Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum
Research on Early Childhood Education is the driving force for our curriculum decisions. We respect each child’s changing capabilities and have faith in their ability to be self-directed learners.
Our goal is to create eager learners by providing concrete activities that are relevant to the lives of young children. Teachers create opportunities for children to expand their learning and stimulate their thinking through play, music, art, physical activities and experiences in math and science in an environment which is rich in quality children’s literature.
We believe young children learn best through:
- Playful interaction with other children.
- Hands-on activities which are built around children’s interests.
- Manipulating, transforming and combining a variety of materials.
- Opportunities for directing their own choice of activities in a carefully planned environment.
- Physical activities which develop large muscle control and self-confidence.
- Opportunities for creative expression and social problem solving through dramatic play.
- Active engagement in early literacy activities which foster a love of reading and encourages an interest in drawing, scribbling and writing.
- Verbal expression of ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Big Book Math
We are excited to bring into the classroom, a program designed to develop within each child, an understanding and insight into the patterns of mathematics through the use of concrete materials. “Big Book Math” is a program based on the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and state early childhood math standards.
Big Book Math motivates children to learn real math concepts, problem-solving, and vocabulary in the context of real-life situations. This program is an interactive curriculum that’s researched based and covers six critical math strands: numbers, geometry, algebra, measurement, data analysis and number operations. Each unit has exciting interactive options with manipulatives that involves children in their activities and personalizes their learning.
In each of the classrooms we will have a collection of familiar materials from the child’s world which will enable our teachers to begin gradually building a bridge towards the adult world of abstraction. These materials will be located in an actual “Math Center” in which the children can work independently or within a group. They will be exposed to pattern blocks, unifix cubes, inch cubes, and geoboards. Because the materials are real and physically present before the child, they engage the child’s senses, and are, in themselves, enjoyable and rewarding. The materials provide motivation for learning at the same time that they provide the tools for exploration and problem solving.
We will be focusing first on “Free Exploration” of the materials provided, allowing children to count, sort, compare, or make designs with particular objects. We will then move into Patterning, Sorting and Classifying, Counting Sequence, and even some Graphing. Throughout these building blocks children will begin to learn meaningful concepts behind the abstract symbolization of mathematics.
We feel that preschoolers are ready for literacy based academic content to be introduced into their daily curriculum. At Oak Crest Preschool we have created an environment in which childhood is “preserved” but children are given access to appropriate academic skills they can carry with them into kindergarten. Some of the methods we have established in order to attain this goal are:
- Cultivating a print rich environment enabling literacy skills to evolve through recognition.
i.e.: left to right page orientation, consistent routines including letter and sound recognition, spatial configuration of alphabet letters, spacing to mark word boundaries, author/illustrator placement, and phonemic segmentation of words.
- Integrating written language into meaningful experiences.
i.e.: makings signs, charting, graphing, journaling, writing centers, translation of children’s dialect into written form, and various opportunities for children to create their own versions of written language using inventive spelling.
- Provide literacy materials for exploration & play.
i.e.: letter stamps, envelopes, library on campus for maintaining print rich environment, sentence strips, word walls with sight words, and alphabet books.
Our goal is to keep academic content meaningful, integrating it into larger goals allowing for the right levels of child choice & initiation while providing plenty of opportunity for exploration and play.
“Spanish for Millennium Kids” is a program designed by Lidia Buren, who has developed a system to provide our teachers with the skills and resources needed to teach Spanish. She has been an educator in Florida for twenty years and has specialized in the field of Spanish education for preschool, elementary and middle school children.
Oak Crest recognizes the growing need for children to become proficient in foreign languages. Spanish is second only to English in the United States and continues to expand within our culture. Ms. Buren’s program includes forty eight detailed lesson plans for a year around program, instructional CDs for listening and pronunciation and a corresponding vocabulary of all words, phrases and songs.
Our teachers will be introducing with each lesson a simple word or phrase, slowly building a vocabulary and incorporating a review into each lesson. This development is crucial in the formative years as children are easily able to learn more than one language. Just imagine having your child familiarized with over 150 Spanish words, songs and phrases by the end of the school year!
Explorations in Science
Investigating Science has never been so much fun! We will be promoting the integration of science inquiry with other areas of our curriculum including math, writing, literacy, art and even cooking, through this hands on method of learning.
We will be “Energizing our students about electricity and magnetism”, having a “Whale of a good time learning about mammals”, and sending your child “Orbiting into space” with some of our new science centers!!
Each child will be able to experience science in a different way, at his or her own pace, through interactive science activities, demonstrations, and experimentations.
We will have 12 popular science themes set aside to be introduced to each class on a monthly basis. The explorations into each topic will begin with a teacher directed overview for each theme along with a group experiment or activity. As the month progresses the children will have the opportunity to continue with engaging, self directed activities that will be sure to tap into the natural science curiosity of each of our preschoolers. Be sure to join us on this journey into the world of science!
Music for the Child
Oak Crest Preschool now offers “Music with Mar” as it’s music enrichment program. Oak Crest has long sought after a music curriculum that embraces it’s philosophy with regard to developmentally appropriate practices as well as one that each child would benefit from and enjoy participating in.
The “Music with Mar” program will be integrated into each classroom on a daily basis in an inviting and exciting way.
The music that will be used has been written by Maryann “Mar” Harman. Mar is a music teacher and recording artist whose music is not focused merely on musicality but on teaching the whole child through music. Her songs teach social, motor, language and cognitive skills.
Mar Harman’s background includes extensive brain-based research regarding child development and the effects of music in developing strong life skills, and a strong value system.
Over the past 24 years Mar has taught at every grade level (pre-k through college) and has developed a 10 month to 5 year old music based learning program. She is also an adjunct professor at USF and her program is being used in seven US state, and internationally in Japan and Costa Rica by licensed instructors!
We look forward to offering this wonderful program as an addition to our enrichment curriculum and are certain that through “Music with Mar” each child will gain valuable life skills along with a love for music.