1. The Preschool Program
Available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Monthly Learning Themes
Each month a learning theme becomes the focus of the children’s play (e.g. things that go, the family, colours, etc.). The theme is integrated into the art activities, music circles, learning centres and dramatic play centres. In order to further students’ understanding of the themes field trips to museums, and cultural events are arranged.
The teachers speak to the preschool and Kindergarten children in French throughout the program. Daily routines are directed in English and in French. The children sing French songs about greetings, the weather and calendar, and learn monthly theme related vocabulary.
Free Play / Sensory Stimulation and Art
At the beginning of each session the children are given ample time to play and explore the toys in the classroom. Some toys such as puzzles, games, dress-up clothes, play kitchen, animals, building blocks and action pieces are always available. Other theme related activities such as water play, sand play, and science exploration materials are set up when appropriate.
Each day the children are introduced to a craft activity that relates to the monthly learning theme. During free play the children are encouraged to participate in a small group with the teacher to create the piece of art.
For preschoolers art is all about exploration. Children love to feel the different textures of paint, glue, goop, and playdough in their hands.
Experimenting with art materials helps the children to learn to identify objects, name colours, expand vocabulary skills, improve fine motor skills and convey meaning through their art-work.
The children are encouraged to participate in a circle time that relates to the monthly learning theme. The children are given instruments and are encouraged to play, sing and or dance along with the songs. We use story-books, finger plays, felt board characters and puppets to enhance story time. Throughout the course of the year literacy, numeracy and social skills are introduced. The letters of the alphabet are transformed into characters that live in a storybook place called Letterland.
Dramatic Play Centre Time/ Cognitive Activities
In order to bring the monthly learning themes to life a different dramatic play centre is created each month. After participating in the music circle the children are encouraged to take on imaginative roles such as train engineers, or veterinarians by dressing up in costumes and engaging with the props provided.
The children are introduced to a cognitive activity each day that is designed to extend their understanding of a theme related concept. Concepts such as: matching, sequencing, identifying, counting, describing etc. are presented in the form of games, puzzles, and hands-on activities.
2. The Kindergarten Program
Available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Units Of Inquiry
The foundation of the curriculum is built upon ten units of inquiry selected and developed in order to further students’ problem solving and thinking skills in the areas of Language arts, Social Sciences, and the Natural Sciences. The ten units: Colours, Shapes, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Animals, Family, Transportation and Water are explored through reading, the writing cycle, art and sensory activities, mathematics, social studies, science explorations and French language instruction. The students become actively engaged as the units progress through asking questions and researching topics of interest.
The Language Arts program consists of stories that revolve around characters that exist in a place called “Letterland”. There is a story for each character and the children find this to be a fascinating and enjoyable way to learn the sounds and the formation of the letters of the alphabet. Once the students can identify beginning, middle and ending sounds we begin to blend sounds in order to improve reading skills. We begin by sounding out consonant blends such as: bl, cl, dr, fr etc., moving on to short vowel sounds a, e, i, o, and u, and eventually consonant diagraphs: th, wh, ch.
In tandem with the phonetic based “Letterland” program the children also learn to read frequently used sight words. Each child possesses a word box and every few days new sight words are introduced and added to their box. The students participate in games and activities to help them memorize the words. The students become fluent readers as they combine the flow of reading sight words with the phonetic ability to sound out the remaining words found in texts.
Once the students begin reading they are placed in literature circle reading groups according to their abilities. The program offers leveled sets of readers for the children to work through. The students make comparisons between books, compare works by an author or illustrator, or relate stories to their own lives. Fluent readers participate in novel studies with the help of the teacher.
The children learn the mechanics of the written language through a combination of reading books, journal writing and completing targeted creative writing activities that teach letter formation, letter sounds, sentence structure, punctuation, and other conventions of writing.
The Kindergarten students are provided with challenging, inquiry-based workbooks to develop their numeration skills. Skills such as identifying numbers, associating numbers with quantities, and learning to print numerals correctly are all included in the workbooks. The daily math activities offer lots of opportunities for problem solving, group work, and the use of manipulatives. As students progress, they begin to perform operations such as addition and subtraction using concrete materials such as counters and number lines.
A monthly math theme becomes the focus for the math teaching time and is paired with a hands-on activity that reinforces the skill that was taught. Students’ problem solving skills are developed through the monthly themes of weight, measurement, time, money, patterns, sequencing, even and odd numbers.
Children participate in a music and dance enrichment class with a specialized teacher. By combining music and movement exercises, listening games at the keyboard, singing with accompaniment, and plenty of time for little fingers to engage with the keyboard themselves, we introduce basic musical concepts such as rhythm, melody, dynamics, and tempo, as we build the foundation to help the kids get musical themselves!
Parents receive a list of the monthly learning themes. The weekly plan which is a detailed description of the daily classroom activities is posted on the classroom door. In addition, we send a weekly newsletter via e-mail informing parents of upcoming activities.
Over the course of the year we develop a student portfolio for each child. Through the use of pictures, anecdotal comments, and pieces of created art the parents see and read about their child’s progress. The children share the portfolios with their parents several times throughout the year allowing them to practice communicating their own accomplishments.