LANCASTER CITY SCHOOLS
The Place to Be for Learning, Caring, Succeeding
Our Mission is to provide a caring and joyful environment for all children with an emphasis on academic, social, and physical growth.
Our Vision is to create opportunities for students to discover the joy of life-long learning, partnering with families to build a strong foundation for future success.
EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY
- Every child is born ready to learn. Children are viewed as competent, curious, full of knowledge, potential, and interested in connecting to the world around them. Teachers are deeply aware of children’s potentials and work to provide a warm nurturing environment.
- Curriculum needs to be developmentally appropriate and child-centered. It should promote hands-on, active learning for children ages 3-5. Children learn best with purposeful play-based lesson plans that foster learning through exploration and encourage independence. Curriculum is responsive to the individual needs of students and enables children to develop positive self-esteem; social competency; essential skills in literacy, math, science, and social studies; and a love of learning.
- The learning environment is considered the third teacher. Teachers intentionally organize, support and plan various learning centers for children. The daily schedules are planned to ensure that there is a balance between individual, small and large group activities, child directed and teacher initiated activity and inside as well as outside experiences.
- Preschool education is crucial to a child’s development. It provides important opportunities to ensure a smooth transition into kindergarten. The first five years are when children have proved to be most intellectually absorbent. We believe that any concerns staff have about a child’s progress must be acted upon in a professional, prompt and compassionate manner.
- Education is experienced as a continuous interaction between those involved in school and the community. Collaboration takes place between children and teacher, children and peers, teacher and teacher, teacher and families, and school and the community. All are important in the education process.
A DAY AT PRESCHOOL
A typical day at preschool includes a variety of activities that are fun as well as educational. The day is arranged to provide opportunities for development in all areas (emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and aesthetic). A typical day includes large group, small group, a nutritious snack, gross motor activities, and learning center time.
Each classroom is divided into carefully planned learning centers that allow children to engage in meaningful experiences that are also aligned with the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning Content Standards. In each classroom you will find:
Literacy centers which include a book area and a writing center. Here children explore the world of reading and writing with engaging materials that help them discover how fun and enjoyable reading and writing can be. Throughout the classroom you will find high interest reading material which enables children to connect meaningful reading and writing experiences with different topics the class is studying.
Dramatic play or housekeeping: Children experiment with different roles as they explore the familiar and the unknown through pretend play. This area is filled with props and dress-up clothes to encourage imagination. One day it might be a kitchen with a play stove, sink and dishes; the next day it might be a post office, restaurant, or airplane. Children learn to work with other children, to share and to make compromises (who gets to be the mother? The father? The baby?). They also practice verbal skills and develop an understanding of symbolic representation that leads to the development of reading and writing skills.
Art center which includes materials for creativity – colored paper, play dough, crayons, markers, tape, glue, collage materials, safe scissors, etc., these items are set out on shelves and tables. Art projects may be done either independently or simultaneously as a class activity. Children are developing small muscle control and hand/eye coordination, as well as creativity.
Math center: Students learn about number, geometry, and beginning algebra by manipulating materials and playing games in this center. In this center you will find dice games, different manipulatives, measuring tools, puzzles, and learning tools that help children develop problem solving skills.
Blocks: Students explore the world of constructing and engineering. Wooden blocks of different sizes and shapes are arranged on shelves along with small cars and an assortment of “little people” to encourage children to build replicas of their world, or creations of their imaginations as they practice symbolic representation. They are developing an understanding of the relationships between size and shape, and the basic math concepts of geometry and numbers.
Science center: Children may engage in projects that are interesting to them, such as how do plants grow, or what kind of animals will you find in a pond? The teacher puts out interesting objects from nature, such as leaves, rocks, and seashells, for children to examine with a magnifying class, plus paper and markers to draw them.
Ipad center: Students have an opportunity to practice early math and literacy skills with different early-learner apps such as phonics or counting games.
Large motor skills: Children crawl through tunnels, climb and balance, hop and jump, and bounce and dribble balls, developing coordination, balance, and large muscle control. Gross motor room and outdoor playground both have an area designed especially to encourage the use and development of large muscles.