Our first year preschool program is for three and four year olds (Chipmunks) and runs two days each week. Children must be three by Sept 30 and be toilet trained. There are three Chipmunk classes:
AM Chipmunks – Tues & Thurs – 8:30-11:30
16 children/3 teachers
10 children/2 teachers
PM Chipmunks – Tues & Thurs – 12:00-3:00
10-16 children/2-3 teachers
A Day in the Life of a Chipmunk
The children arrive at play outdoors until the bell rings. After going inside, they hang up their coats, put their boots/shoes in their cubbies, put on their slippers and find a seat at circle.
Circle begins with a song that might have each child’s name in it. This makes them feel special, helps them recognize each other by name, and encourages new friendships. The Chipmunks learn to listen to each other as they excitedly share stories of what they have done or will do very soon. They share special treasures brought from home for part of the year, and engage in movement activities fostering gross motor development.
Snack begins after partners are picked at circle, and hands are washed before eating. Each child will have a turn to bring in the snack to share with his/her classmates several times throughout the year. We sing a song or recite a poem before eating.
Then Free Play starts and the Chipmunks choose an area to play in (house corner, blocks, library, games, puzzles, Legos, cars, slide, etc.). Art projects are available and encouraged so that experimenting, creating, and learning can happen in a slightly more structured manner. It is so important to learn the joys of cooperating, sharing with one another, taking turns through play, and experiencing fine and gross motor skills through art projects.
Clean Up gets underway as we impart the philosophy that cleaning up is fun when done as a group, and necessary after play is done. The Chipmunks listen for the jobs they are assigned to do with a small group of friends, and when finished, they may go to the book corner and choose a book to look at.
Rest Time/Story Time/Group Movement Time reconnects the group to enjoy each other’s company while doing some movement activities before being quiet and attentive for our story listening time. Exposure to books and the written word is an important pre-reading skill. The children develop better listening skills, and learn what the expected behavior is when listening to a story.
Then it is time to get our coats on and be ready for outdoor play until the bell rings for carpool, at which time the children gather to sit on the benches to await their ride home.
Objectives for Chipmunks
- Separate from parents comfortably
- Develop independence in self-help skills — dressing, personal hygiene, and care for belongings
- Develop a positive self-image and a feeling that “I can do it!”
- Learn to participate in group activities: music, drama, games, and art
- Learn to cooperate and use words to express feelings and solve problems
- Practice good manners and respect for others
- Begin to develop good listening and recall skills
- Appreciate literature through different media: books, flannel board, drama, puppets, finger plays, and nursery rhymes
- Strengthen gross motor skills through climbing, jumping, running, etc.
- Enhance fine motor coordination by manipulating small objects: Legos, blocks, scissors, glue bottles, pencils, Play-Doh, chalk, etc.
- Explore, create, and express themselves comfortably
- Appreciate music
- Appreciate our natural environment
- Recognize colors and basic shapes
- Understand the concept of numbers 1-10
- Recognize one’s first name and the letters in it
- Begin identifying letters in the alphabet