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Preschool

The Giddens School preschool program helps young children develop the skills of our three pillars; academic excellence and learning, social and emotional development, social justice and equity in ways that are developmentally appropriate and responsive to them as young learners. The program is rooted in play, emphasizing a child’s innate curiosity. On a daily basis, children are provided with opportunities to explore, observe, question, and construct knowledge from the world around them. Teachers work alongside students; they watch, inquire, and interact in order to learn more about what interests each child. These interests are built upon and interwoven with community goals to become engaging units of study. Lessons created in this manner provide an authentic learning pathway for children, where teachers thoughtfully provide the skills and strategies to investigate the world around them.


Our Curriculum

Reading

Reading instruction in preschool is focused on cultivating a deep love of story. Children are surrounded by stories, in the books that fill their classrooms, the narration that flows from their teachers, and the budding ideas being shared by their classmates. Each child is developing skills as a creator and interpreter of stories. This happens on a daily basis through:

  • Ongoing exposure to many different genres of books
  • Acting out stories as a means of solidifying understanding and sequencing
  • Engaging in pre-reading activities, such as holding a book and turning the pages or pointing to pictures as books are read aloud
  • Listening to quality literature in in many different settings
  • Participating in discussions about stories we have heard
  • Telling stories about the world around them and their experience of it (“Today on the playground I…”)
  • Exploring the building blocks of words – sounds and letters – by playing with them through rhyme, nonsense words, and matching

Writing

Writing instruction in preschool is contextual, taking place as children explore text in their environment and begin to assign meaning to marks they place on a page. It happens in a developmentally appropriate way, through explorations of art and expression. Children are encouraged to:

  • Place marks on paper, that may evolve into letters, to represent their ideas
  • Develop familiarity with, and assign meaning to, high interest letters such as those in their own name
  • Use art as a form of written communication (create and tell)
  • Share ideas, thoughts and stories while adults take dictation, helping to forge the connection between spoken and written words
  • Interact with a variety of materials that encourage fine motor development

Math

Preschool mathematicians develop the skills to look at the world through a mathematical lens. Teachers scaffold learning through thoughtful modeling, careful questioning, and intentional provocation, encouraging children to build on their innate curiosity. Children engage with mathematical concepts including patterning, numeracy, quantity, and classifying as they play and explore.

This might look and sounds like:

  • Counting the number of students in their class each day, the number of items in their lunchbox, the number of pieces in a puzzle, and any number of things around them
  • Grouping items by attribute (all of the red ones over here, the blue ones over there)
  • Identifying, naming, and growing patterns
  • Engaging in oral story telling and singing that involves quantities being added or taken away (three birds in the nest, one flew away, now there are two)
  • Developing awareness of and assigning value to numerical symbols (numbers, fingers held up, dots in a group, etc.)

Science

Science in preschool is woven throughout the school day as students explore and experiment with the world around them. Their classrooms, the playground, and the school garden all represent learning laboratories where children can play out the scientific method. They observe, hypothesize, test, consider outcomes, and adjust their thinking on a constant basis. SPARK projects are units of study that give teachers and children opportunities to think more deeply about a scientific concept, and its connection to justice in the world, in a developmentally appropriate way. An example of this in preschool would be a study of how plants grow from seeds. From this SPARK project, students develop scientific understandings, as well as experience nurturing another living thing.


Social Studies

Preschool students develop foundational social studies knowledge by developing a classroom community. Through play, they explore scenarios related to civics as they problem solve with and adapt to their peers. A major focus of social studies instruction with young children is developing their capacity to consider “the other” as they develop empathy and awareness beyond themselves. SPARK projects are units of study that give teachers and children opportunities to think more deeply about a social studies concept, and its connection to justice in the world, in a developmentally appropriate way. An example of this in preschool would be a study of neighborhoods and the people in them. From this SPARK project, students develop awareness of the systems that exist in the world around them, as well as beginning to think about the interdependence of people.

Art

Preschool artists use their art time to explore and learn about materials and methods in art making. These young artists create 2-dimensional artworks by drawing, painting, and collage; these kinds of projects ask students to work collaboratively as well as individually.


In an art classroom, as in other classrooms, the opportunities for both collaborative and individual work allow children the opportunity to expand their abilities to communicate, work together, and express themselves. In addition to 2D art, when making 3D art, students are able to use things like clay, pipe cleaners, beads, and even old CD’s. Creating artwork with a variety of materials like this helps preschool artists develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and creativity.

Physical Education

In preschool students develop fine and gross motor skills. Learning to use motor abilities to perform movements with a ball, obstacle, or partner are the main objectives of the physical education curriculum. Along with developing dexterity and movements, preschool has begun to focus on team work strategies. Participating in simple passing games and follow the leader scenarios are teamwork building activities that are covered in the beginning of the year. Working with others is a skill which will help early learners be successful in sports, the classroom, and life.

Spanish

The Spanish program at Giddens School supports children in building their understanding of World Languages and the Spanish speaking countries. By providing Spanish instruction in preschool – 5th grade, we are instilling in students an awareness of the varied ways in which the world communicates and solidifying pathways of language development that support future language learning. Exposure to Spanish vocabulary and language conventions is balanced with cultural explorations throughout the program. After graduation, many Giddens School students go on to place into higher levels of Spanish instruction in their middle schools, building on the solid foundation of instruction provided during Spanish class at Giddens.

Library and Media

Students read very simple and repetitive stories about numbers, colors and shapes and often read the books a few times over. In class, preschool students explore the world of gardens using storytimes. Some favorites have been What the Ladybug Heard by Julia Donaldson and If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson. In spring, preschool students start to experience longer books with expanded vocabulary and more complex story lines.

Our Preschool Team

Taryn Lewis

Taryn Lewis

Assistant Teacher
Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor

Preschool Teacher

Preschool Specialists

Ally Bruser

Ally Bruser

SPARK Specialist
Murphy Campbell

Murphy Campbell

PE Specialist
Karina Flores

Karina Flores

Spanish Specialist
Grant Hayslip

Grant Hayslip

Librarian
Orianna O'Neill

Orianna O'Neill

Music Specialist and Extended Day Support Staff