|The program at Troy Co-op can be viewed as building blocks. We begin in the 3's by laying a strong foundation for learning. First the children get comfortable separating from parents, relating to other adults, functioning in small and large groups, choosing some of their own activities, understanding routine, and practicing sitting and listening skills.
Everyday there is a new art project and easel painting relating to the daily theme. Small muscles are strengthened at the playdoh table. Senses are explored at the water table. Dramatic and block play are also important options. Perceptional skills are strengthened with puzzles. To that we add more social skills.
Language is enhanced with additional conversation, stories. Library and Show and Tell are blocks added to the second semester. There are more science themes in the spring. Math activities also become a greater part of the curriculum as the year goes on, and motor skills are continually enhanced.
|All of the elements of the 3's program are in place at the beginning of the 4's year. Each session begins with twenty minutes of Activity Box time, a major building block that grows throughout the year. Children choose manipulative items that encourage small motor skills, such as group board games, puzzles, and art activities. Items are added to the Activity Box to increase awareness of seasonal and holiday themes. There are longer listening times to introduce information.
Children receive a Weekly Reader and more take-home papers with age-appropriate activities. A writing table is available, and each child gets a turn to take home the Writers' Briefcase. Children help make books that circulate through the class featuring their activities and field trips. Their field trips include gymnasitcs, theatre, a farm tour in the fall, a visit to a nature center in November to see how creatures and plants in the woods get ready for winter, and an ice skating excursion in January. Holiday celebrations have different building blocks, as well. There are eight play centers at the Halloween party, and the children make a photo book about their costumes. We make a piñata and break it at the Winter Party. The bunny has a surprise for us at the Spring Party.
A big change in routine occurs in January. We learn about the calendar and practice the names of months and the days of the week. We create increasingly difficult patterns each month as we put the dates on the calendar, then look for patterns in other places. This is also a counting time. Through stories, poems and songs we emphasize rhyming words. We add graphing as a math building block. Longer group times allow for more books to be read, more music experiences, and more listening skills.
All of this is accomplished with hands-on appropriate activities. Children are experiential learners and need many opportunities to experiment with different materials in their environment. Along the way, there is still plenty of time for dramatic play, art, and outdoor play. The joy of learning is always the primary goal.
The program for Friday Classes is based on a curriculum of "Playing with the Alphabet." Activities for each session are built upon a letter of the alphabet. The craft, music, movement, small muscle toys, snack and story are all selected to emphasize the special letter for the day. Children are encouraged to bring something from home that has a name beginning with that letter to display. Each child has an opportunity to be a Friday Special Person to increase self-esteem. A major group project each Friday is cutting and gluing pictures of items beginning with the magic letter to make a page for an ABC Book which is complete in May. As in our entire curriculum, the activities are "hands-on" and developmentally appropriate, rather than pencil-paper-type tasks that foster little meaningful learning in young children. Some activities are more structured, such as craft projects that everyone does at the same time. Additional field trips and special events experiences re-enforce the alphabet concept. Though not intended to teach phonics, the result is awareness and readiness learned in the best way for young children - through play!
|A typical day in the Tots class starts with 30 minutes of free time. The kids have choices to explore the play-doh table, painting easels, sensory table, and other toys. The children put their hands into a guessing bag to feel the item of the day. It is a theme related item and changes weekly. Then we clean up and have circle time for the next 15 minutes. In circle we read our theme based book, discuss the theme, sing songs, do fingerplays, dance to music. Then we make our craft. The children are exposed to many mediums of art and encouraged to use their imaginations and creativity. As we wash hands and clean up we sing the ever popular "Turn Around" song and eat snack. Then they get a hand stamp and go home. The whole class lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes. Class themes include: Me, Family, Homes, Leaves, Apples, Circles, Spiders, Pumpkins, Corn, Hats, Turkeys, Bells, Trees, Mittens, Snowmen, Bears, Cars& Trucks, Trains, Hearts, Dinosaurs, Turtles, Fish, Bugs, Zoo animals, Bunnies, Farm animals, Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, and Rainbows.