Children benefit from a variety of regular group experiences. TFLC plans these experiences through small-group time, large-group time, and transition times.
We structure the curriculum around key elements of development to ensure the growth of the whole child.
Physical (Gross and Fine Motor)
This is the development of both large and small motor functions. This includes, but is not limited to; running, jumping, as well as holding a pencil to scribbling, and feeding themselves. Motor-skill development, coordination, mobility, and exercise all help ensure your growing child has a healthy body for a lifetime
Your child will learn to communicate with others verbally and nonverbally to engage in the world around them. Your child will make new friends and gain the confidence, self-esteem, and negotiating skills necessary for a lifetime of healthy relationships Children will enjoy a safe and nurturing environment where they can learn to express themselves and understand their own unique identities. Your child will develop confidence to forge trusting relationships, value their individuality, while being proud of the person they have become.
Our early education programs help build brain power by supporting the development of judgment, perception, memory, reasoning, critical thinking, and language through a series of developmentally appropriate activities. The skills of pre-reading, writing, and math are important and children learn by experiencing the world around them. Language development is the process by which children come to understand and communicate language during early childhood. Receptive language development (the ability to comprehend language) as well as expressive language development (the ability to communicate) is part of the daily routines.
Spiritual beliefs are closely related to the moral scope of the self-concept and must be considered as part of the child’s basic need. Children need to have meaning, purpose and hope in their lives, as well as confession and forgiveness. By creating a relationship with God and knowledge that “Jesus is my friend”, we are extending development beyond basic needs to include the whole person: mind, body and spirit. It is well know that children thrive when Religion is in their lives. The Preschool years are the perfect time to begin teaching children about Christianity, God, and the Bible. God’s message can be integrated into our monthly themes. We would like to see the fundamentals of preschool education (ABC’s, motor skills, math, science, dramatic play, etc.) taught with an emphasis on how God is working in our lives.
Importance of Play
“A child’s play is his ‘work’, and the ‘toys’ are his words” says Dr. Gary Landreth, a noted play therapist. It has been clearly proven by child development researchers that young children learn best through play. Children are concrete learners and learn by using all their senses. They must experience their world in order to make sense of it. Play gives young children “hands-on” activities for learning about life. Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence.
This group time is generally the time the unit of the week is introduced and discussed. The letter of the week, numbers and any other important information is given during this formal instructional time.
What children learn: The children learn how to organize their thoughts. They have many opportunities to develop their language and enlarge their vocabulary.
Children address the process of cooking, measurements, ingredients, and it is also fun for a child to participate in a “grown-up” activity.
What children learn: Competence and independence are fostered through this activity, as well as gives children a start on a basic life skill. Math skills are always a part of the process of cooking since counting, measuring, and teaches sequencing is included in each recipe. Stirring, dicing, and adding ingredients build fine-motor skills. A child also discovers how things change if you alter the environment: liquid batter becomes a cake when baked; juice cups become popsicles when frozen, examples of cause and effect.
Outdoor play is one of the favorite parts of any child’s day, giving the child an e outside play area with enough space and sturdy equipment to use his/her imagination while exercising. Children’s imaginations are boundless and the playground offers every opportunity for expression of those ideas. Running, swinging, climbing, jumping, riding trikes, and digging in the sand are enhancing a child’s physical abilities.
What children learn: When children run, play ball or jump, they develop large motor skills. The cross-lateral movement (right arm/left leg and vice versa) involved is critical to a child’s later success in reading and writing.
Opportunities for the child to experience using different art media in creating their “masterpieces” is essential.
What children learn: When art is approached as a process, not a project, the child learns that he/she is limited only by his/her imagination. As everyday objects are transformed into imaginary bugs, sculptures, etc. the child discovers that a world of play can be created. Using materials in an art project reinforces and expands on the information a child has already learned in other contexts. Fine-motor skills are developed through art activities; small-muscle control is needed in order to manipulate clay, cut with scissors, paint with a brush, and color with markers or crayons.
Young children enjoy both listening to music and making their own, as music is considered a universal language. Learning to move your body through space in time to music (creative movement), is a creative way to tap into a child’s imagination and artistic side.
What children learn: Music gives the child the opportunity to connect the outside world of movement and sound with the inner world of feelings and observations. Children learn music by listening and imitating. Children are learning pre-reading skills as they copy rhythmic patterns of words and sounds when they hear differences such as: fast and slow and loud and soft.
Dramatic Play (House Area)
The “housekeeping / dress-up” area in the classroom is filled with items, clothing, and props that encourage young children in playing “make-believe”.
What children learn: This area in the room allows the child to make sense of the grown-up world. Research demonstrates that children who are active in pretend play are usually more joyful and cooperative, more willing to share and take turns, and develop vocabulary.
Fine-motor control is developed by playing with a variety of toys such as Legos, Bristle Blocks, Play-Doh, Peg-Boards, large beads to thread, and stacking and nesting materials.
What children learn: These manipulative toys help develop a child’s fine-motor skills, which is a precursor to having the ability to write. On top of fine tuning the small motor development, the manipulative also increase hand-eye coordination, develops visual discrimination, develops basic math concepts (sorting, counting), allows a child to explore, question and experiment in their environment, develop vocabulary, and foster a sense of independence.
A sensory table or tub is filled with sand, rice, dirt, snow, water, or other textured materials. Children feel and experience a variety of materials that can be dug in to, poured out, and moved around.
What children learn: Practical math lessons are learned through measuring as they pour from and into containers of differing sizes, and when items of differing compositions are put in the water, the child learns what floats and what sinks. Fine-motor skills are also being enhanced as the child uses a sifter. Eye-hand coordination is enhanced. . This play is soothing as well.
Puzzles in the classroom vary in their complexity according to the age group.
What children learn: Puzzles develop a child’s abstract thinking ability as they see a space and visualize what belongs in that space. While fine-motor coordination is developed when fitting the pieces into place.
Books – The books in the room reflect the age group within the room and are made of appropriate materials for that age group. They also reflect various ethnic and cultural groups as well as a variety of subjects that include both fiction and nonfiction.
What children learn: Children learn language skills from books, as well as sequencing and problem solving. They become more aware of the world outside of themselves. Having books read to a child, as well as a child reading independently will foster a respect and enjoyment for reading.
Very young children, two and under, basically have a parallel style of play. They play “beside” another child rather than “with”. By age three children not only enjoy playing by themselves, but you begin seeing cooperative play as well. They will play in small groups or even the class as a whole working on a project. This play may be either child initiated or teacher directed.
What children learn:
Children learn to respect others and their ideas by working together. Social skills and social competence are underlying goals of early childhood education, while problem solving is an additional benefit of cooperative play. Play that involves taking turns, sharing, listening to and cooperating with others develops important social skills and helps children learn to get along with others. While they are playing, children can engage in non-verbal and verbal communication thus increasing their ability to use language effectively.