University Hill Preschool
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Programs

Programs

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3 Year Olds: Morning

Monday to Thursday 9:10-11:10am

In this beginning class, the emphasis leans more towards learning communication skills, expressing oneself in peer relationships, and familiarizing the younger children with the classroom setting (for many, this is their first time away from home). Later on in the year, once a strong classroom dynamic has been established, more emphasis is placed on exercises of practical life and group research projects, as defined in our curriculum.

Daily Schedule
9:10 – 9:45 Free Play
9:45 – 10:00 Clean-Up
10:00 – 10:20 Circle Time
10:20 – 10:30 Washing Hands
10:30 – 10:50 Book Time / Snack Time
10:50 – 11:10 Outside Play* (indoor if raining)

 

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4 Year Olds: Afternoon

Monday to Thursday 12:30-3:30pm

In this class, the children move directly into class conversation and group projects at the beginning of the year, as this is a generally more mature class. At the end of the year, the class celebrates with a graduation ceremony. Parents frequently choose to repeat this program if their child’s birth date means that they elect to delay kindergarten.

Daily Schedule
12:30 – 1:00 Outside Play* (indoor if raining)
1:00 – 1:15 Changing into indoor gear.
1:15 – 1:45 Circle Time
1:45 – 2:45 Free Play
2:55 – 3:00 Washing Hands
3:00 – 3:20 Book Time / Snack Time
3:20 – 3:30 Story Time


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Class Size

The morning and afternoon classes each have a maximum of 16 students, and are led by 2 teachers, for a ratio of 8 students to 1 teacher.

Part Time

Part time spots are available in the morning program and are for 2 days/week either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.

After School Care

Optional 30 minutes after school care program is available.

 

Our Curriculum

The four seasons are a general guideline for our themes, but as we incorporate Reggio Emilia approaches into our practice, our curriculum becomes quite flexible from year to year. Detailed projects and themes are generated from group discussions, anecdotes and interests that the children bring to class. Both classes traditionally put on holiday presentation parties, Mother’s day sing-along/tea party and participate in sports day to encourage good sportsmanship. In addition, the four-year-old class can expect field trips and a graduation.

 
 Seasonal Themes

Seasonal Themes

 Holiday Party

Holiday Party

 Sports Day

Sports Day

Our everyday activities include circle time, story time, and snack time. Circle time is our focused group time. Children learn how to start conversations, respect the ideas of others, cooperate, share, and take turns. They learn new concepts and social games. Everyday a different storybook is part of our circle time. During the story, new words are introduced in specific contexts. The more a child is exposed to the way written language works, the easier it will be for that child to read on her own.

 
 Outside Play

Outside Play

 Circle Time

Circle Time

 Snack Time

Snack Time

Snack time usually consists of fruit and crackers. We encourage children to try and learn about different fruits (with respect to allergies). Snack time is a focused activity where children sit together and learn to pour their own water from a small pitcher and practice taking turns.

The following is a list of concepts, which are integral to our curriculum.

 

Reggio Emilia

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Reggio Emilia is a city in the Emilia Romagna Region of northern Italy that has become famous for an approach to preschool education.

The approach was discovered by Loris Malaguzzi, an intellectually oriented young Italian teacher discovered and guided the Reggio Emilia system directly after the Second World War (1945-46).

PHILOSOPHY

This system or approach fosters children’s intellectual development through a systematic focus on symbolic representation. Young children are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through all their natural "languages" or modes of expression including words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play and music.

KEY POINTS USED IN OUR PROGRAM

• Problem-solving approach to learning
• Use of small groups in project learning
• Communal activity and sharing of culture
• Reciprocity, exchange and dialogue
• Repeat key experiences
• Documentation of children’s work and dialogue
• Re-examination of and experimentation with projects and work
• Artistic impression through drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and clay work
• Other modes of expression through dramatic play, music and building

More information on Wikipedia


Free Play

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"Play is so valuable, it provides the opportunity for active learning."

We believe free play provides the following positive benefits:

INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT

During play, a child develops sophisticated responses to the discoveries he or she is making, and learns to make language work for his or herself in advancing the adventure.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Playing with others is the best way for children to develop social skills. Children tend to start in solitary activities, then proceed to engaging in parallel-play, before progressing to cooperative forms of playful and imaginative activity.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

Even the simplest play activity involves the use of large and small muscles. Our children learn a sense of space as they playfully squeeze under a chair, a sense of balance as they try to walk on a line, a sense of direction as they throw a ball; all these motor skills are best learned through play.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A child feels confident taking risks as he or she plays. She becomes more independent, willing to take responsibility for her action. While at play, a child has to make many decisions about what to do next. They learn the art of creative problem-solving skills: identify the problem, think of a solution, carry it out, and, if it doesn’t work, construct another. Our emotional wellbeing is closely related to our progress in all areas of development, and play provides crucial tools for our well-rounded emotional and intellectual life.


Exercises Of Practical Life

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"An adult works to perfect the environment, a child works to perfect himself." – Dr. Montessori

The Montessori, "Exercises of Practical Life," are a component of our curriculum. These are simple activities which the adult keeps performing daily in order to maintain and restore proper conditions in the environment and to establish, maintain and restore social relations with other members of the family and society. The child, from the very moment of birth, observes these activities and becomes familiar with them. These activities are introduced so that children can satisfy their need for meaningful activities.

SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES INCLUDE

• Rolling the mat
• Pegging
• Chair Exercise
• Threading Beads
• Pouring from one jug into another bowl
• Spooning into one bowl
• Funnel Exercise
• Dropper Exercise
• Walking on the line

The aim of these activities is to help the child grow in independence, in the ability to care for his or herself, the environment and his or her social relations.

The Exercise of Practical life provide the base for a mathematical mind. There are points of consciousness present in the exercises which help to develop the child's reasoning power, judgement, exactness, precision and assessment of the child's individual work. For example, when the child is performing the exercise of pouring water from one jug into 3 glasses, the child is being indirectly prepared for a mathematical basis of judgement and reasoning power.

The Sensorial apparatus introduced to the children are materials which were scientifically made. Each material is calculated and exact. Each material has an isolated quality. For example, the colour box 1, is the identification of primary colours. These materials help in refinement of the senses.

"If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities which they can perform themselves and which keep them from being a burden to others because of their inabilities. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs in a way that is clearly understood, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence."

(The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori)


Clay

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Working with clay encourages imaginative play and the construction of three-dimensional artworks that the child can experience as powerful tools for expressing his or her emotions and ideas. Pushing, pulling, poking, stretching, squishing, pounding, squeezing and rolling: the soft texture of clay provides a pleasing sensory experience and the rhythmic motion of kneading or rolling clay has a soothing effect. Alternatively, punching and pounding a lump of clay can also relieve pent up anger or upset feelings - a good outlet for expressing emotions!

Our children also use various tools to work with clay, which assist greatly in the development of hand-eye coordination.


Music

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Music is a very important part of our school; children have a natural affinity for music and songs, and develop physical and mental coordination through the rhythms of dance, movement, and songs. A qualified teacher leads our music program once a week for thirty minutes. Children love experimenting with a wide variety of instruments such as bells, shakers, triangles and drums, and this helps them investigate how different sounds are made. Singing, dancing and making music are emotion-releasing forms of personal expression, while at the same time offering great memory-work as the children are naturally drawn to learning the words to a song.


Community Garden

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The educational benefits from working in the garden are cross-curricular and extend into a wide array of disciplines, including natural science (ie. life cycles, importance of insects), math (ie. counting and sorting seeds), language arts (ie. acquisition of nature vocabulary), visual arts (ie. garden design), and health studies (ie. making healthful food choices).

 


Nature Walks

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"Children need nature and time outdoors whether for their emotional well-being, improving their learning abilities, increasing their attentiveness, reducing stress and anxiety, or merely to appreciate the wonders of the natural environment."

(The benefits of a nature walk for children by Kriss Macdonald)