Pre-School Program

Our large, spacious Pre-School classroom meets the needs of our younger pre-school children. The ratio in the classroom is 3 teachers to 20 children, ages 2.9 to 4 years old. The room is arranged with low shelving to allow supervised, safe play while encouraging independent choices. The classroom is divided into interest areas that include the block area, pretend play, book area, fine motor activities, art area, math area, and science area. Young pre-schoolers require a unique approach to learning. Our knowledgeable teachers plan the curriculum to meet the Department of Education's Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences along with giving the children fun and engaging classroom environment. The curriculum themes and developmentally appropriate activities are planned with the children's interests and learning styles in mind.

The daily schedule is carefully arranged to provide a balance of small and large group activities. This includes directed free-play, circle time, snacks and lunch time, nap/rest time, teacher directed activities, art projects and lots of outdoor play! Our teachers plan small group activities to allow for social interactions, language development, motor skill development and sharing and taking turns. The teachers understand the importance of learning through play. They provide many opportunities for children to explore, be creative and learn by trying new things as well as through repetition. The children have freedom choosing their own art supplies, fine motor activities, block play, cars, trucks and trains, sand and water play and pretend play. Math and science activities are incorporated into these small group activities including cooking, measurements, sorting, doing patterns, gardening and taking care of classroom pets. The small interactive circle times of 7 to 8 children are planned to engage and stimulate children's natural curiosity and desire to learn. These circle times are an intricate part of the themes and curriculum. Teachers use this time to read stories, have discussions and have hands-on learning experiences.

The classroom is arranged and activities are provided to promote social play and interactions. Social interactions among our pre-schoolers are ongoing throughout the day. Many of the children make friends that they play with and talk about often. Children develop friendships by playing alongside each other and interacting with during play and daily activities. Teachers are available to assist children during social conflicts and encourage positive communication and outcomes.

The development of self-help skills is incorporated into daily activities and the curriculum. In this classroom, children practice washing their own hands, serving themselves at snacks and lunch, pouring their own milk from small pitchers (yikes!), setting the table before meals and cleaning up their own placemat and cup. Children are encouraged to practice dressing themselves for outdoors and practice taking off their coats and hanging it on their hooks. Children are able to make their own choices during free play and practice cleaning up.

In our pre-school classroom, children do not need to be toilet trained. Many of the children in this classroom are still in diapers. Some of the children are toilet trained and use the child-sized toilets and sinks on their own. Other children are toilet training and use the bathroom with teacher encouragement and assistance. Toilet training is unique to each child and family. We work closely with families to be consistent with their toilet training method. Diapering and toileting times are part of the daily schedule and as needed throughout the day.

Our huge, fenced-in pre-school playground offers children a "backyard" environment. Our uniquely diverse playground has a balance of sun and shade, pavement and bark mulch, and wooded and garden areas. Children enjoy playing in the "woods" looking at and collecting leaves and insects and climbing on our "rock pile." To further develop motor skills we have a variety of small and large climbers and slides and see-saws. We provide bikes, tricycles, push cars, scooters and rocking horses. Children are welcome to bring bikes from home to practice riding at school. Social play is further developed outdoors. The large, covered sandbox offers a place for children to dig, play with trucks and "make and sell ice cream." Children play ball and chase games and "cook" in the play house. Children also enjoy drawing with chalk on the pavement. In the winter the children enjoy sledding and playing on the snow piles. In the warm weather the children play in the water and sprinklers.

To strengthen the curriculum, we incorporate many special activities and events. Our field trips are a fun way for children to further learn about their community and environment. Some of these trips include pumpkin picking, apple picking, Davis' Farmland, train rides, hiking, the Butterfly Place, and trick-or-treating at Westford Elderly Housing. Mike the Music Man visits once a month to sing songs with the children, play musical instruments and do creative movement and dance. Westford's Book Mobile visits once a month giving children an opportunity to choose books for their classroom. Our annual social events give families a chance for children to link school to home. Families can visit with teachers, and meet their children's friends and families. Some of these events are the Potluck suppers, the Chinese New Year Celebration and the Holiday Party.

Communicating daily with parents at drop-off and pick-up is an important part of your child's day. Parents are encouraged to share information with teachers to help make a smooth transition in the morning. Teachers write information in a notebook to keep all classroom teachers informed. Monthly newsletters are sent home to inform parents of the curriculum and classroom activities. There are classroom phones for parent's incoming calls if needed throughout the day. Progress reports are completed for you every six months. These reports document your child's growth, development and interests. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled as needed or at the parent's request. To keep you informed of upcoming classroom transitions, we hold an annual parent information night. This night is meant to inform you of classroom expectations, the daily schedule and activities, the curriculum and a chance for you to ask questions.

The pre-school years are an important time for socializing, making friends and trying new things. Most pre-schoolers think they are "big kids" and can be independent. Although we spend much of the day encouraging this, we watch carefully for times when they show us that they are still little and just need a helping hand or a hug from their teacher.