Friends Preschool’s developmental curriculum is designed to support and stimulate the child’s natural curiosity, interests, and abilities. The classroom atmosphere says, “It is absolutely right to try” and there is much self-exploration, learning through experimentation and opportunity for success.
The curriculum components include: play, social skills, language development, literacy, science and nature, arts and creativity, reading readiness, hands-on mathematics, social and cultural studies, music and creative dramatics, cooking, movement exploration, health and nutrition, technology, and gross and fine motor skills. The anti-bias and multi-cultural curriculum promotes understanding and acceptance of all people in the world.
We regularly incorporate all three areas of science into our daily schedules: life sciences, earth sciences, and physical sciences. Within life sciences, we examine characteristics of animals and plants, research the functions of the human body, and document various life cycles. Within earth sciences, we explore characteristics of the earth and its materials, investigate with water, soil and sand, and celebrate the importance of each season. Within physical sciences, we invent experiments, describe physical properties, and develop our own hypotheses.
We balance our math experiences between learning basic facts (such as geometry, subitation, addition, subtraction, spatial reasoning, measurement, patterning, and counting) with mathematical reasoning (understanding how to apply mathematical thinking in real life to solve everyday problems). Our technique of blending facts with application techniques allows our students to build a solid foundation in mathematical terminology, conceptualization, and understanding.
Our literacy curriculum incorporates teaching new vocabulary, concepts about print, phonological awareness, learning how to identify and write letters, and learning to sound out and read words. We read multiple stories daily with our students from a variety of genres, as well as frequently journal and write our own class stories. Every week we study a different poem or song to enhance fluency, comprehension, and repetition.
We regularly introduce concepts about our world and our place in it. Through embracing and celebrating diversity, we study the cultures and traditions of our students as well as others around the globe. We embed literature, photos, and activities to expose our children to other countries and landmarks around the world. We explore the role of civics, various careers and occupations, and practice strategies for how to be responsible, sustainable members of our global community.
Our school has both indoor and outdoor art centers that together encourage children to explore various forms of art, from drawing and painting to sculpting and collage. Teachers use both process-art experiences where value is placed on every piece being unique to each artist, as well as teacher-guided art experiences where emphasis is placed on learning art technique, vocabulary, and history. Art experiences are offered daily, are colorful, and are grounded in the belief that every child’s capacity to create is infinite.
Daily opportunities are provided for our students to engage and activate all of their senses: visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile both indoors and outdoors. Every day we have water tables, sand, and playdough available for discovery and play. Weekly we incorporate various other sensory materials into play which can include dough, clay, bubbles, seeds, shaving cream, rice, herbs, beans, ice, flowers, and more. Engaging all senses develops different regions of their bodies and brains.
Exploring the value of nutrition early on increases the chances that children will be more mindful and intentional about the food that they put into their bodies. Our curriculum regularly introduces the children to a variety of fresh, whole foods while discussing the nutritional components that contribute to healthy bodies and minds. All food provided by our school is fresh, healthy, and primarily consists of organic fruits and vegetables.
Healthy relationships are built by validating children’s thoughts and feelings and through cultivating secure attachments. We support our students in developing a positive self-concept where they are confident in their abilities and their voice. We provide opportunities for our students to take initiative in creating and persistence in follow-through. Children exercise their interpretations of the world through play so we provide rich opportunities, context, and support to sustain deep discovery.
“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai