Our 5 Star Rated Preschool Program
The Conotton Valley Preschool classes are taught by professionally licensed teachers who meet the highly qualified teacher standards set by the Ohio Department of Education for serving both children with special needs and typically developing preschool children. The special needs teacher is assisted by a paraprofessional who participates in ongoing professional training in the area of early childhood development and education. Special education students may receive services with a licensed speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or school psychologist as per individual education plans.
The Power of Play
Years of research on children’s learning and development document the many benefits of play for children’s intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and language development. Children at play are actively involved in creating, exploring, problem solving, and sharing understandings.
Children play in many ways. They play independently, sometimes near each other but with each child engrossed in their own activity. They engage in parallel play where they share toys and possibly conversation, but not coordinating their play. They also play cooperatively where they organize roles and scenarios for group play. All play is valuable and as children get older their play is expected to become more cooperative and coordinated.
As children play they learn to see different points of view and begin to be more empathetic and caring. They begin to understand customs and rules from their own culture and appreciate those of others. They learn to use language in new ways as they interact verbally and recall/ describe their own play. During play children develop their muscles and coordination.
Adults support play by providing space, opportunity, and materials. Centers are set up to invite and allow play without fear or danger. Time is given for children to choose and become engaged in their own play activities.
Play is fun. Play is also serious business that pays big dividends to its eager young investor.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Children learn through direct interactive experiences and they learn an extraordinary amount through play and exploration. Learning needs to be relevant and interesting to the child in the present time in order for them to engage in productive interaction with adults, peers, and materials.
The Conotton Valley Preschool program is based on our knowledge of child development, the importance of play, and the developmentally appropriate practices that allow for individual growth and development for each child within our classroom environment. The program utilizes materials, curriculum, student background information, parental involvement, networking, and experience to create a learning environment where our students can learn and grow in a safe and uninhibited, exploratory classroom.
The daily schedule is a combination of structured and unstructured “choice” play activities that are flexible in order to meet the needs of the individual children. Activities that your child will be engaged in throughout the day includes experimentation and exploration in the following areas:
- Art Center In the art center children will use materials such as crayons, paint, and paper but more importantly the experience includes sensory exploration and various medias that foster creativity and fine motor practice. With an emphasis on use of materials, creativity, and a final product children are free to explore and try different kinds of creative tools. The art center is full of color, textures, tools for grasping and manipulating, and a place where creativity is free to explore.
- Fine Motor Manipulatives Mathematics employs a manipulative, action-oriented curriculum. This approach involves the use of real materials that can be physically manipulated by the child. Some concepts include sorting, ordering, counting, and one-to-one correspondence counting.
- Computer/ IPADs Each preschool classroom is equipped with 3 IPads for student use. The IPads contain various learning games, stories, musical apps, and writing practice templates. They are a great tools for introducing and enhancing technological skills for our students.
- Dramatic Play Children need environments where they can explore relationships with peers using physical props to act out situations as they perceive the world around them. The dramatic play area offers many opportunities for dramatic, cooperative, and exploratory play.
- Block Center Blocks stimulate cognitive development by providing opportunities for problem solving, vertical, horizontal, and enclosed space exploration, hand-eye coordination, balance, and the ability to focus in a close visual field.
- Library/ Book Center In the classroom environment much time is spent on phonological awareness. Children become aware of rhyme and beginning and ending sounds in words. Children are encouraged to articulate their wants, needs, and feelings. Children’s literature is provided in order to connect the written word to all areas of the curriculum, develop an appreciation and understanding of stories, and to allow opportunity for children to use books correctly as they begin to know how to turn pages, use a left to right and top to bottom pattern, and use picture cues to help with story structure. The writing center allows opportunity for drawing, prewriting skills, writing names, and formation of pictures, letters and words.
- Sensory Tables Sensory tables are used to enhance textures and explore the behaviors of various materials as they are sifted, poured, shaken, molded, and handled. Children are engaged as they feel the texture of rice, sand, and water. They practice cutting skills as they snip paper strips or enhance fine motor development as they build with legos.
- Independent Work Stations Science is continuous wondering, finding out, knowing, doing, and making sense of it all. Children have daily opportunities to predict, explore, try, and find out what happens when an object is manipulated or changed with respect to other objects or events. Science can help young people see the world from different perspectives.
Table work: This time is devoted to working in a group on a variety of fine motor, cognitive, and listening skills.
Circle Time: This is a shared experience in which the teacher listens to the children, shares with the children, and the children interact with each other. Language development is highly emphasized during this time through stories, games, music, and other planned activities.
Meals/Snack Time: Be sure to alert staff of any food allergies or special dietary considerations on the medical information sheet. Snack time includes the establishment and maintenance of table manners, skills of passing food, serving with a utensil, pouring drinks, and cleaning up. Table discussions foster language development and group participation.
Free Time/ Creative Play: The classroom environment is designed to be interesting and inviting for children to explore and pretend in their play. Children choose the activities that interest them. They are free to move from one activity to another. Peer interaction, social skills, and language development are among the learning domains that are incorporated in independent exploration.
Music & Movement: Exploration of sounds, rhythms, and body movements is natural for children as they actively respond to the sounds and rhythms. Music and movement in preschool helps children develop skills related to music, group interaction, teamwork, emotional exploration, expression, listening, and following directions. Individual Work: The child and the teacher work together on the areas in which he/ she needs additional help. During this time students are able to work on their individual progress toward goals.