Language arts in prekindergarten encompasses visual, auditory, and verbal experiences. Teachers instruct by modeling, nurturing and inspiring students. Essential questions such as How do we listen, observe, and communicate? and Why are listening, observing, and communicating important? guide the daily lessons that are always interactive, hands-on and collaborative. Literature appreciation and writing are part of our academic fabric. Children learn the alphabet along with phonics, vocabulary, sequencing, opposites, and much more. Many printed materials and drama opportunities allow children to explore literature in various forms. Frequent culinary activities such as baking bread into the shapes of letters, making applesauce, or trying new foods related to a social studies unit are enjoyed by all. Field trips, learning centers, games, and tactile stimulations also help to reinforce fine and gross motor skills.
Math in prekindergarten includes an introduction to many concepts: numerical understanding, classification, shape and spatial awareness, measurement, patterning, and money. The classroom offers a wide range of resources where learning activities take place. Manipulatives, iPads, books, games, building areas, computers, puzzles, and programming such as BrainPOP are among the many stations that students frequent to practice their math skills. Direct instruction occurs in small groups or individually. Cooperative learning groups and experiential learning are enjoyed daily, all the while distinguishing and reinforcing mathematical concepts which include: counting, ordinal numbers, one-to-one correspondence, operations, quantities, fractions, graphing, attributes, and identifying two- and three-dimensional shapes. These skills build a strong foundation in preparation for kindergarten.
Science is presented through themes in prekindergarten. Centers, experiments and special guests are enjoyed in the classroom and enhanced in visits to the science lab and during field trips. Themes include oceans, rocks and volcanoes, colors, seasons, dinosaurs, space, shadows, dental health, anatomy and nutrition, senses, environmental awareness and conservation, magnets, birds, animals, insects, seeds, and plants. Key concepts are drawn from each theme and children enjoy a wide range of instruction, learning activities, collaborative group play, songs, creative movement, games, books, and resources.
Social studies introduces children to an awareness of their own culture and that of others. Self-concept, diversity, and respect are stressed. Study of communities, safety, holidays, past and present events, maps and globes help to strengthen an appreciation of the world around them.
In prekindergarten, art is explored in the classroom on a daily basis. Developing fine and gross motor skills while engaging their imaginative nature is what drives the art experience. Students use a wide variety of artistic mediums including paint, shaving cream, sand, collage paper, string, and more. Field trips to the Lower School art room are a favorite excursion, and students enjoy hands-on activities on every visit.
While enjoying a variety of stories, our students strengthen their listening skills and become familiar with basic library vocabulary. They learn to be responsible library users as they practice good library manners like the use of book sticks, check-out routines, quiet reading and sharing time. Every student selects a book to take back to the classroom each week.
In prekindergarten music, the children learn to sing simple songs together as a group with the music teacher three times a week in the eight-day cycle. They learn about melodic range and contour, basic rhythmic patterns, and expressive qualities of tempo and dynamics. Students are also introduced to different types of instruments from the string, wind and percussion families of sound. Fine motor skills are developed by playing simple rhythmic patterns with percussion instruments and writing basic music symbols on paper. Simple choreographed dance movements are added to some songs to emphasize rhythm and tempo. Students improve their listening skills by distinguishing the sounds of similar instruments and listening to short music recordings. They learn how to prepare for a public performance and how to follow a conductor's cues during a performance. Music is also used as a tool by the classroom teachers during transition time, opening and closing, and as a way to express joy!
P.E. takes place three times a week for 30-minutes during an eight-day cycle. The goals of the P.E. curriculum are to create a positive self-image, develop strong listening and direction following skills, stimulate creativity and imagination through movement, enhance social aspects of play, develop/improve gross motor skills and coordination, develop body and spatial awareness, and introduce exercise and fitness concepts. These goals are reached through basic movement concepts, introductory fitness concepts, wands, fire prevention activities, holiday lessons, bean bags, ball activities, creative jump rope activities, scarves, rhythmic activities, hoops, flying disks, and ribbon activities. Music and curriculum integration are also a large part of the PreK P.E. curriculum.
At Moravian Academy, prekindergarten students have Spanish class for 15 minutes during seven days out of the eight-day cycle. The Lower School Spanish teacher comes to the classroom, and children engage in lessons, sing songs, play games, color pictures, and watch videos that are all delivered in the Spanish. Curriculum content includes counting to ten, meeting and greeting, colors, weather, and clothing. Culture is embedded into daily learning by introducing food, dance, and traditions of all Spanish-speaking countries.