The Preschool Room cares for up to eighteen children each day from ages three to six years. We have a minimum of two teachers in the classroom at all times. We usually have three teachers in the classroom in the mornings through quiet rest time which is often the busiest time with activities and transitions. We also have individual aides in our classroom as needed for our children with various special needs. All of our preschool staff have degrees or CDA certificates and maintain current First Aid and CPR Training.
In the Preschool Room at ACC we believe in the philosophy of constructivism which means having the classroom center around exploratory learning. Children learn through play. Children are constantly exploring, manipulating, experimenting, and observing their environment during solitary and social play. We support children's learning by creating environments (learning/play areas) which offer many child-centered activities, encourage independence, and represent what the children are interested in. The teachers facilitate learning through involvement in the children's play and asking open-ended questions. We observe Vermont Early Learning Standards and support children in gaining knowledge in all the domains of academic learning like math, the sciences, social studies, geography, literacy development, social development, etc. We do this by supporting children to explore their interests through play and challenging children to stay within their zone of proximal development so that their learning emerges with their confidence.
Our classroom supports all areas of child development as described in the following activities:
Physical Development is supported with both fine and gross motor activities. Fine motor skills are supported through art work and manipulative toys such as puzzles, Legos, Tinker Toys, etc. Gross motor skills and coordination are supported with activities such as dancing, walking in the woods, ride-on-toys, and movement games. Our outdoor climbing structure also supports Gross Motor Development.
Emotional Development is supported by allowing children to express their feelings, positive reinforcement of positive behavior, and providing comfort and guidance as needed through interactions and activities.
Social Development is supported by allowing children to work on their social skills through interactions with others. Preschoolers exhibit social growth by exploring dual ownership (learning to recognize group ownership of a toy), listening to and respecting others' words, recognition and respect of personal space and by learning to use language as a tool to cope with stress. These skills are supported by the opportunities we provide with Dramatic Play activities.
Cognitive Development is supported by providing activities such as games, science experimentation, estimation activities, reading books, writing, and many other activities we provide in our classroom. Dramatic play also helps to develop communication and problem solving skills as well as to develop an understanding of people and of their relationship to the world.
Creative Development is supported by providing children with many different types of art materials. We focus on the process of art, not the product so we may not always have a "finished product" to display, depending on the activity and materials used.
Self Help Skills are encouraged by participation in cleaning up the classroom, dressing themselves as much as possible, and choosing a classroom job to help each day.
Our role as teachers is to provide an environment in which children are comfortable expressing themselves, exploring the world, and playing with peers.