We at Little Acorn believe that each child is a unique and competent individual, with his/her own special strengths and qualities, and that all children come equipped with a natural and intense curiosity about life. As your child enters our school, our first objectives are: (1) To build a strong, supportive friendship with each child – a warm rapport that communicates a shared sense of joy in each effort and accomplishment, and (2) To provide a reinforcing, physically and emotionally safe environment, in which children will be encouraged to actively explore, experiment, and express themselves, at their level, in a wide variety of ways. Music, art, science experimentation, book making and story writing, academics (presented in a fun way using both Montessori materials and traditional preschool materials), creative dramatics, games, special enrichment visitors, and family events are included in our presentation of curriculum and reflect our most basic belief that children learn most through a hands-on, self-discovery process. We believe that it is through the sharing of this process, with caring friends, that each child’s natural zest for learning and self-esteem is nurtured and enriched.
We believe in positive reinforcement as the most powerful tool in teaching important central values in early childhood. Cooperation, self-initiative, kindness, and perseverance are the values that we strive to reinforce at every sighting. Communication, creativity and problem-solving strategies are developed as children practice these basic skills that will lay the foundation for life-long learning.
And finally, we believe strongly in the power of the parent-teacher partnership in offering the best care and education for your child. Each one of us has unique and important contributions to share with one another and with the children. So, we would like to welcome you as a vital and cherished member of an important team! We invite and appreciate all of your help and expertise and hope that you will feel free to share with us any ideas, information, comments, and/or concerns you have throughout the year.
GENERAL PROGRAM GOALS:
Development of: Love of school and learning, Self-esteem and competency, Independence and responsibility, Social skills (How to work cooperatively with others, use of courtesies, empathy, expression of needs, interpersonal problem solving), social awareness…(Acceptance of different cultures, viewpoints, differently abled people, taking care of our planet and respecting all living things), Physical motor skills, Language skills for self expression and communication, Creativity, Mathematical and Scientific thinking.
It is important for any good, developmentally appropriate preschool program to say a few words about play. Play is a child’s way of learning. It is work for the child, and s/he expends great energy in this activity. In play children: think creatively, practice critical thinking, use problem solving, teach themselves, are independent, feel powerful, feel in control of their environment, are cooperative, don’t need incentives, are spontaneous, have fun, and are totally involved. Through play the child meets new situations, sets out to understand them, and in the process, gains new understanding and skill in problem solving. Children need time to explore. They need time to practice developing skills over and over again.
According to Dr. Brian Sutton Smith, the conditions for self esteem are:
1. Recognition – knowing you belong
2. Risk taking – intellectual, social, emotional, physical, spiritual (getting to know the spirit of everyone you come in contact with)
4. Having mentors and models (with kids and for kids, never in power over them)
5. Sense of responsibility – being productive, having a sense of humor, being satisfied with oneself.
All of these conditions exist in play!
In addition, current research shows that when comparing early childhood programs based on play vs. academics, children from programs based on play do better academically and more go on to universities. There has also been research that shows a 70% incidence of depression in adults coming from childhood academically accelerated programs.