Most threes and fours are full of energy, eagerness and curiosity. During these years, motor skills are being perfected and creativity and imagination come into everything. They can turn a cardboard box into a pet shop, space ship or car and they make the perfect sounds to go along with it. Their vocabulary and cognitive skills are increasing rapidly, allowing the child to express ideas, solve problems, and plan ahead. They strive for independence, yet they need reassurance that an adult is available to give assistance, to comfort, or to rescue, if need be. Preschool children strongly believe in their own opinions, and at the same time they are developing some sense of the needs of others and some control over their own behavior. At four they begin to test more limits and have more arguments with mom and dad as they are striving to be “big”.
Child Development/Brain Research
Children develop in four areas and at Open Arms we believe there is a 5th area of development. The areas include:
1. social/emotional development
2. physical development
3. cognitive development
4. language development
5. spiritual development.
Our job at Open Arms is to teach the “whole child” starting with the little bitty baby to the older toddler to the full-day kindergarten child and beyond. Development in the early years is so important because children’s brains are still developing and changing.
Through positive interactions the children and teachers will develop a bond of trust. Through this relationship the children will feel comfortable to express their feelings and emotions. Also through age-appropriate play with toys and manipulatives the children will learn to interact with one another sharing, communicating and learning from each other. Remember there is no art to getting a child to share. It takes a lot of patience, practice, reminders and love.
Preschoolers have A LOT of energy. At Open Arms we provide a safe and clean area where they can use that energy to walk, run, hop, jump, skip, play, create and play games. We have a gymnasium for indoor play and a fenced in playground for gross motor development. We also encourage fine motor development by working with the preschoolers to build towers, play with puzzles, manipulate blocks, and experiment with art mediums and by using scissors and writing instruments when they are ready.
At Open Arms we provide a consistent and predictable environment. We have a schedule hanging in the room to inform the parents of what happens throughout the day. The children also learn that schedule. Our teachers communicate through words and actions. As your preschooler continues to grow and learn they can listen attentively and make relevant comments about the stories. Our preschool curriculum includes theme units which incorporate science, math, social studies and art. We also study a different letter of the alphabet and practice phonics and writing when they are ready. Each day your child will have calendar and weather time, stories, sensory play, art and jobs. We help teach responsibility through each child receiving a job for the week. We take time to celebrate special occasions, holidays and birthdays. Once per week your child will have Spanish class and they will also be able to visit our school library for story-time and to check out a book. Children love to cook! In our preschool rooms the children will be actively involved in cooking projects as part of their normal classroom routine. They love to measure, pour, stir, help and especially eat their creations. We have found this to be a very fun way to reinforce lessons. Our curriculum encompasses all areas of development and is age-appropriate for your preschooler.
At Open Arms we talk to the children, we sing and play music, we read lots of books and we have a variety of pictures displayed throughout the room to help promote language skills. By communicating with the preschoolers and building on the communication efforts which started in the infant and toddler rooms, we are teaching the children the meaning of words through our repetition and actions. Preschoolers talk about objects, people and actions of others. They ask an increasing number of questions. During this age level, they usually know between three hundred to one thousand words. They can recite nursery rhymes, prayers and sing songs. Most of the time their speech is understandable and they are sponges to anything going on around them and they will talk about it. Our teachers encourage language development through games, songs, reading lots of stories, talking and play time.
At Open Arms we respect each child as a unique individual created by God. We are here to provide your preschooler with a safe, loving, clean, age appropriate environment where they can feel free to express their feelings and explore. In the preschool classes we have a formal Bible curriculum called Voyages, used to teach Bible stories, songs and prayers. The preschoolers will also attend a weekly chapel service in the church where they will hear a message, sing, and pray with Pastor or the Director of Open Arms. We incorporate Bible teachings into prayers before snack and lunch; story-time and learning about various themes for example: Noah’s Ark and the story of creation as two examples.
At Open Arms, our teachers always strive to show God’s love in their words and actions.