Teaching Methods and Goals

At this age, children are exposed to and absorb tremendous academic content and life skills. We believe they learn through one on one interactions, group presentations with their teachers, independent lessons in a carefully prepared environment, and through observation and interaction with their classmates. Teachers work together to create a curriculum that demonstrates the following teaching methods and goals:

 

Developmentally Appropriate Practice 

As NAEYC defines it, "developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a framework of principles and guidelines for best practice in the care and education of young children, birth through age 8. It is grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about education effectiveness. The principles and guidelines outline practice that promotes young children's optimal learning and development".

 

Montessori Approach 

Though we are not a Montessori school, our teachers utilize aspects of Dr. Montessori’s method.  We are inspired by Dr. Montessori’s work.  The Montessori course of study is an integrated thematic approach that ties the separate disciplines of the curriculum together. Everything is interrelated. One lesson leads to another. The child moves from the concrete toward abstract understanding. Children, especially when they are very young, are quite capable of absorbing information, concepts, and skills from their surroundings and peers.  Dr. Montessori observed that in an environment that is intellectually and artistically alive, warm and encouraging, children will spontaneously ask questions, investigate, create and explore new ideas. Montessori classrooms are thoughtfully arranged with compelling lessons that children choose themselves. These materials take the child on a personal journey of discovery and mastery. The Montessori teacher acts as a guide. At every age students learn in different ways at different rates. Many learn much more effectively from direct hands-on experience rather than from studying a textbook or listening to a lecture. The teacher is especially sensitive to the learning style of each child. Each child works at his or her own pace. 

 

Inquiry based learning

We have a fully developed science program at our school.  We believe children are filled with a natural sense of wonder about God’s world.  Our teachers foster that sense of wonder. The environment is carefully prepared to encourage questions and exploration from the students.  The students use the Scientific Method to problem solve.  Teachers are co-learners with their students and engage the students in developing areas of study that interest them.  Here we encourage our students to ask, “Why? How?”

 

Play Based Learning

We believe children learn best through play. In our environment, teachers observe children play and play along side them.  They learn practical life skills, use their imagination, and manipulate objects. Learning should be fun!

 

Zoo Phonics Program

Zoo-phonics® is a method developed to make children strong readers and spellers using a “phono” (hearing), “oral” (speaking), “visual” (seeing), “kinesthetic” (moving), and tactile (touching)—whole brain approach. Students actually learn the sounds of the alphabet and advanced phonemic concepts through an easily understood, concrete method of presentation. Zoo-phonics® uses animals drawn in the shapes of the letters for ease in memory. A related body movement is given for each letter. This concrete approach cements the sounds to the shapes of the letters. Lowercase letters and their sounds are taught first (needed 95% of the time in text), capital letters and letter names are taught later.  We use Zoo Phonics from age 2- age 5. 

 

Our Approach to Preschool:

We offer a selection of activities to encourage individuality and free choice for each child. Within our Preschool classrooms, teachers develop curriculum that encompasses: 

  • Practical Life- with a focus on the development of order, coordination, concentration, and independence through the practice of tasks in care of the environment, care of the self, grace and courtesy, and physical movement.

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  • Sensorial - with a focus on the education of the senses, developing the child’s ability to order, classify, and perceive and describe length, texture, weight, temperature, color, pitch, etc.

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  • Mathematics - beginning instruction with beautifully designed manipulative materials that allow the child to easily grasp and internalize concepts such as single digit numerals, sorting, colors, shapes, and so on.

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  • Language Arts - including written and oral expression, reading, grammar, and creative drama. Instruction begins with prewriting and pre-reading activities which are woven into all areas of the classroom. Direct sound and letter formation work with a variety of sensory materials leading up to pencil and paper. These materials allow children to link sounds and their corresponding letter symbols with little effort. Thus the child’s expression comes with ease and a natural joy.  

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  • Science– In our Paul R. Mehne Science Centers, students explore the wonder of God’s world.  Its order and its chaos.  Its beauty and its “icky”.  We learn the beginnings of physics, geology, biology, chemistry, archaeology, paleontology, and mathematics.  We use real technology and the Scienctific Method to ask questions and solve problems. 

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  • Fine Art-  We have a fine art program dedicated to the exploration of color, materials, drama, and music.  This is a hands-on program where students are encouraged to be creative and messy.  To truly immerse themselves in the medium.  They are exposed to the Master’s through types of artistic expression.  Children are excited to enjoy the process of creating and how emotions can be experienced through art.  

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  • Global Citizenship– We believe we must help the child feel part of and connected to their community.  introduce the child to cultures, history, and geography.  We know as educators that a child who does not have roots, who does not feel connected and who does not have a sense of belonging will not grow and flourish as they should.  We believe all children have the right to Belong.  We help our students understand that all of God’s world is connected.  We each have a purpose, a part to play in this world.  This helps create attached, grounded, resilient adults.

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  • Spiritual Education- We believe a core component of ourselves as human beings is faith.  Topics comprise a core piece of the classroom. Children learn to care for themselves, their classroom and their classmates. Activities such as cleaning, helping others, showing courtesy, and moving with grace occur daily, which develops positive habits in children.Children develop an awareness of God, the Bible, prayer and values. The Bible is always an integral part of their day.  The Fruits of the Spirit represent our core values.  Children learn that our purpose is to love one another and respect all of God’s creation.  Learning how to care for your inner self and how to care for others is key to creating a peaceful world.  

 

Social and Emotional Goals:

  • Independence--Children develop independence, learning to work by themselves without constant adult intervention. They are taught how to dress and undress, pour their own milk, use real dishes, and use the bathroom independently.

  • Concentration– The environment is constructed to allow the development of quiet, uninterrupted concentration.

  • Coordination - Activities are designed to strengthen children's hand for writing and train the eye for reading. Exercises designed to help with motor skills and balance are part of the daily activities and experiences

  • Order - The orderly and clean environment leads children to develop logical thinking which translates into math conception, problem solving, decision making, and how to create a peaceful environment for themselves.  

  • Socialization - Activities promoting kindness and peace are cornerstones of healthy social development. Conflict resolution and empowerment are taught to help children to meet, interact, and form positive relationships with other children.

  • Self-Control - Children develop self-motivation and inner discipline. They are taught to "own" their work, and assisted to develop a sense of pride and a positive view of learning.

 

When you ask me what I’ve done at school today, and I say, “I just played,” please don’t misunderstand me. For you see, I’m learning as I play. I’m learning to enjoy and be successful in my work. I’m preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is my play.

 

We'd love to show you our classrooms, and discuss our programs. Please call Meredith today at (406) 829-3404 to schedule a tour. We can’t wait to meet you and your child.

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