FEATURED ACTIVITIES ART Various activities such as clay, finger painting, markers, crayons and easel painting assist the child in experimentation, creativity and the development of motor skills. In addition these activities help the child to express emotions and feelings.
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT Weekly themes are planned to meet the needs of the children. Many planned activities are derived from these themes that attempt to expand the child’s cognitive skills, language development and curiosity.
DRAMATIC PLAY This is a very important part of the daily program as it gives each child the opportunity to actually portray the roles around him/her. These play opportunities help foster in the child a greater understanding of society’s function, how people relate to each other and their place in the world. Various props, such as puppets, costumes/clothes, blocks of all sizes, a home area and the like, enhance this dramatic play.
MUSIC Ample time is allowed for singing, marching and experiments with instruments and rhythm. Often listening to music serves as a way to relax the child, and provides a smooth transition to other activities.
LITERATURE EXPERIENCES Books are readily available to children within all classrooms. In addition, special time is set aside for puppets and stories, with various media such as felt boards and story tapes. All of these experiences contribute to the child’s language development, increased attention span and a better understanding of the world.
LARGE AND SMALL MUSCLE ACTIVITY Physical exercise and the development of motor skills are experienced daily in all programs. Various equipment is used such as a climbing apparatus and outdoor playground equipment for large muscle development. Small motor skills are developed through various manipulative materials including puzzles, pegboards, scissors, beads to string and other items.
SOCIALIZATION All activities strive towards helping the children learn to get along with others. Emphasis is put on helping the child learn to express his/her feelings. How to discuss and solve their own problems is also emphasized with the children.
SPANISH Spanish instruction is scheduled 2x a week. Children are immersed in the Spanish language through songs, games, and stories. Studies have shown that when children are introduced to a second language at an early age, they learn it easier, faster, and their pronunciation is more native sounding. Other researchers have discovered that children who learn foreign languages in preschool tend to have a higher level of success in other scholastic areas later in life. Parents will have an opportunity to see their children's progress when they perform in Spanish at our Spring and Winter Shows.
We use the Teaching Strategies GOLD to create lesson plans, child portfolios and assessment. You can: •• Use a personalized communications journal to keep in touch with us and stay up-to-date on what your child is doing at school. The journal allows you to view and respond to our observations of your child while he/she is at school. • View your child’s electronic portfolio that includes photos, scanned artwork, and other electronic samples of his/her interactions at school. • Complete a developmental survey to assess your child’s progress and view reports on your child’s development. This survey also helps us to get a complete picture of your child’s skills and abilities, so that we can better support his/her learning here in the classroom. • Get personalized activity recommendations for your child that are based on our assessments of your child’s development. These fun and engaging activities are directly related to our curriculum, so you can support your child’s learning at home. • Learn more about child development, our curriculum, early childhood education, and parenting through an extensive resource center including articles and websites.
Families will also receive a receive a school wide newsletter each month.
Penny Lane Schools adhere to the Illinois Early Learning Standards. “Standards are an essential first step for designing effective preschool curricula since they represent an agreed upon agenda for teaching and learning. The Illinois Early Learning Standards are excellent because they recognize the interconnectedness of emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development and learning — the whole child. Like all good standards, they should be used as the base for reflective teachers as they create learning experiences that build on what children already know and capture their interest in learning.” Barbara Bowman President Emeritus Erikson Institute. The standards are organized to parallel in content the Illinois Learning Standards for K-12 education. Included are benchmarks for learning in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Physical Development and Health, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, and Social/Emotional Development.
We believe each child is a unique individual… We believe in positive methods of discipline… To offer love, comfort and support as needed… To provide children with the closest possible atmosphere to a home environment… To nurture physical, mental and emotional growth… To teach children to be good losers and gracious winners… To teach our children about love and respect… To stimulate thoughts and ideas… To supply reinforcement to basic ethics and morals… To provide security and reassurance…
CURRICULUM The primary goal of the Early Childhood Program is to facilitate maximum development of the whole child. That is, the child’s intellectual, physical, and social capabilities so that the early years are spent in the richest most constructive way possible. The curriculum is based on Early Childhood Developmental Norms. Penny Lane Schools follow the “Creative Curriculum”. Activities are provided in the areas of art, music, children’s literature, concept development, large and small motor skills, dramatic play, listening skills, nature science and many others. As the child uses various materials and interacts with other children the teachers observe and encourage individual children. Guidance and help are provided as needed, to extend the learning and enhance the enjoyment of each activity. Lesson plans incorporate the Illinois Early Learning Standards and are posted in every classroom. The children are encouraged to rest or nap for part of their afternoon. Classroom schedules are posted in each classroom. An annual “Curriculum Night” is offered at each center to give parents a review of the Curriculum and give the opportunity to ask questions and view tools used in the curriculum as well as assessment.