BFS
Apply Now
 

Our Preschool

Imagination, Independence & Discovery

Our commitment to nurturing the gifts of each child as an individual ensures a warm, stimulating and emotionally responsive environment where children feel free to explore the world around them. The BFS Preschool program provides a rich child-centered curriculum that supports children’s learning styles and developmental readiness. As they meet increasingly complex challenges and practice social skills, our preschoolers become curious, motivated and competent learners.

_0003s_0001_Preschool_2

The curriculum for Preschool Threes and Fours offers children activities and materials that stimulate the imagination, build independence, and present ample opportunities for exploring and discovering their world. Through a wide range of activity choices – from creating stories and solving puzzles, to measuring ingredients and investigating nature – children gain confidence in themselves as learners. They learn to adapt to group experiences and to respect the feelings of others. Our curriculum is informed by Lesley Koplow’s Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) and Louise Derman-Sparks’ Anti-Bias Curriculum, and intentionally incorporates research-based understanding of social developmental milestones.

_0003s_0000_Preschool_3

We believe that children’s play is an expression of intelligence and growth, and that young children learn best through hands-on, concrete experiences. Play is the essential work of childhood and an important part of developing cognitive, social-emotional, and problem-solving skills. In Preschool, the curricular areas overlap and provide the foundation upon which the academic areas of literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies are established, preparing children for the more formal educational experiences of Lower School. Preschool offers opportunities for parents to visit, participate and partner with our classrooms in a myriad of ways. For example, Threes families are part of our Traditions Curriculum (see social studies) and Fours engage in an “Open House” during the Winter or Spring semesters. These opportunities enable parents to view aspects of their child’s experiential learning. They open a window into the learning that is happening for the children and offer an opportunity to see what our artists, scientists, mathematicians, authors and “experts” in many areas of expression and study are doing in real time. It is a chance for the teachers and children to share the fun and discovery of what happens in the classrooms!

Aspects of our academic program, all of which are embedded, integrated and embodied through Play, are detailed below.

The Preschool Curriculum

From the time they are born, children are acquiring language, learning to listen and are inspired to tell stories. Soon they begin to recognize that written symbols can have meaning and are used as a method of communication. Preschool students are encouraged to express themselves and build vocabulary by being read to, looking at books, and conversing during circle and activity times. Trips to the library to hear a story and choose a book occur on a regular basis. Children also write in journals, tell “Small World” stories based on play scenarios, and dictate storylines that emerge from artwork and play materials. Language is valued as a means to resolve problems and issues in the classroom. Children learn to navigate their environment as they develop and use their language skills. Teachers monitor and guide each child to ensure the development of the following skills as they play and explore:

● Visual discrimination

● Auditory discrimination

● Memory

● Sorting, matching – recognizing differences and commonalities

● Sequencing – logical order

● Use of oral language

● Ability to answer questions and follow verbal directions

● Ability to remember previous events and apply that information

Mathematics is a way of ordering and thinking about the world; it is much more than learning to count and to read and write numbers. As soon as a child thinks of himself or herself (one) and others (more than one), the child begins to understand and learn math. Mathematical concepts develop through the hands-on use of manipulatives, puzzles, and blocks so that children discover and explore early math principles through play. When children are building in the block area, playing with sand, setting the table, taking only two crackers for snack, or following a recipe chart, they are developing mathematical skills and concepts, including:

● Sequencing

● Matching

● Sorting and grouping

● Patterns – creating and noticing them

● One-to-one correspondence

● Part/whole relationships

● Spatial relationships

● Number concepts

● Collecting and comparing data

Science in the Preschool is the joyful experience of hands-on investigation, exploration, experimentation and discovery. Children develop an awareness of the changing world. They learn by engaging in activities such as observing grass grow, raising composting worms, watching butterflies emerge from their chrysalises, collecting leaves and identifying trees or researching the night sky.

Preschool science study consists of concrete experiences. Children observe growth in nature and in themselves and others, and follow seasonal changes. When children cook or bring snow into the room and watch it melt, they are gaining an understanding of changes and properties. Activities include using magnets, color wheels, and magnifying glasses. The Fours take walks outside to the park to experience seasonal changes first-hand, and take “deep dives” into learning about various science topics. “Deep dives” have included studies about space and astronauts, nocturnal animals, transportation, wild cats and more!

The social studies curriculum allows preschoolers to explore and understand their immediate environment. Children begin a journey of discovery as they learn about their classroom community. They learn the community’s routines, rhythms, and rules, and begin to understand how to function as a group.

 

There are many ways in which preschoolers notice and discover the wonderful differences and common threads that bind individuals together. In the classroom setting teachers, families, and students share their backgrounds in all the ways they are diverse – age, culture, family structure, race, gender, learning style and more. They explore family traditions, holidays, stories and cultural roots by cooking a variety of recipes from around the world, reading books, listening to an array of music, and dancing.

 

Threes classrooms incorporate a Family Traditions Curriculum in their program. Each family shares a tradition which is defined as anything you do more than once with the people you love. The Traditions Curriculum creates a bridge between home and school. It provides an opportunity for sharing identities of families, presents diversity in the ways we live, gives children a voice, creates community and allows children to celebrate one another. Through these activities, the children learn to acknowledge the differences they notice, and to gain respect for and acceptance of a variety of ideas and opinions.

 

After children become comfortable in their own classroom, they are introduced to the wider school community: interacting with students in other Divisions through Lower School and Middle School Buddy Time, shared projects with Upper School’s student-led Environmental Action group, watching performances by other classes, and participating in school-wide events such as the spring art show.

 

As part of their educational program, the children learn what a community is, what it means to be part of that community, and begin to understand their roles in serving their classroom. In addition they begin to find ways to serve the community outside school. For example, caring for our “Greenie” aeroponic garden provides a way for the children to steward and care for plants and learn about nature. The seeds and foundation for Service Learning are planted through our early childhood social-emotional curriculum as our preschoolers learn to share and care for one another. Preschool children and families also participate in age-appropriate, meaningful responses to current events and social justice issues in coordination and in conjunction with school-wide service learning initiatives. For example, children may work with their older Buddies, decide to take action as a class in response to something they deem unfair, or read a book or have a conversation about a particular query as a means to further expand their understanding of how we are all “change-makers” and have a voice.

Creating, experimenting and learning go hand in hand. Art is a form of communication that comes naturally to children. It is experiential and exploratory and does not need to be planned or purposeful. Students have opportunities to be creative every day, using a variety of materials including paint, markers and crayons, and collage. Art activities develop the following skills:

● Fine motor coordination

● Awareness of color, shape, size, and texture

● Understanding of spatial relationships

● Awareness and understanding that symbols have meaning

● Self-expression

Classes engage in musical activities daily, and a music specialist works with classes on enhancing music skills on a weekly basis. Children sing or play rhythm instruments during circle time and listen to the music of varied styles and cultures. As children sing, perform finger plays, or imitate animals in a song, they use their imagination, strengthen their memory and language skills, and improve their coordination. They develop an appreciation for the patterns and the musical variety produced by rhythms and melodies. Also important at this age, they learn to love music and find enjoyment in singing together. In addition, all the children and teachers participate in a weekly All-Preschool group sing-along.

Dramatic play allows children many opportunities to grow socially and emotionally as they use their imaginations in a variety of ways: in the house area, the block area, with a basket of small figures, through the simple act of draping a colored scarf, or by playing on the rooftop playground. It is here that children, in a safe, supportive environment with the guidance of teachers, can:

● Encourage the use of rich expressive language

● Imitate the adults in their world

● Reenact real-life situations

● Explore reading and writing as they play

● Reflect the relationships and experiences in their lives

● Express their needs

● Release unacceptable impulses in a safe way

● Reverse the roles usually taken

● Learn to develop and expand narratives

● Problem-solve and experiment with solutions

● Learn to symbolize- i.e. a banana can be a telephone

On the roof and in the gymnasium children are developing an awareness of their bodies in space. The ability to move with skill, care, thought, and imagination is a learning process for children as they gain control of their own bodies. On the rooftop playground or in the gym, children have the opportunity to run, jump, climb, play with balls, build with “Blue Blocks”, ride bikes, and move with freedom.

Preschool students explore the elements of dance through story and song while developing body awareness and large motor skills. Weekly dance classes include a variety of themes for exploration and imagination. Each theme generates a sequence of actions and qualities of movement. Classroom studies of weather, space, animals and holidays make their way into the dance room with creative movement investigations in which children may scamper like squirrels, swirl and fall like snow, hatch like chicks, or dance with red ribbons for the Lunar New Year.