Preschool Director’s Corner

AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PA EARLY CHILDHOOD STANDARDS

NOVEMBER 2019

St. Paul’s Preschool follows the Pennsylvania Early standards as we create and adapt our curriculum to the various age groups within our school.  Each month I will examine one of the standards we are focusing on in the classes and explain how the teachers are implementing it into their curriculum.

Standard 16.2 PK.B   Diversity:  Identify similarities and differences between self and others

During this season of celebration for many different religious faiths and cultures, it is important to make sure each is represented within the classroom.  The teaching staff treats all children with respect and consideration. They are careful to make sure all cultures and ethnicities are represented and are not stereotyped in language references. They attend a  multicultural/anti-bias curriculum workshop every other year and work on creating a monthly chart that outline the activities and materials they use in their lesson plans, which reflect multicultural curriculum.

There are specific developmental milestones in an Anti-bias educational framework that are examined by the teachers. These milestones are incorporated into each class’s daily lesson plans.

The first milestone is that a positive self-concept can only occur after a child is able to do the following:

  • Recognize the self as separate and autonomous
  • Recognize individual physical characteristics and those of others
  • Recognize and achieve gender and racial constancy
  • Recognize the self in relation to one’s family-racial identity, language, customs, and behaviors
  • Recognize the self to a larger group-peers, ethnic, racial and class; and
  • Recognize the self in relation to larger social networks, such as the community, city and country

The second milestone is that a shared understanding can only occur when a child has the ability to see another’s point of view.  Children discuss similarities and differences between people and learn to respect each other by modeling behaviors and the language of respect that the teachers use with each other and with the children.  Teachers are quick to intervene if a child is belittling or making fun of another child.  This is something not tolerated. The teachers will sit in small groups with the children to teach tolerance by using literature or puppet play to address this situation in a non-threatening, non-punitive manner.

The third milestone is that critical thinking skills can only occur when a child has the capacity to do the following:

  • Understand class inclusion
  • See a whole and its parts separately
  • Compare events and people in both positive and negative terms; and
  • Solve problems on an abstract level

The fourth milestone is that confronting injustice or discriminatory behaviors can only happen when children:

  • Are able to express their ideas and feelings; and
  • Have reached the stage where they can plan, organize and carry out actions based on a strong held value or opinion

Once these milestones in development are understood, a curriculum can be created which addresses these areas. St. Paul’s Preschool has incorporated this development into our daily curriculum in many ways. These skills (listed below) are also sequenced in developmentally appropriate ways to assist education in promoting anti-bias attitudes at appropriate stages of development.

Positive Self-Concept/Esteem-Affective Skill building:

  • Foster positive self-concept and sense of self
  • Labels feelings and emotions
  • Helps others
  • Demonstrates pride in accomplishments
  • Understand relation to one’s family
  • Tries new experiences
  • Works cooperatively
  • Able to be a group member
  • Copes with change
  • Demonstrates empathy

Mutual Respect:

  • Values self and uniqueness of others
  • Respects other cultures, races, and beliefs
  • Respects gender and ability equity
  • Sees different points of view
  • Examines alternatives
  • Is open minded

Understanding similarities and differences –active observing and listening

  • Identifies similarities and differences
  • Listens to others
  • Constructs relationships and draws conclusions
  • Notices fair and unfair behavior
  • Solves problems
  • Gathers information
  • Demonstrates an inquiring attitude
  • Makes inferences

Pro-activisim

  • Makes choices
  • Avoids name calling and teasing
  • Participates in group action
  • Challenges stereotypes
  • Takes action against unfair situations or comments

Teachers use books, puppets and add specific items to the learning centers to help children “see” the diversity in their world. These items may include:

Dramatic Play (house center):  Eating utensils from different cultures, variety of dolls from other countries with adaptive equipment for disabilities, food containers and play food from other cultures, clothing form different countries

Science Center: stones, shells, sand from different areas of the world, herbs from different parts of the world, pictures of plants and landscapes from different countries

Literacy /Language Center: flannel boards with multicultural people, emotion books that help increase the children’s abilities to label feelings, letter cards and counting games from other countries, family boards or books to show different family compositions, sign language posters, books, and cards

Math Area:  charts for classifying items, scales for comparing weight, size, length, etc., murals of likes and dislikes, labeling similarities and differences, classification games, sorting skills with numbers, colors, patterns, sizes, etc., matching games

Music Centers:  variety of musical instruments from around the world, listening center with books and tapes, play music cd’s from different cultures, children make own instruments, props like scarves for dancing

 

QUESTIONS FOR THE DIRECTOR

Each month I will focus on a question or two from the parents.  Please send your questions to the director at: lwebster@stpaulsumc.com

 

QUESTION:  I like that children have a snack at school and that you encourage healthy snacks. What is the importance of drinking water for snack instead of a fruit juice?

ANSWER:  Excellent questions.  Water is an important nutrient for healthy brain development in children.  Water is always served with the children’s snack because it is important for children for many reasons:

  • It helps maintain the body’s total fluid level which helps cushion the organs
  • It helps maintain blood pressure
  • It helps with the body’s metabolism and kidney filtration (flushes out the toxins in our systems)
  • It helps hydrate the child after exercise or large motor/movement activities
  • It helps prevent cognitive impairments, confusion, irritability and lethargy (for better school performance)

According to a study published in Archives of Diseases in Childhood, more than 70% of preschool children never drink plain water.  They tend to be consuming drinks made with sugar, fruit juice, acids, or sugar substitutes.  Although these drinks have water in them, they also dehydrate a child’s body because their bodies need water to process these sugary drinks.  Many experts also believe that sugary drinks (including fruit juices) are a major contributor to childhood obesity.  So, drink water!!

 

QUESTION:  My son started speech therapy in the summer.  I understand that this therapy continues into the classroom.  How does this function fit within the class activities?

ANSWER:  This is a great question and one that is asked often by parents with children who are serviced by speech and language therapists within the classroom. The classroom is an ideal environment for language and speech development and refinement. Children are in groups during the day and are encouraged to interact with each other during play and center times.  Teachers and therapists act as role models as they speak with the children and with each other. The daily lesson plans reflect specific learning goals and implement the developmentally appropriate curriculum for each age group.  Therapists are given the monthly plans as well as daily plans so that they can incorporate their IEP or speech/language goals into the classroom activities. There is an even flow with the goals and methods of skills acquisition that the therapists use with the daily lessons the teachers are presenting. In other words, children are NOT removed from the classroom for speech practice. This is done in a natural manner within the typical classroom day with the other children. Therapists will leave detailed notes for the parents and for the classroom teachers which highlight what skills were worked on during the visit, what skills can be done at home and at school, and techniques and strategies which can be used to help the children acquire the speech sounds that they are working on in therapy.  This team approach is holistic and is beneficial to all involved.

 

Please read the following section each month.  I will be introducing our staff members and will review their credentials and qualifications as well as their philosophy of education.

LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO…

Trisha Webb

Turquoise Class (Three Year Old) Teacher

Trisha has been teaching at St. Paul’s Preschool for four years.

She likes to vacation in any fun city…Chicago, Boston, London, New York!

Her favorite foods are Avocados and Sauerkraut (but NOT together!!)

Trisha’s favorite Children’ Book is “Ish” by Peter Reynolds.

She likes to sing “The More We Get Together” during class!

For fun in her spare time, Trisha like to go biking, hiking, reading and just hanging out at fun, new places!

Trisha says the best thing about St. Paul’s Preschool is the families and the other teachers!

 

 

 Preschool Links

Home     Welcome Letter     Classes & Tuition     Mission & Goals

Calendar     Staff     Fundraisers

Pictures     For Parents     Partners     Contact Us

Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children