At The Gardens, we believe that part of our role as early childhood educators is to help prepare our preschoolers for what awaits them once formal education begins. For many, "kindergarten readiness" refers to how well children know their A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s. Research has shown, however, that academic-focused knowledge is not what predicts successful school outcomes, nor is direct academic instruction appropriate for preschoolers. Rather, social and emotional competence and passion for learning are true predictors of success in school and PLAY is the best way for preschoolers to develop these skills.
At The Gardens, we focus on supporting key areas of children’s development including social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognitive development and physical and health development. These crucial areas of early childhood development are best supported through PLAY. We provide children with the opportunity to engage in authentic learning experiences through meaningful and playful interaction with their environment. We take a strength-based approach to teaching, recognizing that each child comes in with their own set of skills and knowledge. With this in mind, we strive to ensure that we set the stage to build on their skills by exposing the children to a rich environment that stimulates their natural curiosity and sense of wonder.
Social and Emotional Learning
At The Gardens, we have a strong social emotional component and provide programming that utilizes different curriculums to support this area of development. We recognize that children who are able to self-regulate can in turn, consider each other’s needs, express their feelings and wishes and develop positive connections with their peers and teachers. These are all crucial attributes when entering a larger school environment.
Our preschoolers are encouraged to develop self competence, and teachers show faith that they are capable. Students’ attempts at new tasks are encouraged and celebrated in order to develop their confidence and independence which is required with skills such as getting dressed, using the washroom, and asking for help when needed. All of these attributes are important for future school success.
Language and Literacy
Part of learning to read and write is learning the names and sounds of each letter in the alphabet and how to decode the various combinations of those letters (words). Prior to this, though, there is a lot of literacy learning that must happen. The children at The Gardens Preschool are exposed to a print rich environment where they have access to reading materials along with exposure to rhythm activities, poetry, rhyming, make-believe and songs. Children must learn the purpose of literacy and experience first-hand the various uses of reading and writing. At The Gardens, we provide children with the opportunity to explore literacy in meaningful, play-based ways.
At The Gardens, we strive to recognize each child’s unique strengths and abilities. We provide materials that invite children to engage in play experiences that allow them to each build on their own sets of knowledge, utilizing their own strengths. These invitations may include play experiences involving numeracy, memory, attention and problem solving.
Health and Physical Development
Young children’s physical and health development must be supported in order for children to be ready to learn. Part of being ready for kindergarten means being able to understand our bodies and what they need to learn and grow. We pay attention to our food, making time to sit together and enjoy our meals. We provide daily opportunities for both gross and fine motor play, both indoors and outdoors, supporting the development of large and small muscle groups. We also provide daily opportunities for quiet, restful play.