In the 2008-2009 school year, our school created its own curriculum called The Continuum. Together with a Curriculum Consultant, all of our teachers worked to identify the specific skills, from Toddlers to K-5’s, that students should cultivate during their years at our school. These skills, or objectives for skill acquisition, follow national and state standards, are research-based, and, most importantly, are developmentally appropriate. In addition, we review, refine and update these objectives each year based on teacher feedback.
Each age level has a specific list of objectives that are taught throughout the year. The teacher chooses from the objectives and creates a lesson plan around those specific skills pulling from various in-house resources. In this way, an art project may actually be a language arts, math and science activity all rolled into one. A teacher can review the objectives from the age level preceding and succeeding the one she is teaching and clearly see where their children have been and where they need to be guided.
Some objectives appear every year! These objectives move a child along a continuum of Introduction, Endeavor, Intermittent Success and Mastery as a child moves through each age level of the school. Objectives and skills are taught through a variety of methods, providing opportunities for children to explore and experience, as well as, to develop at their own pace.
A child’s Progress Review follows The Continuum. Children are evaluated both at the beginning of the year and the end of the year, and progress is reported on the developmental objectives appropriate for each age. In this way, parents can see what skills their child is encouraged to acquire and how well the child is doing along the continuum. The objectives are developmental in nature and build on one another. Children develop at their own rate and each objective can be modified or enriched based on the needs of each individual class and student.
Our most important job is to foster the development of each child in a way that complements the child’s own unique learning style and encourages a love of learning that will last a lifetime. The Biblical values and developmental objectives that students learn at Sandy Springs UMC Preschool will give them the basis they need for a lifetime of success.
In 2015, we added STEAM to our Curriculum. Once a week, a teacher visits each class to introduce, in an age-appropriate manner, the concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. Children have made their own snow and elephant toothpaste (chemical reactions), investigated magnets, explored nature, created “slime” (a polymer), talked about symmetry– and had a ball!! This addition has been overwhelmingly positively received by both students and parents alike!
ADAPTIVE LEARNING CENTER
In 2013, we began a partnership with the Adaptive Learning Center to assist children with challenges. The Adaptive Learning Center is changing the way children with challenges are viewed in their homes, classrooms, and the community at-large through their inclusion model. We believe inclusion benefits both the child and his peers in the classroom. The Adaptive Learning Center professionals help us through observation of preschool children who are at-risk for learning differences, they assist our staff with understanding red flags for child development, and they provide strategies for child engagement and inclusion in the classroom. They also provide support as parents try to navigate the myriad services a child might need. Finally, they work with specific families to provide in-class assistance through an additional instructor in the classroom.
You can learn more about the Adaptive Learning Center from their website at www.adaptivelearningcenter.org.
SPEECH, LANGUAGE AND HEARING SCREENINGS
Each year, we offer Speech, Language and Hearing Screenings through a trusted vendor. Screenings are available for a modest fee to all students enrolled in a 3 year old class or older and are performed here in the school. Results and recommendations are immediate.
Each year, Prevent Blindness conducts free Vision testing for students enrolled in the 4’s classes. Results of the vision screening are used to assess whether a child needs to see an eye doctor. Children who need a full eye exam are referred to an eye doctor of the parent’s choice.