Children are attracted to things that imitate adults. As toddlers play; kitchen, driving, shopping, washing clothes... they are developing practical life exercises that enable them to function confidently and competently in the activities of everyday life. They are methodically mastering all the skills needed for independence. Concentration, attention to detail, coordination of movement are all being developed with each exercise. These exercises are the foundation on which the child approaches all other work.
Language skills are covered in a variety of ways; Singing rhyming chants and songs heighten toddler's attention; becoming attentive to the sound structure of language.
Reading; dramatizing stories connects children's love of pretend play to more formal storytelling and development of narrative skills. Puppet shows; collaborating to enact stories or being a member of the audience teaches a child how to begin and end a story, use narrator commentary and character dialogue, and how to be an effective storyteller. Puppet shows, reading books, and songs are all part of the fun that fill the children with a love of language and sounds.
Scientists believe that language is acquired most easily during the first decade of life. Children develop "perceptual maps". The circuits in children's brains then become wired for those sounds that are significant in their own language, and languages they are frequently exposed to. These perceptual maps eventually account for regional accents and the increasing difficulty in acquiring new languages as we grow older.
We offer toddlers an early advantage in learning Spanish. Vocabulary building with singing and reading, learning body parts, colors, and numbers actively engaging in a multi-sensory experience designed for early ages when language learning is most important.
Math concepts and conceptual skills are introduced using manipulatives, hands-on games, and play. Pattern blocks, color cubes, dinosaur color manipulatives, mini motor, wood blocks... The skills reinforced are shapes, patterning, sorting, classifying, locations (outside, above, below). Outdoor play and nature encourage many of these math concepts as well.
NATURE and SCIENCE
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. We encourage activities that stimulate children's interests in plant and animal life.
Plant projects introduce children to different types of plants and how they grow. They will enjoy learning why popcorn pops and growing their own popcorn plants from kernels as well as flowers and vegetables in our pallet garden.
Nature and animal hikes allow children to discover the characteristics and habits of various animals and insects.
MUSIC and COOKING
Music for young children starts with exploration, imitation, and experimentation. Teaching essential skills through music is an especially effective way to help young children learn. Children are natural explorers of sound and creators of music. Music is incorporated as a specific part of many activities; science, language, and movement exploration. Fun-filled action songs illustrate and inspire imagination, help children improve large motor coordination and teach body awareness as they perform actions with different parts of their bodies.
Playing an instrument, creating different sounds, imitating tone and rhythm, songs and chants, builds a child's music readiness and leads to the development of audiation. Audiation is to music what thought is to language. Audiation is to be able to listen to music and comprehend it.
Cooking includes mixing, rolling dough, decorating, baking, following directions and lots of fun eating their creations. Cooking is loaded with Math concepts and cooperation skills.
GAMES and PUZZLES
Children strengthen small motor skills, visual skills, listening skills, visual-motor, and discrimination development and improve their visual-motor coordination as they play games and piece puzzles together. Games are also used to reinforce a particular skill and are great for teaching cooperation.
ARTS and CRAFTS
Children have fun making art projects, eye-hand coordination, visual and small motor skills will be strengthened through a variety of tasks, including coloring, painting, gluing and molding playdough. These skills are a necessary prerequisite for good writing skills.
YOGA with cross-over exercises
These exercises are a series of movements used to enhance whole-brain learning. These activities make all types of learning easier, and are especially effective with academic skills. The changes in learning and behavior are often immediate and profound.
Each exercise activates the brain for various academic skills. Contralateral movements work by activating the speech and language centers of the brain. Crossing the visual midline encourages left to right eye movement, improved eye-muscle coordination (especially for tracking), symbol recognition, long-term association memory. Crossing the auditory midline improves skills involving recognition, perception, discrimination, and memory. Behavioral/Postural improvements correlate with each brain exercise too, attention span, improved binocular (both eyes together) and peripheral vision, coordination with specialization of hand and eyes.