Preppers offers a balance between play and academic learning. The New Jersey State Department of Education Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards as well as other resources combine to form the curriculum. Our curriculum is comprehensive with a clear organizational structure with a particular focus on interest areas. Our program balances both teacher-directed and child-initiated learning with an emphasis on responding to children’s learning styles and building on their strengths and interests. Monthly school themes help organize ideas and allow for instruction that is stimulating and relevant to students.
What is a typical day like in Preppers?
After children arrive and settle in, circle time kicks off the day! At circle time the Preppers students join their teachers on the carpet as a large group. The lead teacher always opens circle time with a smile and a “good morning!” Students are encouraged to greet their classmates and share an experience or short story with their friends. At circle time the Preppers students will also:
After circle time the Preppers class washes their hands for snack. Our program offers three designated snack times throughout the day; one in the morning, one in the late afternoon around 3pm and another later in the evening around 5pm.
As students finish their snack they clean up and engage in quiet activities such as looking at a book or completing a puzzle, until their teachers are ready to begin group time. The Preppers schedule incorporates two academic group times; one after morning snack and one in the afternoon. Each group time consists of two rotating groups of children, each headed by a teacher and with a focus on a content area such as: literacy, math, science, or social studies and life skills. Within these small groups Preppers students will do various activities such as:
Our Preppers students look forward to group time; it is full of fun and stimulating experiences. Our experienced teachers ensure that activities and lessons are more than fun, but focus in on development of specific skills:
Before mixing together corn starch, water, and food coloring, Preppers students predicted what would happen when the ingredients were combined. This student gets a chance to explore the new mixture hands-on!
This Preppers student is working with shaving cream. She is developing her fine motor skills using her pointer finger to make the first letter of her name.
This Preppers student sorts Fruit-O’s. While he does this, he is learning to notice how items are alike and different, establishing an awareness that is vital for mathematical thinking.
Who needs a table? Being creative sometimes means we get down on the floor! This student grabs a crayon and adds her own creative touch to a class project.
The Preppers classroom is arranged into “interest centers”, including five distinct areas: dramatic play, blocks, art, math/science, and literacy. Center time is always included in the daily schedule which provides an opportunity for structured play, an important component of our program. During center time, students will be seen developing a wealth of language, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills.
Did you know that sensory play is part of the scientific process? As this student grabs, listens, smells, rubs, pours, and dumps, she is using her senses to collect ‘data’. She will decide whether or not to share what she learned about this experience with her friends and teachers.
Blocks and other construction toys are among the best toys in helping children develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial and problem-solving skills. Look at this elaborate castle – it took this student a great deal of focus, creativity, and patience to construct.
It’s tea time in Preppers! These three students (and one baby doll) enjoy each other’s company as they prepare and then sit for tea and conversation. Through this type of dramatic play, students have an opportunity to act out and explore the lives of others; how they work, what they feel, and what they say.
Cutting with scissors takes skill and patience. During group time this student strengthens his fine-motor muscles as he snips and cuts through play dough. It is these same muscles that he will need strengthened when he draws more recognizable pictures.
Outdoor play provides students with numerous opportunities to use their imaginations! These colorful cones easily transform into a commuter train, transporting three very eager travelers to their desired destination. Chug, chug. Choo, choo!
When the weather permits, the Preppers class will go outside in our large, child-friendly playground. Our “middle” playground was specially designed with preschool-age children in mind. It provides students the opportunity to enhance their gross-motor skills, to build muscle and to improve coordination. It also provides an atmosphere for positive interactions with peers.
Playing in the sandbox offers many benefits for young children. As this student digs, pours, dumps, and scoops, he is developing more controlled arm and hand movements which strengthens the muscles used to grasp and for wrist control. He will soon take these growing skills into the classroom for writing!
Staying healthy and fit is so important! Our playground offers many opportunities for students to exercise and blow-off extra energy. This student poses for the camera after scaling the climber and making it all the way to the top!
Playing alone is merely okay, but playing with friends is fantastic! These two girls take a break from playing catch together to smile for the camera. Outdoor play not only supports, but encourages acquisition of social skills and social competencies.
For families looking to add even more inspiration to their child’s day, ADLC offers a wide variety of enrichment opportunities. These classes, instructed by experienced and passionate professionals in their field, are an optional compliment to our already extensive curriculum:
Music and Movement
Creative movement and music are exceptional tools in teaching young children. Music and movement is a regular part of our routine with particular goals and expectations in mind. The children sing, move to, and listen to a wide variety of music throughout the day, including classical and children’s music to help them develop an appreciation of creative movement and dance, develop an appreciation of music, and develop an appreciation of dramatic play and storytelling.
Your child will not only learn new songs but will have an opportunity to display their singing and dancing talents with you in one of our two family concerts scheduled throughout the year. Our school-wide winter and spring concerts bring families and friends together and showcase what your child is learning through music and movement during the year. All family members are invited and encouraged to attend!
Sign language is taught in the infant room and continually reinforced in the toddler and Preppers classrooms. Simple sign language such as, “more”, “all done”, “cup”, “please”, and “thank you” are used to help children communicate without frustration. The use of sign language helps to develop social and language skills even when Preppers students are developing a greater vocabulary. When Preppers students have sign language as a back-up when they are unable to express themselves to their satisfaction, it makes communication easier and more effective.
In today’s multicultural society, learning a second language is not only gratifying, but it also quite valuable. To provide your child with a basic knowledge of another language, our Preppers teachers include lessons in Spanish at least 3 times per week. Each lesson is organized by a topic familiar to the student, such as letters, numbers, colors, and family. The ADLC Spanish curriculum incorporates Spanish children’s books, Spanish language games, Spanish songs, and other hands-on activities to teach and reinforce Spanish acquisition throughout the year.
Our Spanish curriculum themes are as follows:
April-May Numbers and Letters
June-July Shapes and Colors
Aug.-Sept. My Family/My House/School
November Body Parts and Food
December Transportation and Days of the Week and Months of the Year
Jan.-April A review of all learned concepts
Food & Nutrition
Our Preppers curriculum incorporates numerous lessons and activities throughout the year that help students develop an awareness of healthy habits and nutritious food choices. In an attempt to reinforce what students learn in the classroom, ADLC ensures that the meals and snacks we provide are healthy and nutritious. Families are welcome to supply their child with snacks and lunches or may take advantage of our school snacks and/or our catered hot lunch program.
Snacks: Snack time is provided three times a day at around 9am, 3pm, and 5pm. Our 5pm snack is also when dinners can be heated for students whose families provide them. School snacks consist mainly of such foods as, cereal, crackers, and pretzels. Juice is always offered to accompany snack. Our snack service is included in your monthly tuition.
Lunch: Our hot lunches are catered by a local restaurant located in Montgomery Township. Each lunch is served to children in its own container and includes fruit, vegetable, and an entrée. Milk is also offered to all students who receive school lunch. Entrees include such items as, chicken tenders, pasta, hot dogs, mozzarella sticks, Sloppy Joes, and grilled cheese. A vegetarian option is always available for students on a special diet. Our hot lunch program is optional. Please see the Director for prices.
When your child graduates from Preppers at ADLC, he/she will be well-equipped for Pre-School. Here is merely a sampling of what your child will be able to do:
o Interacting with new people and situations with increasing comfort
o Following simple directions
o Beginning to use strategies learned from adults to manage own behavior
o Shows awareness that others’ feelings are separate from their own feelings
o Participates actively in group exercises
o Balances while moving arms and legs in active play
o Uses one hand to hold an object and the other hand to manipulate another object
o Uses eye-hand coordination while doing simple tasks
o Continues an activity, despite distractions
o Plans ways to use objects to perform multi-step tasks
o Investigates cause when something unexpected happens
o Matches objects by similarities
o Persists with trial-and-error approaches to solving a problem
o Demonstrates understanding of simple directions, questions, explanations, and stories
o Uses simple sentences and questions with three or more words
o Initiates conversation by using words
o Pretends to read favorite books
o Demonstrates interest in print
o Observe similarities and differences in the needs of living things, and differences between living and nonliving things.
Need more information? Please set a time to meet with our Preppers Room teachers. We would be happy to address any questions or concerns with our program!
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