Prekindergarten children are especially interested in making interpersonal connections as they begin to forge exciting friendships. Throughout each day students are immersed in stimulating hands-on activities, enabling them to learn new skills while socializing with peers. They are also developing longer attention spans and the ability to verbalize their ideas. Teachers build on these developmental changes by exploring more abstract ideas, like “Houses and Homes Around the World” and “Understanding Others’ Feelings.” Each prekindergarten class quickly becomes a cohesive group, allowing for a variety of activities that reflect developmental growth such as yoga, reading a “morning message,” and lively class discussions.
Learning Looks Like This
A teacher reads the story, This Is Our House, by Michael Rosen. As the children listen, the story describes how one child won’t let anyone into a cardboard box that he pretends is his own house. As he continues to exclude people for different reasons, the children in the class show frustrated faces and begin to offer comments and questions.
“Why does the little boy not want anyone to come in?”
“Everyone has different hair, he’s not being very nice.”
“It’s not okay to tell people that they can’t come in unless they are a stranger and then you ask your parents”
“There are a lot of nice things to say, you just have to be nice to your friends.”
The teacher supports them in thinking about the situation from multiple perspectives. “What do you think the girl felt like when he said she couldn’t come in? How do you think he’s feeling as he says ‘no’ to all his friends? Is he having fun and feeling happy?” As the children continue to discuss the story, they relate times when they have been excluded and share how they feel when that happens. The teacher asks the students to make a face showing what it looks like when they are upset or frustrated, and asks children what they can do when they see a friend whose face looks like that.
“You could say I will play with you,” one child suggests, and another says, “I’d say, don’t be sad, let’s have fun!” One child suggests, “You could say, ‘why are you sad?’ Maybe their stomach hurts.” They talk about what they can do if they see a friend being excluded, and discuss making a classroom guideline, ‘you can’t say you can’t play.’ The teacher writes the guideline on a large sheet of paper and helps children sign it. The sign hangs in the classroom near the meeting area.
Prekindergarten at Lesley Ellis is a five-day morning program (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) with additional options:
- Before school (7:30 – 8:30 a.m.)
- Afternoons (12:30 – 3:15 p.m.)
- Afterschool (3:15 – 5:30 p.m.)
Prekindergartners benefit from all the special subjects available to our older students, including:
- Spanish (2x/week)
- Physical Education