The youngest children at Woodward are the Little Stars.
Little Stars attend school from 9:30 in the morning until 12 noon on either Tuesday and Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday according to their age.
LITTLE STARS CURRICULUM
The Little Stars curriculum is well planned and responsive to fit both the group and the individual child’s needs and interests. The transition from home to school is deliberately slow to allow for trusting relationships to form between each child and their teachers without the added stress of a forced separation. The teachers take time to get to know each child’s strengths, and whenever possible the lessons are adapted to meet each child where they are. A consistent and well-rounded schedule defines each day so that the children understand what comes next. This provides the predictability that toddlers and preschoolers want and need.
Learning is built into every experience and into every play area. Some examples of this are listed here: During weekly cooking projects, Little Stars work on key math skills as well as science skills. In the dramatic play area, the children develop social skills like sharing, cooperation, and taking care of others. The manipulatives area offers opportunities to sharpen fine motor skills and logical reasoning skills. Art and easel areas allow development of creativity, small motor skills, as well as math, science, and reasoning skills. Playdoh play strengthens the hand muscles and allows a forgiving medium to learn how to use safety scissors. The block area encourages cooperative play and spatial reasoning. Indoor group time on the rug as well as outdoor play time offers countless opportunities for the children to interact with the whole class and work on social skills, including the value of listening to each other and working as a whole. Colors, numbers, names, shapes, etc. are learned through songs, games, and books. The goal is to support each child in every single aspect of their development so that they can reach their full potential.
The middle group of children at Woodward are the Rainbows.
Rainbows attend school from 9:00AM until 1:00PM or 1:00PM until 4:00PM Monday through Friday.
RAINBOW ROOM CURRICULUM
The Rainbow curriculum supports and values the whole child while strengthening their individual abilities through play and their investigations of the environment. Thought-provoking, developmentally age-appropriate activities are introduced to the children in thematic units. These units focus on children’s interests and include the themes of apples, pumpkins, friendship, shapes, hibernation, the solar system, dinosaurs, butterflies, gardening, transportation, seasons, holidays, etc.
Learning centers in the classroom allow for the children to move freely and choose their own activities during play time. Each learning center is thematically focused to expand on the curriculum and enhance fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, language development, social skills and emotional development. Learning centers include the block area, dramatic play, the art table, easels, sensory table, manipulatives and the library. Weekly specials in the Rainbow Classroom include yoga, science and cooking.
Project work is a favorite part of the day. This time is a wonderful opportunity for Rainbow children to work one-on-one with the teacher, or in a small group with only a few other children. Project work helps the children to develop the ability to follow step-by-step directions. It is also a good time for the teacher to understand where each child is developmentally, as well as to assess their skills and strengthen their language development.
The main goals for the year are to help the children form meaningful relationships with their teachers and peers, and to foster each child’s sense of independence, socialization and curiosity.
CURRICULUM PRE-K PROGRAM
The oldest children at Woodward are the Explorers.
Explorers attend school from 9:00AM until 2:00PM Monday through Friday.
The Explorers Class is a Pre-K classroom. The curriculum allows for a focus on the whole child, addressing their social/emotional, cognitive, language and physical development. Children’s development at this age spans a wide range. The Explorers teachers endeavor to meet each child, no matter where they are on the continuum, and scaffold them to the next level.
The approach is primarily play-based. This approach helps to build a child’s self-confidence and independence. Explorer children engage and explore their environment through hands-on activities and interactions with the world around them, building on the developmental skills they have acquired as Little Stars and Rainbows. Language and literacy as well as building a rich vocabulary and a love for books are instilled through daily book reading and story time, “non-fiction Friday,” making class books together, and other activities such as singing songs and playing games. Science and math are beloved subjects in the Explorers classroom. Science is introduced in units that span multiple weeks. The activities encourage the children to ask questions and make predictions, as well as to introduce new vocabulary. Math study relates directly to the themes being explored in the curriculum, helping to show the children how math relates to real world activities and scenarios. The classroom always makes available many manipulatives for self-exploration, aiding in the development of sorting, counting, classifying and comparing. A weekly cooking project also provides the children with the opportunity to learn about measurement, volume, fractions and proportions.
Art is a very important part of the Explorers curriculum. Many types of mediums are available to the children on a daily basis. Projects around various artists, illustrators, methods and materials introduce children to the larger world of art all around us. A weekly music and movement class is taught by a specialist who visits Woodward to help children explore this art form.
A main goal in the Explorers class is for each child to acquire key skills including empathy, resilience and self-regulation. Research has shown that these skills are key for children’s academic success in kindergarten and beyond. The curriculum ensures that the children gain the specific skills that they will need in kindergarten.