3 Year Old Preschool for the 60525 area.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Mornings 8:45 - 11:10
3 years old by September 1st
The Junior program is held in the same classroom as our Parent and Me program, allowing children who continue in the program the advantage of feeling comfortable with the classroom, teachers, and materials. The Junior program exceeds the DCFS (the Department of Children and Family Services) adult to child ratio of 1:10 by providing three teachers plus one parent helper every day for a maximum of 20 children (1:6 ratio). We feel this is critical to help meet the needs of all children and provide individualized attention.
The children can explore, investigate, and manipulate a variety of materials that support the weekly theme. The room is set up with child sized cabinets that are clearly labeled, allowing children the opportunity to independently select their activities from a variety of materials.
If you are interested in attending our Junior program, would like to visit a class, or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the Director and she will be happy to speak with you.
Peek at a typical day:
- Arrival: Children and their parents are greeted at the door by the teachers and personally welcomed into the room. Each child has their own cubbies labeled with their name and picture, and are encouraged to hang their own bag and coat. In accordance with DCFS, children wash their hands upon entering the room. If needed, parents can help get their child settled before leaving to ensure a smooth transition. Many parents establish a routine to help make the transition smooth and predictable (for example, parents will read a story or participate in an art project together before leaving).
- Free Choice Time: The children can freely move about the classroom and participate in a variety of self-selected activities in each area of the room, including the following: Block Area: The children can participate in building and constructing in the block area with wood unit blocks, transportation vehicles, street signs, and other related items. This is a social area that encourages children to work together, problem solve, and develop their own understanding of the world around them. It also incorporates various math concepts, including shape recognition, understanding the part to whole relationship, and spatial awareness. A variety of literacy tools are also incorporated, including reading train schedules, maps, blue prints, and tickets for children to act out real life experiences.
- Dramatic Play: The children can participate in dramatic play with a kitchen set, dishes, real cooking utensils, cookbooks, and pots and pans. A variety of clothes are available for children to wear in creating various scenes or dramatic events, including aprons, construction hats, firefighter uniforms, and sports coats. This is also a social area with rich language experiences for children as they communicate and work with each other to create various roles, scenarios, and dramatic situations.
- Literacy Corner: A variety of books are available for children to read, either by themselves, with their peers, or together with an adult. Comfortable furniture, including a child sized couch, child sized rocking chair, and a bean bag allow children the opportunity to snuggle up with a good book. Books in the library often include books that reinforce the weekly theme, but also contain books that provide good picture cues, rhyming words, or repeating words, which are all critical elements in pre-literacy development.
- Math and Science Area: Students can explore, investigate, and experiment with a variety of elements in nature in the math and science area. Materials may include: magnifying glass, leaves, patterning cards, shells, pine cones, and various manipulatives for sorting and classifying. In this area, children are exposed to a variety of math and science concepts, including patterning, matching, the life cycle, and the four seasons. The class fish is always a popular item for the children to visit.
- Fine Motor: Children can strengthen the muscles in their fingers and hands (critical for writing and cutting development) with a variety of sensory materials, including home made playdough, silly putty, shaving cream, and flubber. This is a wonderful science activity as students learn about how solids and liquids mix to create a whole new substance. In addition, this is an excellent literacy activity, as children follow a process and the proper recipe with measurements. There is also a lot of rich language being used as children describe how these substances feel on their hands and experiment with a variety of supporting materials, including cookie cutter, rolling pins, and scissors.
- Art Area: Children can work with a variety of art mediums at the art table. They are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity while working with a variety of artistic elements, including watercolors, tempera paints, collage materials, printing, and using marbles, cars, and household items in paint.
- Sensory Bin: Concepts of conservation and measurement are explored in the sensory bin. Children can work with a variety of materials, including water, corn kernels, hay, leaves, rice, and pasta in the bin, using sifters, water wheels, shovels, and buckets. Materials are changed to reflect weekly themes.
- Clean-up Time: Our five more minute song alerts children that self-selected time is coming to an end. Our clean-up song lets them know that all materials need to be put away. Children learn to work together with their peers and their teachers to accomplish their goal of cleaning up.
- Rug Time: Children meet on the rug for a brief circle time which includes a variety of music and literacy activities. The children can participate in fingerplays, flannel board stories, and storytelling to help develop the weekly theme. The children can also participate in musical activities including singing, movement/dancing, and playing instruments. During this time, the children are developing listening skills, extending their vocabulary, increasing their attention span, and promoting oral communication.
- Snack: (Open for the child at any time during free-choice time): Snack is brought by the parent helper for the day (see our Snack Guidelines page for DCFS guidelines) and placed in baskets for the children to serve themselves at any point during self-selected free choice time. Snack selections will be self-limiting by number cards placed in each basket, indicating how many of each selection the child may take (i.e.: a number 4 card can be placed in the basket with crackers and 2 card with the basket containing cheese slices). These cards are a wonderful tool for literacy, number recognition and understanding 1 to 1 correspondence. Snack time is created to allow the child the power to decide when to have snack and the independence to serve it themselves. After hand washing, the child removes his/her name from the snack chart, promoting name recognition and is a meaningful literacy tool, and then is able to serve themselves.
- Outdoor Play: Weather permitting, the last 15 minutes are spent outside at the Irma Butler Toddler Park, right outside the Preschool. The park contains age appropriate climbing equipment with slides and a see-saw. Other materials, including bubbles, chalk, or shovels for snow, are brought out to enhance their outdoor play.