PREP Junior Preschool
Our Junior Preschool classroom is one of our two year old classes. This class supports the “can-do” attitude of this age group and uses their natural curiosity for hands-on activities. We focus on emerging language skills in this classroom. Children are taught not only words to communicate effectively, but also how to problem solve. Potty training is a main focal point of this classroom. We patiently aid two year olds in learning the steps needed to become independent and graduate out of diapers and onto the next level.
Health and Safety:
We provide an extremely sanitary and safe environment for our Junior Preschoolers.
We have diaper-changing stations that are forward facing to the classroom. This allows the teachers to change a child’s diaper while never having their back to the classroom. With the high number of diaper changes that occur per day, this setup enables teachers to both change a diaper and monitor the classroom at the same time. To make the process more sanitary, eliminate odor and control contamination, we even have an exhaust mechanism built into our diaper disposal system.
We have installed an air conditioning filtration system that pulls and circulates fresh, clean air throughout the building.
To promote dental hygiene, children brush their teeth in the classroom using their personal toothbrush following meals.
An age-appropriate, fully fenced in outdoor playground for our two year olds provides an opportunity for physical activity while fostering the development of gross-motor and social skills.
Our hand-washing sinks in the classrooms and bathrooms come with automatic water and soap-dispensing capabilities to decrease cross contamination of germs.
Closed circuit cameras in the classroom can be viewed from the specialized PREP Parent Lounge at the front of the building. A specialized fingerprint entry secures the visitors entering the building.
A separate Tender Loving Care (TLC) Room provides a place for a sick child to be removed from the classroom until a parent arrives to pick up his or her child. This eliminates further spread of sickness in the classrooms.
Our goal is for our Junior Preschoolers to become competent and eager learners. Our two year old curriculum provides a rich learning environment that expands vocabulary and broadens self-regulation skills. We use emergent learning to support growing independence. We provide a unique balance of classroom support materials, family connection components, and easy-to-understand strategies so that our teachers can put it all together and create an exciting and enriching learning environment needed for children to flourish.
Our emergent learning approach is focused on each Junior Preschooler’s unique needs and interests. Using comprehensive learning objectives, we deliver daily activities that have a main topic — but are purposefully guided to meet an individualized goal for each child. To guide our teaching and adapt to each child’s interest and existing knowledge, we also gather background information and child input on a topic we’re set to study. This allows for individualized instruction, and an interest driven, integrated learning experience for each child.
This age group also partakes in yoga daily to foster confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem and well-being. Yoga with two year olds supports neuromuscular development and body awareness. It also teaches relaxation techniques, as well as stretching and other exercises that are age appropriate for a two year olds stage in development. Research shows that brain connections are built by engaging two year olds in interactive experiences that involve sensory, motor and social explorations.
We are environmentally conscious at The PREP, and we support “Keep Austin Beautiful.” We have daily, weekly and monthly recycling activities that go well beyond simple waste separation. Our program teaches our Junior Preschoolers different ways to recycle and how to be environmentally responsible. Our hope is that children share their excitement and knowledge about being “green” with their parents – and they too will take steps to protecting our environment whenever and wherever possible.
Social skills are equally as important to success in life as academic skills. When children are respectful, kind, polite and honest — they develop character. Moreover, teaching children what behavior to model and what’s expected of them is a daily process. That’s where our Etiquette program comes into play – a program we provide in partnership with parents to teach children manners and appropriate behavior.
We also provide a fun and rewarding Spanish curriculum that immerses our Junior Preschoolers in a second language through a combination of multi-sensory and technology components. Young minds are geared toward language development, and children in this age group have the greatest capacity to learn a new language
Assessments for Junior Preschoolers are conducted twice a year – enabling parents and teachers to have a balanced look at a child’s abilities and potential areas of improvement. To focus on a child’s specific needs and skills, we allow for individualized instruction and various activities as part of our curriculum.
A weekly learning plan is posted outside the classroom detailing learning activities for each two year old every day at The PREP.
Electronic updates, photos, and daily reports are sent to the parent’s email each day to communicate about the child’s day and pertinent information as needed.
Enrichment Classrooms for Junior Preschoolers:
Our Junior Preschoolers are able to utilize the following enrichment areas throughout the building.
As weather permits, we have scheduled activities in our Outdoor Classroom where children get to experience the sounds, sights and smells of nature. This classroom – which is used daily and weekly for lessons and activities – is separated from the main lobby area by an operable garage door with multiple glass panels. When opened, the indoor and outdoor environments merge… and children are invited to better understand the world we live in. It gives teachers a chance to incorporate “nature” into their lesson plans – all while creating greater levels of creativity, curiosity and discovery among children. It’s truly the ideal place for children to learn in a unique way.
We also have a dedicated Art Studio that allows fun and imagination to blossom among children. It gives our teachers the ability to encourage creativity with hands on painting projects and imaginative artwork. The children can also use this room for fun and interactive cooking projects – if they are learning how to bake cookies – they get to break the eggs… stir in the flour… and pour in the sugar.
In The PREP Café, lunch is served in our state of the art cafeteria prepared by a full-time chef in our on site kitchen. Meal plans are designed with input from our dietician, and food served is health conscious, well balanced and organic where possible. Even our snacks are healthy such as trail mix, and fruits and veggies. We dine family-style — which encourages children to learn manners, responsibility and independence at the table.
This age group also gets to utilize the PREP Tech classroom, which offers cutting-edge technology with individual desktops for two year olds to enjoy. We provide a protected-internet connection to allow for a safe and secure technology experience. Two year olds can opt for individual instruction on the desktops or free computer playtime. We also have an interactive whiteboard in this space – a new technology that personalizes learning, engages students and supports teachers. Using this new technology, children can engage with one another during lessons, and take part in fun and interactive activities.
We also have a Multi-Purpose Room where two year olds can develop fine and gross-motor skills. It provides an array of activities and toys for the children to enjoy. It’s also an alternative environment for play, as two year olds can bring their outside time indoors if the weather is not permitting.
Junior Preschoolers also get to play in our Splash Park on weather permitting days. This park allows two-year-olds to cool off and have fun. It consists of a splash pad with water spouts and sprays. For safety purposes, there’s no standing water.