarten, can be a year of solid grounding for the transitions and growth to follow. While some children leave our Senior Preschool for kindergarten, others, whether by birth date, parental preference, or the nature of the child, stay for an additional year.
What makes Allen Creek's Senior Preschool 5 Day Class different?
At the root of Allen Creek’s approach is a focus on developing a sense of self and the self in relation to other people. This includes a sense of agency, confidence, growing empathy, and connections to others. Who am I? Who are we? What are the ways I can relate to others in my family, my class, my school, and my community? As children develop and become more ready to broaden the range of relationships into the world around them, this last question becomes more important.
The class will embark on regular, thoughtfully crafted trips into the community, choosing and returning to places and spaces where children become familiar with a variety of people and environments in their immediate world. Through the creation of this wider classroom, children will gain skills in the learning process and confidence in developing and sustaining relationships. They will develop notions of inquiry and communication, as well as a sense of the wider world, and engage with a rich set of hands-on experiences in math, science, art, and other curricular areas.
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 four-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.
As part of the process of emergent learning, children in the class will bring their experiences back to the school, process them, build on them in a variety of ways, and make meaning from them. This feeds into the final area of focus: story-telling. The making and telling of stories, whether written, spoken, performed or drawn, further develops ideas about and skills in language, literacy, communication, and organization of ideas, as well as being integral to making sense of the world and our place in it.
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.
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
A Core Part of the Allen Creek Program
The class is an integral part of Allen Creek Preschool and includes Creative Arts, Community Sing, play and outside time, and rich interactions with other children and adults at the school. The class size is purposefully small, which will allow us to explore the community and fully realize the vision for the class.