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Explorers 4s and 5s

Our 4s and 5s spend their days playing and learning. Here are the content areas we focus on over the course of a week.

We focus on two key areas when we share biblical concepts. The most important are those that center upon God’s unending love for humanity. Also important are the Proverbs that teach values such as honesty, forgiveness, and humility.

We want our students to be ready to use the dynamic tools of an ever-changing world to develop a healthy relationship to technology. We use it as a tool to extend hands-on activities and classroom themes, as well as enliven traditional teaching methods. Students who might be reluctant to count manipulates are intrigued by a delightful iPad program called “Counting Ants”. We use the iPad to spice up storytelling, practice letter formation, and facilitate reading comprehension. We learn to respect technology without being overtaken by it.

Beautiful picture books with rich language are always available and on display to encourage appreciation and enjoyment of reading. We believe stories connect us as people and connect us to our world. Language Arts at this level is empowering students to read and write so they can tell their story. This means practicing the technical skills: phonics recognition, pencil grip, letter formation, sounding out words, and daily reading time. This also means learning to develop narratives (first this, then this, then finally that) and confident self-expression. We collaborate on class books where children create story through dictation, pictures, and early writing. Students also tell their story by using hand puppets or some of our favorite iPad apps. Shared apps, like “Raz Kids,” let parents share the reading fun at home. We use “Handwriting without Tears”, and with all our practice, we aim to graduate fearless writers and storytellers.

We work on number recognition and basic fluency in mathematical operations. We practice addition, subtraction, and counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. We practice sorting and classifying, calendar skills, measurement, proportion, and analogy. We continue to develop a positive relationship to numbers so students are ready to tackle the academic challenges of math.

Hands-on activities drive our exploration of the natural world and natural rhythms of life. We have real-life observations of bugs, animals, and the life-cycles of butterflies, tadpoles, and plants with seasons. Baking and gardening provide practical work with chemistry and biology, and our play intuitively connects us to physics principles. We have regular lab activities, and late summer even finds us planting our very own pumpkin patch!

Early acquisition of a second language provides unique opportunity for cognitive development. We practice Spanish commands and authentic pronunciation during bi-lingual circle time. Students learn numbers, colors, songs, and rhymes. We use audio recordings to help children practice a second language and produce authentic pronunciation, as well. MUSIC We build a foundation for musical skills by our connection to rhythm and melody. Students experience music through comparisons (loud / soft, fast / slow), physical action, and written notation. Students learn to match a vocal pitch and keep a steady beat with their bodies and instruments Using model instruments and technology like Garage Band, we expose students to the different instruments and their sounds. We also have many talented parents who often visit to share their musical expertise in person!

Art is a beautiful invitation to play. Not only do we study the formation and the recognition of shapes and colors, but we use the materials to encourage wonder and creativity through experimentation. Students are often given pipe cleaners, tinsel, glue, paper, and scissors—encouraged to make what they want. Sometimes, we combine art and science with activities involving colored water, salt, ice, and guided play. When this happens, there is not only a glorious display of texture, color, and shape, but students learn the value of participating in the beauty of creation.

We talk about family, cultural traditions, and celebrations. To encourage good citizenships, we practice rules, manners, and respect for each other, consistently upholding the virtues of kindness and honesty.

Recess and physical activity are integral to preschool life at New Song. Children develop gross motor skills and directional awareness through running, jumping, flying class-made kites, stomp rockets, tag, and games. We have weekly visits from a Soccer Shots coach to develop basic soccer skills as well as practice character traits of teamwork and perseverance.