The Pre-Kindergarten years are a crucial time for children to learn to regulate their own emotions, acquire social skills, and function as part of a group. The emergence of self regulatory skills and social competence is linked to language skills and early literacy. Language, in turn, is the foundation of early literacy development and long-term reading comprehension. Our Pre-Kindergarten curriculum for four year olds is based on research on the development of early language, literacy, social and emotional skills. It systematically builds those proficiencies identified as critical to a four year olds development. We also heavily focus on reading, writing and handwriting to prepare four year olds for public or private school kindergarten.
Health and Safety:
We provide an extremely sanitary and safe environment for our Pre-Kindergarten students.
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 four 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.
An effective Pre-Kindergarten program nurtures a children’s desire to learn and instills a sense of competency as a learner. Our curriculum strives to help children evolve into self-sustaining learners by helping them become conscious of words and interested in learning them.
Our curriculum targets all key early-literacy abilities and does so in activities that draw upon multiple capacities at the same time. We place a high priority on supporting children’s language and vocabulary development – focusing attention on those areas by encouraging children to write for their own purposes and to read a variety of books.
We support phonological awareness through exposure-based approaches such as singing and reading predictable books, tuning into the sounds of language through teacher-led games, and encouraging child-initiated activities such as writing.
Our curriculum draws from the wealth of research on early literacy development that’s been generated over the past quarter of a decade. It provides an instructional program that’s comprehensive. It balances child-initiated activity with teacher-directed activity — and it teaches children skills and concepts that are essential for long-term literacy success. Also, children are repeatedly exposed to group activities that hold their interest and motivate them to do similar types of activities on their own or with others.
Our Pre-Kindergarten classroom engages children daily in journal writing. Written communication is one of the most important skills needed in a child’s development. Moreover, reading and writing go hand-in-hand, therefore journal writing helps a child to read. Journal writing encourages children to explore their minds – while at the same time improving their spelling and grammar.
We also provide a handwriting program for our Pre-Kindergarten students. This curriculum teaches the easiest skills first — and then builds on prior knowledge. Letters are taught in a sequence that makes sense: in groups of similar formation. After children master the easiest letters, they’re ready for more difficult ones in both print and cursive. We help children develop their writing skills through multi-sensory, play-based instruction. Activities with hands-on materials address different senses to teach correct formation, spacing, sequencing and other skills. Mastery of concepts is reinforced with three levels of activities in their student workbook.
We also believe social skills are equally 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 four year olds 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.
This age group also partakes in yoga daily to foster confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem and well-being. Yoga with four 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 four year olds stage in development. Research shows that brain connections are built by engaging four 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 four year olds 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 “Keep Austin Beautiful” whenever and wherever possible.
Assessments for Pre-Kindergarten are conducted three times per 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 Pre-Kindergarten class 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 Pre-Kindergarten Students:
Our Pre-Kindergarten students are able to utilize our 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 is also able to utilize the PREP Tech classroom, which offers cutting-edge technology with individual desktops for four year olds to enjoy. We provide a protected-internet connection to allow for a safe and secure technology experience. Children can opt for individual instruction on the desktops or free computer play time. 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 four 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 four year olds can bring their outside time indoors if the weather is not permitting.
Pre-Kindergarteners are able to play in our Splash Park on weather permitting days. This park allows our four 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.