Curriculum: Early Years Program: Pre-K & Kindergarten
Green School’s Early Years Program offers a student-centric education built around a developmentally appropriate version of the Three-Frame Day:
1. We note, and respect, that the younger children are in, or emerging from, a somatic phase of development, where gaining mastery over their physical bodies is crucially important. Consequently much of the program is orientated towards fine and gross motor competencies. We take this work seriously and monitor students’ physical development on an individual basis.
2. We recognize that people structure their interactions with world ‘content’ in four major modalities and see these as essential expressions for our full humanity. At Green School we refer to these as the ‘Big Four’. Classically, the ‘Big Four’ interactions are physical,
emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. (For the example “trees”, students might react artistically by singing a song, intellectually by discussing pollination, physically by planting trees, and spiritually by looking inwards to discover what trees mean to them.) The ‘Big
Four’ underpin some learning each day in all sectors of the school. The EYP utilizes this structure during its thematic lessons, which are offered daily.
3. We accept that academic learning, in the fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy, proceed at different rates and in different ways for individual learners. These aspects of the EYP are offered as individual learning programs.
4. Students of all ages take a lively interest in the ‘goings-on’ of the adult world; during the ‘early years’ things happening in the adult world often become the subject of imitative play. The practical lessons offered link to this impulse by bringing into the classroom adult practitioners engaged full-time in such fields as visual arts as frequently as possible.
5. The fundamentals of literacy and numeracy are introduced during ‘child friendly’ thematic lessons presented in the morning. These fundamentals are later practiced for proficiency during instructional style lessons through the middle of the day.
Regarding literacy instruction, we build a solid platform of vocabulary through oral comprehension activities, re-telling and expressing. By using this method we allow high order spoken language (vocabulary) to be matched against low order word attack skills (phonics) from which the children can step easily into the world of books. Reading becomes an experience of moving out of oneself from a vast vocabulary.
We recognise that reading is so much more than printed books. Human beings are immersed in reading every day: we read the weather, we read faces, we read emotions. Poetry, singing, story telling, conversation, expressive re-telling and imaginative play are the cornerstones of our program. Alphabet, sight words and short sentences are introduced concurrently with writing inspired by story telling. The intention here is that written language arises from pictures that represent rich stories.
At the completion of our Early Years program some students will be reading, others will have the fundamentals necessary to begin reading and others will still be consolidating. We offer individuals many opportunities for acquiring literacy skills at their own level and carefully monitor the progress of each child’s learning to ensure that all receive the attention they need.
The EYP is seamlessly linked to the Primary School program, which is also underpinned by the Three-Frame Day.
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