The Pre-K program provides an opportunity for children to prepare for the next stage of their education within a play-based and Reggio-inspired learning environment. The Pre-K classrooms utilize an emergent approach to teaching and exploration, similar to the rest of our school, while folding in the fundamentals and tools they will build upon in later years. Children focus on collaborative group work, teacher and child-led investigations of topics, independent thinking as well as leadership. Pre-K teachers are trained in early childhood education learning standards and know how to fold concepts such as literacy, mathematics and science into comprehensive project work and daily activities to create intentional learning opportunities within children’s play.
Pre-K Curriculum at Two Birds
Our Pre-K program offers students an opportunity for the synthesis of fundamental tools and developmental skills that they have learned throughout their time at Two Birds with more complex topics, experiences or interactions with their own community. We layer all these levels of thinking through a play-based approach, so that children experience this curriculum on a level that is approachable for them and encourages them to explore different mediums.
At Two Birds, our teachers ensure that our students have access to printed materials in a number of different formats to improve literacy skills. In the classroom environment, we incorporate letters and words in a variety of ways; this could be incorporated into the group work of the day where they have opportunities to write messages to parents and friends in the journaling or messaging center or this could be increasing the students’ exposure of letters and words through labeling of furniture and objects. We also create small group experiences that dive a little deeper into literacy; children dictate stories to teachers to be written down, as well as time that incorporates singing, word play and rhyming games. Individually, children have a dedicated time each day to focus on literacy and choose a rich piece of literature and spend time practicing comprehension and other skills that prepare them to be a good reader.
Logic and Reasoning
Children are offered a variety of means to engage with their curiosity and individual interests in the classroom. Whether it’s through the centers that our teachers intentionally curate to promote skills like dramatic play or the materials and tools around the classroom that encourages students to use symbols and take on pretend roles, our play-based approach to curriculum supports the growth and development of logic and reasoning skills.
Communication and Language
Throughout the day, our teachers emphasize both the value of communication as well as demonstrating understanding of spoken language to students. To support these behaviors, teachers encourage students to utilize language to express themselves as well as engage them in language during open ended play. Children are also encouraged to talk to their peers about what they’ve played and accomplished or talk through with their teachers about what they are thinking and creating.
At Two Birds, we emphasize the importance of observation and investigation when looking into the study of science and the world around us. In the classroom, we incorporate nature into the environment so children can observe change over time and communicate what they are seeing and observing, examples of this can include plants, natural materials and even guest pets. We also prioritize exploring the outside world and the tools that help us navigate it. Our classrooms will often take walks using maps to discuss location, investigate living things and objects and ask questions about what we are seeing and finding.
Our teachers incorporate mathematical concepts in ways that connect to children’s lives. In the classroom environment they utilize language about math, positional words, three-dimensional terms as well as specific materials that lend themselves to mathematical concepts such as unit blocks, number puzzles and tools that support children’s. We also acknowledge and integrate the concept of data within the classroom; each day children are asked a question of the day where teachers engage students in lines of inquiry that connect the true purpose of mathematical ideas to children’s understanding.
Social and Emotional Needs
As children are learning to express themselves and understand their own emotions, our teachers facilitate emotional regulation and conflict resolution in the classroom. We emphasize the value of social emotional learning and incorporate building the skills throughout the day, whether that is during Morning Meeting, small group work, or through play. Teachers read books to children about a variety of feelings, change, or things they might be feeling, experiencing or seeing in the classroom.
A Day in the Life of a Pre-K Student
Pre-K students arrive each day ready to learn and explore! Each day starts with open center time and a morning meeting that is designed to prompt children’s investigation of new topics and to promote leadership roles for students within the classroom. Before lunch, students work in small groups to focus on learning and practicing new concepts through various methods, languages and materials, as well as spend time outside exploring their surroundings and community. This approach to group activities allows children to alternate between teacher and child-led work, learning new skills and re-visiting centers and materials, and learning with friends and independently. They’ll eat a family-style lunch before story time and nap time or quiet individual activities. After rest period, the class transitions into snack time and independent reading to focus on developing language and literacy skills. The remainder of the afternoon is spent revisiting small groups, introducing project work, more outdoor play and group activities within various centers throughout the classroom.
Each of the Two Birds’ schools features an art studio where students explore and learn through materials with our Studio Teacher. Examples of this work include introductions to clay, light and shadow, sculptural work, loose parts and recyclable materials, various mediums for drawing, painting, weaving and more.
"Thank you for making Tenleytown one of our favorite spots in the city. Each time we made the trek across town to Two Birds, we knew that Lincoln would be well taken care of in a safe, fun, and engaging environment. It was at Two Birds that Lincoln made his first friends, tried new foods, and learned to love to dance, read books, and be a helper. And Lincoln wasn’t the only one who grew here — we did too as first-time parents figuring it all out and learning to appreciate the joy of bringing other people into our kid’s life."
- Jeff and Chelsea P.
Our Classroom - Pre-K
As a Reggio-inspired school, Two Birds views the classroom environment as an integral part of the child’s learning experience. The classroom is often referred to as one of the teachers in a child’s educational experience. At Two Birds, we orient the classroom around a number of centers as a means of creating opportunities for teachers to curate the way in which materials and learning is presented to children, to promote space for children to work together and individually, and to provide times of day in which children can choose or self-direct where they spend time and how they approach learning. Some examples of centers that we feature in our classroom include messaging, dramatic play, science, construction, library and art. The classroom also features several children’s tables, which are used for small group work, class wide investigations of topics and materials, and when children want to revisit earlier work or journal independently.
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