School Readiness

We believe that "readiness" for formal school is based on play. Children play with important math concepts as they sort and classify, build with blocks, work on patterning with manipulatives and puzzles. They learn by doing . . . counting trucks and cars and discovering what happens when 10 cars are divided evenly among 5 children. Counting to 20 and recognizing numbers are also important skills, but an understanding of the concept comes through play.

One important way children play with the concepts of reading and writing is by pretending to read and write letters or make books. Many of the marks they make do not yet resemble letters, just as collections of letters do not spell words. By dictating their own stories or messages to an adult, who will write them down and read them back, children learn that their words are important and can be permanently recorded. We believe in fostering a love for literature and reading in children through a variety of language arts, including reading storybooks, providing numerous fiction and non-fiction books in the classroom, illustrating and acting out stories. Each classroom encourages writing at the writing center, which may include "props" such as phones and pads of paper to take down messages. Reciting the alphabet and writing letters correctly are skills adults recognize, but these are only part of the larger reading and writing process.

During these critical years, a child who learns to play successfully, develops self-confidence and an ability to cooperate with others, gains the most significant learning for life. If a child learns to communicate thoughts and feelings in positive ways, and to accept responsibility for her/his actions, that child has learned a lifetime skill. If a child learns to make choices and initiate productive activities, she/he has learned to take independent action that will produce lifelong rewards. Our objective is to provide opportunity for these foundations to be laid and strengthened.