By four years of age, children are developing a better sense of themselves, including their capabilities, talents, and preferences. They are more verbal and have better developed motor skills. They are ready for many activities, discussions, relationships, and challenges. In our program, children learn to play cooperatively with others, solve problems through dialogue and become self-reliant and confident in a classroom setting. Our teachers support the children’s growing social skills by helping them learn how to listen, understand the feelings of others and verbally articulate their own needs. Problem solving through negotiation is carefully taught through role play and direct feedback as children navigate their day. Creativity, creating community and the development of the children’s ideas are highly valued.
Parker-Chase’s Pre-Kindergarteners are able to direct much of their own play. Our environment is organized into distinct learning centers, each with its own focus, including art/writing, manipulatives, dramatic play, book/quiet, computer and science areas. When a child enters the classrooms, it is clear that there is a choice of activity and a well-defined place to engage in each. In this manner we provide a stimulating choice of activity and manage several different activities simultaneously. It is important that children have the opportunity to play in a group as well as to find a cozy area to spend a bit of time alone. All the areas are designed to optimize play and are easily supervised by the teachers.