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Preschool

“Think about what you really want for your child and what kind a life you expect them to lead.”

Our preschool program emphasizes the most important aspects of early childhood development:

1. Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Fine and Gross Motor SkillsBefore any kind of psychological or intellectual growth, a child needs to be healthy, and the basis of that health is physical activity.
Young children have to master both the gross motor skills, like coordination of hands and feet, and the fine motor skills. We engage them in a range of activities to help with both.

  • A large back yard gives them space to run around and jump, as well as play on the swings. Children also can ride around on bicycles and pull wagons. Dancing/Gymnastic class twice a week and yoga are part of the program.
  • Inside the classrooms, fine motor skills are used  ever-changing selection of art and creative activities, in paper shredding and gluing projects, coloring and painting using various media, play dough and kinetic sand, and musical numbers to which children clap, move their fingers, and stomp their feet

 

2. Language Development

Language DevelopmentLanguage to children is more than expression of thoughts and feelings – it is a means of making sense of the world around them. But language isn’t learned on its own – it must be carefully practiced and nurtured by the adults around.

Our reading program is based on a strong foundation of phonics. Developmentally appropriate activities allow children to build their own understanding of how sounds are represented by symbols, and these symbols are joined together to form words. Along with learning sounds children simultaneously learn to hold a pencil and control its use.

We have many games and toys to help children get an early jump on cultivating their language skills:

  • Puzzles with pictures and movable alphabet help teaching different sounds and forming words — the fundamentals of readings
  • Song and music exercises likewise teach sounds – and are especially effective when combined with physical movement that reinforces the ideas
  • At least 20 different poems help develop memory
  • Books written by us smooth the transition from sounds to syllables for beginning reader
  • Storytelling combines listening with imagination and participation, as children can put together pictures showing the events in the story

3. Intellectual Growth

Intellectual GrowthWhat seem like random movements to adults are a lot of times a child’s way of experimenting with the world around them. Cause and effect, action and reaction, all these things are endlessly fascinating to young minds.

Our own teachers do much to encourage this curiosity about the natural world. Our activities can introduce simple science to children from their earliest age:

  • Observations of plant growth are combined with hand-on experimentation, like coloring water with food dye to show how plants drinking it change color
  • Grasping basic concepts like hot / cold and liquid / solid using water
  • Art projects show that mixing colors creates new ones
  • ‘Creative Math’ consists of hands-on materials, life applications, and understanding of concepts rather than memorizing products. Children love to organize and categorize, explore patterns in the world around them. Concrete materials are used to introduce mathematical concepts. Children build their abstract mathematical reasoning skills on these early concrete experiences. They learn how a numeral represents an amount. They manipulate objects to see concretely operations like addition and subtraction. Children unlock the world of mathematics with ease.

4. Social Awareness

Social AwarenessChildren begin life focused only on themselves, but by around age three start interacting with peers. The shape of those interactions profoundly influences not only emotional well-being, but also the ability to learn and develop intellectually.

We treat the development of personality not a lesson, but a continual, ongoing process. To that end, we have come up with several effective techniques:

  • Explaining to children how to behave alone and how to make connections with others
  • Introducing new children individually to every member of the group, so that they don’t feel abandoned
  • Encouraging avoiding conflict where possible – and peacefully resolving it where it is not
  • Fostering a sense of togetherness by holding hands and sharing of toys

5. Emotions

EmotionsBy their early childhood years children begin to realize their emotional states and recognize the emotions of others. Their inner feelings largely affect the way they interact with the outside world.

In addition to the IQ – intelligence quotient – of highly successful children, we consider equally important their EQ – emotional quotient. We devote a lot of attention to fostering a balanced, positive childhood.

  • Resolving temper tantrums. Ignoring these types of outbursts dissuades the child from acting out and teaches them emotional self-control
  • Helping children find the source of their negative emotions. We understand an upset child is upset for a reason, even if they aren’t always able to express that reason. We know how to figure out the cause, which alone does a lot to calm them down. A child that feels understood will already be less upset
  • Multiple other techniques to improve the child’s emotional stability raise their self-esteem and make the child sociable to those around him
"Children are the best hope for the future."
- John F. Kennedy
West Hollywood Children's Academy