We thought it would be helpful to go into some detail regarding appropriate learning practices for preschoolers, and how these are incorporated into the curriculum at Green Meadows.  Many parents ask the question, “Will my child be ready for kindergarten?”  “What are they really learning at preschool?”  To the casual observer, a peek into a classroom might appear on the surface that the children are “just playing,” and that our classrooms have a lot of bustle and noise; but there’s a lot of important learning going on during each part of the day.

Children are up doing things, talking, playing, and exploring.  Research and experience tell us that to be effective with young children, teaching practices need to be “developmentally appropriate.”  What this means is simply that educators need to think first about what young children are like, and then create an environment and experiences that are in tune with their characteristics.  Early childhood, after all, is a time of life quite different from adulthood, and even from the later school years.   Children 3 - 6 learn far better through direct interactive experiences than through just listening to someone talk.  They learn extraordinary amounts through play and exploration.  The younger the children are, the more of what they learn needs to be relevant and interesting on the day they learn it, not just in the context of some future learning.

Based on the knowledge about what children of this age are like, we have designed our program to fit them.  At Green Meadows, we offer children the opportunity to develop and learn at their own pace.  Some children learn best by auditory means, some by touch (hands-on), some visually, and some need all three.  By making available all methods of learning to each child, they can succeed and learn in a way that is appropriate and enables them to go on to the next stage of their social, emotional, and physical development.

A typical school day at Green Meadows starts off with the children entering the classroom and being encouraged to play in the different areas called “Learning Centers.”  To further enhance your child’s ability to learn through play, we have carefully and methodically arranged our rooms to incorporate the following Learning Centers.  Each room offers Sand/Water Tables (rotated weekly), Block Area, Dramatic Play Area, Library Center, Art Area, Small and Large Manipulative Area, and Science and Nature Area.  Each area offers a unique and necessary learning experience, some examples of which are:  math (measuring and pouring) at the Sand/Water tables; developing language, sharing ideas, and taking turns in the Dramatic Play and Block areas; and shaping play dough, stringing beads, and making puzzles (offered in the Small Manipulative area) develop small muscles needed in order to hold a pencil properly and eventually print letters.  Included in our monthly newsletter is more detail about the learning experiences acquired in each of our centers.

We have a rich and stimulating curriculum that has been uniquely developed for each of our three age groups; namely, three-year olds, transitional-age and pre-kindergarten programs.  Each age group has a separate, individual, and age- appropriate program, and activities or projects for each of our three programs are different.  For example, children in the three-year old classes are not expected to be able to achieve the same skills as the transitional or pre-kindergarten classes.  The programs and methods of teaching, and the expectations, are not the same.  Each one has been developed to incorporate the abilities for that developmental stage of the child or class.  All classes share many of the same themes (colors, shapes, feelings, letters and numbers, etc.).  However, transitional and pre-kindergarten classes will take things a little further, by focusing in more depth with name recognition, the alphabet and number recognition.

We hope that by providing you with this information, you will gain a better understanding of how we are preparing your children to achieve independence and have a successful beginning to their educational experience.

We follow the Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks and have worked to create a safe and developmentally appropriate program that will fit the children and the families we serve.