The Grammar School
During their preschool years, children encounter an enormous variety of experiences, a wide range of developmental growth, and challenges of all kinds. We provide new and exciting experiences for The Grammar School’s youngest children five full days per week. We stimulate children’s curiosity and encourage their expression through music, art, drama, physical skills, and a variety of language games and activities. We emphasize the development of positive social skills as an integral part of each day. Our preschoolers learn to care for each other and for their environment, and they enjoy being a part of the larger school community.
At The Grammar School preschool, our curriculum is embodied in all the different components of each day. We explore a lively variety of theme ideas. Our schedule balances rest with large and fine-motor skills activities. We enjoy activities that promote social, language, and cognitive development, and the physical design of our space allows children to play comfortably individually, with another playmate, or in larger groups. At TGS preschool, each day offers opportunities for focused attention within an environment of rich and fascinating variety.
The day begins with ample free time for exploration, experimentation, and discovery. A child may choose from options including, for example: blocks and LEGO, clay, workbench, the sensory table, books and puzzles, painting and drawing, dramatic play, trucks, dolls, and puppets. Mornings also include a creative tabletop project ready for small group involvement. After cleanup, we gather for our welcome circle to talk about the day’s events. Snack time is next, followed by recess, sharing, and story time. Each day at sharing children enjoy the chance to show us a particular object, tell a story, or share some special information. Following sharing, we join the kindergartners for one of our five weekly specials, half-an-hour of focused activity relating to art, music, books and stories, movement, and French (see below for more description of our “specials” curriculum). Just before lunch we enjoy a variety of circle-time activities involving word games, songs, movement, rhythm, and music. We end the morning with our closing circle, followed by another recess, and pick up is at 12:30.
Our afternoon program begins at 12:30 with outdoor time, and offers opportunities for continued free play, a quiet story/rest time, art activities, snack, and more. On Tuesday and Thursday the children enjoy afternoon Centers time (more details below) with the kindergartners. Mornings and afternoons include playful activities involving counting, selecting, comparing and contrasting, literacy, sequencing and patterning, and identifying. Throughout each day the emphasis is always on having fun! Pick up is at 3:00 pm.
During the year we explore the world around us from the eyes of a preschooler, under the central theme: Who Am I? A variety of art projects, stories, songs, word games, cooking experiences, and more support and expand this theme. We enjoy frequent interaction with the kindergartners, including occasional field trips to a variety of local sites. The program offers a wide selection of music, rhythm, and movement activities as part of our regular curriculum. We take pride in the celebration of our accomplishments through special events, the presentation of dramatic performances, and the display of our projects for everyone to appreciate.
Our combined kindergarten/preschool Early Learning Collaborative offers a diversity of theme-related centers twice weekly, with a focus on investigation, exploration, and discovery. These center times include activities designed to promote early literacy, sensory challenges, math and numeracy investigation, music and movement activities, and art projects within an age-appropriate framework of collaborative effort, confidence building, and fun. The three Early Learning Collaborative teachers (one kindergarten teacher, two preschool teachers) supervise small, mixed-age groups, enabling us to work closely with children on specific curricular and developmental goals. Small-group individualization helps us to meet each child where s/he is on the developmental spectrum. Tailoring the composition of the groups allows for differentiation and individualization in ability, interest, age, and opportunities for socialization.
The Grammar School’s youngest students engage in a variety of activities designed to foster healthy social interactions. Through circle-time occasions, books and stories, and music and drama we explore themes such as friendship, sharing, diversity, personal responsibility, emotions, and caring for others. Our daily rituals (the job chart, the Tree of Kindness, candle circle, sharing) promote patience, listening, cooperation and collaboration, problem solving, thoughtful expression, and self-advocacy. Preschoolers actively participate in the resolution of everyday conflicts and the management of their impulses. Our ongoing community service project involves maintaining a food collection box throughout the year that is delivered regularly to the Putney Food Shelf.
A daily “special” each morning provides children with opportunities to experience new techniques and materials, fun challenges and activities, and focused engagement involving art, music, French, books and stories, and movement.
Many preschool art lessons start with a story as a means of introduction, moving into a short demonstration and project. Art is a primary part of the preschool classroom experience, so the art teacher’s visits the to preschool classroom serve to develop a comfort level with art and its vocabulary, movements, and examples of practice. Together we read stories about artists or discuss the illustrations as a jumping off point for creative materials exploration. Cardboard-and-yarn weaving, collage, sculpture, observational drawing, and painting all are areas of exploration for preschoolers during art.
Music classes begin in Preschool, with a weekly class focusing on children’s songs, singing games, creative movement, dancing and drama activities. Preschoolers participate actively at meetings and gatherings where we sing together for fun and celebration.
In preschool and kindergarten, students learn French through singing, coloring, miming, and dancing. Stories are told using the felt board and picture books. Topics include animals, numbers, colors, simple verbs, the house, and more. Classes are lively and interactive, and meet once a week for half an hour.
Preschoolers join kindergarteners to listen to stories and do an activity with the librarian once a week. In the beginning of the year, story time is held in the classroom, but once they are comfortable in their surroundings, preschoolers visit the library for stories. Also, preschoolers make occasional trips to the library to check out books for their classroom.
Physical Skills Development (PSD)
Preschoolers get together with the kindergartners once a week for organized active games and challenges. Sometimes outdoors and sometimes in the gym, these activities include simple games and dances, obstacle courses, movement and music, hikes, exploring the low-ropes course, and more. Emphasis is on group dynamics and individual effort, expanding our comfort zones, and celebrating each other’s abilities and accomplishments.