The AJL Preschool Program combines the practices of Montessori with other educational techniques to form a unique “hybrid curriculum” that provides a stimulating and effective educational experience. It takes the best ideas and methods in the field of early childhood education and combines them into an enriched curriculum. One of our goals is for the children to master the skills necessary to ensure success in Kindergarten. While acquiring these skills, however, special emphasis is placed on how they learn.
Our classroom is divided up into Areas of Learning where children discover and explore using a variety of stimulating materials, which foster and develop different skills.
Language & Literacy
- Language, in all of its forms, is an essential part of the program
- We foster a love of reading by exposing children to all types of literature
- Vocabulary, listening and speaking skills are developed in both large and small group activities
- Letters and the sounds they make are introduced, and the children are given many opportunities to “play” with them in different modalities
- Children begin to “write” their names and words using first imaginary and then actual letters
Math, Numeracy & Logic
- Children learn about math by working with concrete materials—things they can touch and manipulate
- Large blocks develop spatial awareness, smaller colored blocks invite patterning and beads encourage sorting and matching
- Significant time is allotted each day for children to experiment and use their imagination with varied math materials
Music, Arts & Science
- Weekly music classes are conducted by Music Together of Fairfield County. Parents are provided with CDs to listen to at home
- Children sing and listen to music daily
- Exciting opportunities are available to interpret different musical selections through dance and movement
- Open‐ended activities such as painting with a brush, drawing with a pencil, doing puzzles, stringing beads and cutting with scissors strengthen fine motor skills and allow children to express themselves creatively
- Students learn about science and nature through observation, classification, prediction and exploration
Social & Emotional Development
During all activities, a standard of civility and respect will prevail. Teachers will lead by modeling appropriate behavior. Due to the unique teacher/student ratio, teachers will have time to discuss and encourage appropriate conflict resolution strategies, both individually and in small groups, as well as foster self‐control in larger group settings. Much time will be spent helping children work cooperatively with their peers while developing empathy and caring for others.
Since children learn through the movement of their bodies, an emphasis is placed on developing gross motor skills. The goal is to have the children learn to control their large and small muscles to accomplish coordinated tasks.
A large outside playground will include areas to run, climb and explore. There will be a paved area where the children can ride tricycles and a variety of structures on which the children can climb, jump and balance—all of these activities foster the development of gross motor skills as well as hand‐eye coordination. Finally, children learn how to problem-solve and cooperate on the playground.
It must be noted that an overlap exists between content areas—development in one area will influence the development in another. As no skills are acquired in isolation, learning is viewed as a dynamic interaction of many areas.