Curriculum at Normandale Preschool


Normandale Preschool uses The Creative Curriculum for Preschool as the foundation and framework that includes research based goals and objectives to guide teachers in planning activities that are age and developmentally appropriate.  The curriculum is carefully planned in the following areas:

Social-Emotional Development: Young children's social-emotional development involves learning how to understand their own and other's feelings, regulating and expressing their emotions appropriately, building relationships with others, and interacting in groups.

Physical Development: Physical Development includes children's gross-motor (large muscle) and fine motor (small muscle) skills.  Motor development progresses from simple to comples and from head to toe.  Children have many opportunities to practice their gross motor skills by pulling, climbing, running, kicking, throwing, jumping, and balancing, and their fine motor skills by cutting, drawing, writing, grasping, and manipulating.

Language Development: Children use language to think and solve problems.  The adults in children's lives are role models and are very important in helping children develop a strong foundation in language.  Teachers influence language development through the language they use, the way they set up the environment, and the types of experiences they provide including activities in speaking, siinging, listening, reading and writing.  The opportunities children have for dramatic play and converstation with classmates also expand their language development.

Cognitive Development: Cognitive Development, also called intellectual development, is the child's approach to learning and his or her ability to remember and connect experiences.  Children have varied opportunities to expand attention skills and practice persistence and problem solving.  Activities are designed to encourage curiosity, recognition and recall, and connection skills.  Children explore classifying by observing similarities and differences in objects and the world around them and symbolic and abstract thinking through imaginative play.

Literacy: During the early childhood years, children engage in emergent reading and writing behaviors that form the foundation for conventional literacy.  Children explore letter recognition and sounds, books and other print, beginning writing skills and expand vocabulary and comprehension.

Mathematics: First hand exploration of every day materials is important for learning mathematics.  Children practice counting, number recognition, identifying shapes, patterns and relationships, measuring, simple fractions, sorting and problem solving.

Science and Technology: Science content during the early years focuses on living things, physical properties of materials and objects, and the Earth's environment and how we can care for it.  Young children are natural investigators.  They are curious about how things work and what will happen next.  Hands on, in depth experiences are an appropriate way for children to learn science content, the basic use of scientific tools and technology, and process skills like classifying, measuring and communicating.  Children explore cause and effect and learn about various life-cycles, the human body, seasons and weather among other topics.

Social Studies: When young children explore social studies, they learn how to be researchers, critical thinkers, and active members of the classroom community.  Teachers build upon children's interests and use them to introduce children to places, traditions and cultures.  In-house and off-site field trips expand children's understanding of the greater community.

The Arts: Children express themselves creatively through the visual arts, music, dance and movement, and drama.  In addition to using the arts to create, children can also develop an awareness and appreciation of art.  Children's experiences with visual arts emphasize process over product and include exposure to a variety of media including: painting with and on various materials; drawing with pencils, crayons, chalk and markers; creating collages; cutting; gluing; print making; exploring textures; sculpting; and manipulating clay and dough.  We also expose the children to various art masters and try out their techniques.

Music and Dance experiences offer opportunites for listening, singing, creating.  Music activities help children develop auditory discrimination, increase the range of flexibility in their voices, and enhance physical development through dance.  Through the use of singing, instruments, rhyme, rhythm, finger plays, dance, creative movement and listening to various types of music, the children also learn vocabulary, language skills, coordination and emotional expression.

Drama can take many forms such as pretend play, puppets and acting out stories.  Children identify themselves with people or things with which they have first hand contact such as moms, dads, firefighters, shopkeepers, etc.  Aread for housekeeping, family role-playing, various props and dress-up clothes, and other role playing activities provide opportunities for interaction and communication.

English Language Acquisition: We seek to help English Language Learners progress in listening, speaking and comprehension of English. We do this in many ways, for example, through role-play, visual and picture cues, books, music, sign language, and converstation.  We expose all of our children to different languages and cultures throughout our curriculum.

Summarized from The Creative Curriculum for Preschool Volume 5 written by Heroman, Burts, Berke and Bickart.