Pre-Kindergarten Room

The Pre-K classroom is a fun and exciting place to be. The ratio in the classroom is 2 teachers to 20 children, 4 to 5 years old (including "Fall 5's"). Our unique, homelike environment is divided and organized into large, focused play centers. The room is arranged to keep the children busy and challenged. The walls display evidence of the activities and projects the children participate in throughout the day. We often hear visitors say how much they are impressed by the classroom's atmosphere and that the room is "really cool!"

The teachers use the Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences when planning classroom curriculum. Our experienced teachers plan the activities and curriculum to meet the needs of children as they learn the skills they need before entering kindergarten. These skills include: social skills that are necessary to be part of a group and to help them develop friendships, fine motor skills needed for writing, drawing and cutting, readiness skills for pre-reading, writing, math and reasoning, self-help and listening skills.

As the children arrive in the morning, they greet their friends and teachers, wave good-bye to mom or dad at the window and start their day! The room is arranged to allow for opportunities to learn through directed play. There is a diverse, unique approach to incorporating ongoing learning throughout the entire classroom. All areas of development are considered while teachers plan activities, circle times, small group times and when equipping the areas for free play.

The creative play area is arranged to incorporate the current curriculum. Some examples are; a flower shop, hospital, space shuttle, a campground, house, office and many more. This gives children an opportunity to explore the curriculum creatively. Children role-play, practice turn-taking, and expand on social interactions and collaborative play. As always, dress-up clothes, baby dolls, pretend food and dishes, a small table and chairs are available for the children to use.

Our science center allows children a chance to make discoveries and have hands-on learning experiences. The science center is theme related and is another link to the curriculum. Some themes include; the space unit, butterflies, gardening, ocean life, apples and pumpkins, a unit about our bodies and so much more! Some skills that are practiced and learned in the science center are collaborating with peers to make observations and predictions, compare and contrast and use their senses. Materials in the science center include magnifying glasses, paper, pencils, books, puzzles, posters and other theme related tools. Children also help care for classroom pets which include fish and hermit crabs.

The math area includes puzzles, counting and matching games, small blocks for building, sorting activities, and cards. The room displays graphs that the children create and posters to enhance the curriculum. Teachers do cooking activities with the children giving opportunities for following recipe directions, measuring and counting. Teachers and children use information discussed at circle times to make graphs and lists that compare, contrast and categorize.

The spacious block area is a favorite for the children. This area is equipped with large, wooden blocks (which are really fun!), wooden trucks, small unit blocks, card board blocks, cars, car mats and roads, trains, large floor puzzles and accessories such as pretend people, animals and dinosaurs for enhancing creative play. The blocks are in various shapes and sizes encouraging children to measure and compare, organize and sort, and recognize patterns and repeat them. Children use team work and creativity while building large houses, detailed structures (small and large), and while using the trains and cars. The large floor puzzles also encourage children to collaborate and work together.

Our book center is a cozy area with a home-like environment. The book area has a fluffy rug, small couch, chair and pillows giving the children a comfortable place to sit with their friends. A wide variety of books are available for children to look at alone or with their friends. There are story tapes with books and a tape player for children to use throughout the day. We have classroom photo albums with pictures of the children participating in classroom activities. There is a family book where each child makes a page with pictures from home giving children a chance to share pictures of their families with their friends. Children begin learning sight words and look at pictures to tell the story and enjoy "reading" their favorite stories.

Our art center has a wide variety of supplies for children to choose from throughout the day. Materials include: markers, scissors, paper, envelopes, magazines, colored pencils, stencils, stamps, chalk to use at the large chalk board and many more. There are opportunities for painting activities such as easel painting, water colors, sponge painting and finger painting. These activities encourage creativity and help to develop and strengthen fine motor skills. Other fine motor activities include home-made play dough and gak, floam, beads, k-nex, legos, Polly Pockets and more. Children use art and fine motor creations to communicate and socialize with teachers and peers.

Our writing program starts with a print-enriched environment. Objects are labeled around the classroom, there are books and posters throughout the room, and the classroom alphabet is made by the children and displayed for the children to see. Teachers read stories to the children at circle time and group time. We offer a huge variety of books and reading materials along with opportunities to choose books from the Book Mobile to read in the classroom. Our teachers use the Handwriting Without Tears program that is being used in many public school systems. This writing program uses a variety of materials that are fun and entertaining. Hands-on and multi-sensory activities help children develop pre-writing and writing skills. Our writing program is a lot of fun. Children learn writing skills using a variety of tools such as pencils, markers, crayons, paper, chalk, and magnets. Teachers work one-on-one and in small groups to address the different levels of writing within the classroom. The children practice these skills during play and free choice. For example, making grocery lists in the creative play area, making lists in the science center and copying words from around the room. During social interactions, children write together and talk about what they are writing with their friends. The classroom bulletin boards display the various levels of writing happening throughout the day.

Teachers plan an array of directed activities for circle time and small group time to enhance the curriculum. Our daily, interactive circle time is the "glue" of the curriculum and is a time for children to come together, share ideas and gather new information. Circle time and small group activities include theme related books and discussions, writing, art activities, graphing and charting, Weekly Readers, and circle songs and games. Circle time can also include sharing, a daily calendar, movement activities, musical instruments and special visitors. This is a time to practice listening skills and turn taking, and making new discoveries!

Our pre-kindergarten classroom has French doors that open to an attached back deck. This is a wonderful addition to the classroom. Children can use the deck for easel painting, floor puzzles, sand and water play, drawing and much more! Outdoor play is an important time for children to socially engage and exercise. There are two large outdoor playgrounds for the pre-kindergartners. One of the playgrounds is shared with the pre-school classroom. This gives the children a chance to visit with siblings and friends from the pre-school classroom. This playground has see-saws, climbers, slides, a large sandbox and a wooded area. There is a paved area for the children to ride bikes, scooters and use push cars. The "far" playground has a variety of climbing equipment. There are large wooden climbers, monkey bars, metal climbers, and plastic climbers. There is also a large, covered sandbox with trucks, buckets and digging tools. Children enjoy playing chase games and ball games with their peers. Children are welcome to bring bikes and helmets from home to practice their riding skills.

Attached to the playground is our classroom garden. The children plant seeds, water and care for the garden through spring and summer and into the fall. They watch pumpkins grow and pick cucumbers and green beans to eat at lunch. Children see first hand and document the garden's growth through still-life paintings, photos, counting and measuring. Gardening includes planting flower seeds, observing their growth and using them to decorate the center.

By the time children are pre-kindergartners, they have developed basic self-help skills. The teachers encourage children to continue practicing and to expand on these skills. There is an adult sized toilet and child-sized sinks available in the classroom. Each child has a hook to keep their personal belongings and outdoor clothing. Teachers help children practice zipping their coats, getting their shoes and boots on the correct feet and buttoning and snapping clothing. Children are able to serve themselves at meal time, pour their own milk from a small pitcher and often participate in making the meals by packing lunches before field trips, making special snacks and spreading their own cream cheese and butter on bagels.

To further enhance our curriculum we offer opportunities for field trips and social occasions. Mike the Music Man visits once a month to sing fun songs and do creative movement. Westford's Book Mobile visits every 3 to 6 weeks allowing children a chance to choose books for the classroom, learn about taking care of them and then return them to the Book Mobile. We have many field trips that include; apple picking, pumpkin picking, grocery shopping before our Thanksgiving Feast, trick-or-treating at the Westford Elderly Housing, the Butterfly Place, Davis' Farmland, hiking and others. We also do field trips to a swimming pool and the beach; participate in swimming lessons and our annual camp out at CCC, Inc! Our special events are a Chinese New Year celebration, Holiday Party and potluck suppers. The children are very involved in preparing for our special events and enjoy this time visiting with their friends, families and teachers.

Daily communication with parents is important for all children. Teachers communicate with parents at drop-off and pick-up to give a quick update of how your child is doing and how their day was. Our teachers write information in a notebook to keep all classroom teachers informed. A monthly newsletter is sent home to keep parents informed of the classroom curriculum and events. Progress reports are completed for you every 6 months. These reports give you information on your child's classroom interests, growth and development. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled as needed or per parent's request.

Pre-Kindergarten is a busy time for your child. Children are making important friendships, learning and mastering skills and enjoying time being a kid. Our caring teachers are there to encourage them as they try new activities, support children through social conflicts and give hugs when they fall and scrape their knees. Although they are the "big kids" at CCC, Inc. they need hugs and kind words, too!