For the young child, the process of interacting with materials and people results in learning. Much of this learning takes place when they direct their own play activities. During play, children feel successful when they engage in a task they have defined for themselves, such as finding their way through an obstacle course with a friend or pouring water into and out of various containers. In terms of social and emotional development, during play, children learn to share, cooperate, deal with frustration, and take pride in what they are doing.
Children need years of play with real objects and events before they are able to understand the meaning of symbols such as letters and numbers. As the young child has many opportunities to touch, manipulate, and experiment with things and interact with people, children's concepts and language gradually develop to enable them to understand more abstract and symbolic information.
The curriculum for young children must be relevant to their needs, while preparing them for future school experiences. We strive to offer young children
experiences that will increase their skills of problem solving, thinking, reasoning, and creating. Preschool children must be presented with opportunities for growth and stimulation in all areas of development. As preschool educators, our teachers strive to develop growth in the young child's physical, linguistic, social, emotional and mental processes.
Since young children are naturally inquisitive and eager to explore, create and learn, it is our philosophy to offer them abundant opportunities that will allow them to interact naturally with their environment. Preschool children can be taught to memorize information such as the letters of the alphabet. However, this way of learning does not necessarily reflect a real understanding of the information. In order for a child to fully understand a concept, the information must be meaningful, relating to the child's experiences and development. When learning is relevant to the young child, not only is comprehension improved, but the motivation to learn more is noted.
The teacher's role is to prepare the environment with stimulating, challenging activity choices and then to facilitate the children's engagement by asking
questions, making suggestions, or adding more complex materials or ideas to a situation. Interest or learning centers carefully organized and positioned in the room create the structure and focus for the child. The teacher gets to know each child and can respond with appreciation to the individuality of each child.
Children learn best when there is a planned curriculum of activities focused on a particular theme or concept. Through the thematic approach, children's
experimental base is broadened and their mental schemata is increased. This schemata is one of the keys to learning how to read. A "hands on" approach leads the child to a more complete understanding of the theme or concept presented.
Goals of our Program
• Make each child's school experience a positive one.
• Encourage positive feelings about self, the school and the environment.
• Stimulate each child's thought processes to bring greater understanding, awareness and curiosity.
• Encourage sharing and cooperation.
• Encourage following directions.
• Provide opportunities for self-expression through language, art, dramatics, music, and play.
• Encourage each child to solve problems independently.
• Develop the ability to think logically and make associations.
• Provide experiences with books that will foster a love of reading.
• Foster frequent communication between parents and teachers.
• Provide a basic religious understanding of God.
It is both a joy and a professional responsibility for us to share our Catholic faith with the young children entrusted to our charge by their parents. In keeping with the teachings of Vatican Council II, we recognize parents as the primary religious educators of their children - a task that begins at the child's baptism.
All the love they as parents show a child is the foundation upon which these children will reflect upon the love of God for them and choose to become
believers in their own right.
Here is where we find our religious task. We understand our faith to be not only a personal and familial reality but a social one as well. Preschool is a perfect opportunity to enhance and reinforce all that parents are trying to do. It is a ministry of the parish offered to families who are open to having their children in a developmentally appropriate manner to our Catholic faith. By telling the stories of our faith (such as the birth of Jesus, His goodness to people, etc.) and using simple gestures of word and prayer, we will witness to our faith and share it with them.
The day includes a simple prayer. We will celebrate the Christian holy days and certain Church symbols will be introduced. Reference will be made to all
creations (trees, birds, animals) as creatures of God and friends to all of us.
Typical areas covered in our 2-year-old program: simple colors, shapes, farm animals, zoo animals, pets, family, all about me, musical instruments,
transportation, nursery rhymes, separation and socialization.Typical areas covered in our 3-year-old program: seasons, forest animals, polar animals, the five senses, air/wind, rain, insects, colors, numbers from 1-10, shapes, separation and socialization. Typical areas covered in our 4-year-old program: patterning, sequencing, community helpers, sight recognition of letters and numbers, name recognition, writing of the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and one's name. A greater emphasis is placed on academic training to prepare the children for kindergarten.
Now that you are familiar with the various aspects of our curriculum, please be assured that it is not as academic as it seems. Every content area mentioned is presented to our students. However, it is done in an approach that is understandable, friendly, and fun. All of our learning experiences are presented in such a manner, especially for our younger children. While we strive to offer a program that encompasses the broadest sense of academics, our prime concern is the overall happiness, social adjustment, and well being of your child. All our learning experiences are presented in a "hands on" approach through themes, literature, art, and related learning experiences.
Our staff is comprised of dedicated veterans and young professionals who help to make St. Gertrude's Preschool a warm and inviting place for your child to socialize and learn. Staff members are required to be Virtus trained, which is a program provided by the Church to educate all who work with children about abuse. Our teachers are certified and experienced in working with young children. We maintain small classes with an approximate adult-to-child ratio of 6:1 for four-year-olds, 5:1 for three-year-olds and 4:1 for two-year-olds. All our staff are CPR trained and certified.