The Fours program, which meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, is similar in structure to the Threes classes. The class begins with the teacher greeting the children, who then have an hour and 15 minutes of free exploration indoors and outside. Outside, children enjoy playing in the sandbox, riding trikes, swinging, working in the garden and playing with playdough. Indoors, they enjoy building with blocks, writing and doing art at the table, using dramatic play costumes and props, cooking, and doing puzzles. Two or three project activities are always available to the children. Children are encouraged to participate in the projects that are offered, both indoors and outdoors. Other project activities include science explorations, carpentry, open-ended art, easel painting. We explore the children’s interests. A typical topic might be Mail Delivery, where the children the write letters, sort the letters to match numbered mailboxes, weigh packages, buy stamps, load up mailbags and wagons, and deliver it all by foot, tricycle, and pony express.
The Fours class has a group circle time and snack time midway through class. One half of the class meets indoors while the other half has snack outdoors, then the two groups trade places. Parents take turns preparing the allergy-sensitive snack for the group. The day continues with another hour of free exploration indoors and out, then everyone cleans up and meets for story time and a closing song. As children are ready, the Fours class incorporates fine motor skill development: holding a crayon, starting to write the letters in their name and using scissors. They also participate in math and literacy activities.
Children take the foundation built during their first year of preschool and weave it together with the expansiveness that comes with turning four. Play remains a focus, but curiosity about writing, letters, and counting start to take root. Music contributes to the rich sensory classroom environment. Children branch out to cultivate a whole new level of social skills -- developing friends and relationships, looking forward to the predictability of school, expressing what is on their mind, and seeking answers to their questions about most anything under the sun. Project and emergent curriculum take learning where the children want to go -- exploring topics in breadth and depth. Snack time becomes an opportunity to practice social graces and share food, experiences and ideas. Field trips offer a unique experience to explore places and people in our community. The playground continues to be a place to practice social problem solving and acquire new skills and confidence — “Who’s ready to ride a silver tricycle?”
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