Foster a Love for Learning at an Early Age
A four-year old is filled with natural curiosity and wonder for the world. In MCDS Pre-Kindergarten, this intrinsic curiosity is kindled and celebrated. Each child is truly known for his unique qualities, interests, and feelings. Our experienced and dedicated teachers recognize each child’s developmental needs and build upon her strengths to foster academic, social, and emotional growth. Every moment is considered a “teaching” moment: finding an unusual rock on a nature trail becomes an impromptu geology lesson and learning to share at recess leads to a new friendship.
The MCDS Pre-Kindergarten program is offered with half-day (8 – 11:30 a.m.) or full-day (8 a.m. – 3:25 p.m.) options. In general, students should be age 4 by September 1 of the year enrolling, however, we recognize that children develop at different paces and evaluate each application individually.
The Pre-Kindergarten curriculum advances student skills in the areas of pre-reading, math, fine motor, and social skills with devoted time to science, Spanish, the arts, and character education to nurture the whole child.
Developing a love for the world of reading is our top academic priority! Students gain core literacy skills by learning upper and lower case letters, letter sounds, and word recognition. As language skills develop, students create journals in which they dictate and practice writing their own short story adventures. Daily story time with poetry and short stories, reading buddy time with older students, and weekly library time enables Pre-K students to develop an appreciation for a wide variety of literature.
Students explore math concepts of counting, number recognition, sequencing, estimating, and size with the use of hands-on manipulative materials. This learning is reinforced with written practice and whole group daily activities such as calendar time. Pre-Kindergarteners begin the Singapore Math curriculum, a world-recognized and acclaimed program emphasizing a deeper understanding of math skills.
Group Time and Thematic Units
Group time consists of brainstorming, sharing knowledge, and addressing particular questions together. Students have opportunities to share their experiences and ask questions in the group setting while engaging in cooperative learning. Thematic units such as community, seasons, holidays, dinosaurs, butterflies, environment, and space provide continuity across subject matter and connections to real life experiences.
Activity Center Time: Create and Explore
Activity centers include art, writing, blocks, dramatic play, puzzles, games, science, listening, and reading. This free choice time is critical to social development as children have the opportunity to further develop friendships, practice problem-solving skills, and pursue their individual strengths and talents.
Imagination flows in Art, where students delve into projects using media that include painting, collage, clay, weaving, and sculpture. Individual interests are encouraged!
Students are introduced to basic musical concepts through singing, playing instruments, moving to music, and listening to different performers and composers. Pre-Kindergarteners enjoy singing in a spring performance.
Students conduct hands-on experiments to learn the scientific method. Pre-K students learn to use their five senses to experience science all around them. They explore the life cycle of plants utilizing the nearby woods and prairie overlooking Lake Cherokee. Students build gravity-powered cars and create structures that explore stability. Other topics include static, mirrors, magnets, and the strength of eggshells.
Students learn speaking and listening skills through games, songs, books, and physical activities. Topics are as varied as greetings, colors, numbers, family, food, body parts, and clothing. Latin American culture is explored and celebrated.
Physical Education and Outdoor Activities
Pre-Kindergarteners explore a wide variety of concepts related to movement including spatial awareness, location, direction, levels, pathways, force, shapes, and actions. Team sports are introduced. Recess time is carefree with ample space to run and climb on the nature-inspired playground. Sledding is a favorite in winter!
In all-school assemblies, classroom meetings, and one-on-one moments with teachers and friends, positive character traits like respect, honesty, effort, perseverance, and kindness are discussed and set as the standard expectation. Pre-Kindergarteners benefit from being part of a of Pre-K through Grade 12 community, including connecting with older role models through “Reading Buddies.”
Free Play and Celebrations!
Daily free play gives students the freedom to choose activities, build friendships, and develop new talents. During the year, each child has a chance to shine as “Star of the Week,” and families share their traditions and holidays.
Pre-Kindergarten Program Goals
- Support and develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills
- Develop and enhance learning skills and strategies
- Develop appropriate socialization and self-help skills
- Develop math and reading readiness skills