The Early Childhood Academy (ECA) is a nurturing environment that blends academic endeavors with structured play to accomplish academic and social objectives. Learning to play and pray together well is a significant step for preschoolers. In order to facilitate optimal learning conditions, our ECA utilizes the services of a teacher, a teacher’s aide and volunteers to allow for attention to be student centered. Assessments are descriptive of individual progress and shared in conference settings with parents.
The emphasis is on pre-reading and pre-writing skills taught through various story books and centers. The children are taught that print carries a message. They learn that pictures give clues; they learn to predict outcomes; they learn to comprehend what happened in the story; they learn to recognize their names. It is our goal to encourage cooperation within a group, especially listening, sharing and taking turns.
Pre-math activities include eight content areas: numeration, measurement, geometry, operations, patterns and sequencing, time, money and data collection. This is accomplished through manipulatives, group time and math centers. Our goal is to develop the potential for understanding, problem solving and thinking critically.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Children develop at their own rate and begin with scribbling. As each child develops better fine motor control through the use of manipulatives, as well as play dough, they begin to form circles, lines, and finally their letters. Both fine and gross motor skills are addressed through a variety of activities, including the students' creativity and self-expression, both indoors and out. Progress assessments are shared with parents.
During "free choice" the children have the opportunity to interact and pretend with other children through the use of a variety of toys and dress-up clothes. There are three stages in the development of play: solitary, parallel and group. Preschool children, ages 2-3, are usually in the parallel stage while children ages 3 and older are in the group stage. This is a time when many life skills are learned and we encourage the children to use their words to communicate, share and include others in what they're playing.
The environment which a child plays and works within is non-threatening, non-competitive and one which exhibits compassion, respect and concern for others. The physical environment is bright, cheerful, and stimulating to the young child. It invites him/her to be creative and enthusiastic about learning. Room arrangement allows for accessibility to materials and organization promotes the practice of good stewardship and respect.
Our preschoolers know that they are loved and safe in the arms of their parents and Jesus Christ. They learn to pray and sing in praise of Jesus. It is a goal of our ECA, (Early Childhood Academy), to welcome children into a larger Christian community, to develop an awareness of God’s creation, to encourage stewardship and respect for others and to develop a positive self-image.