Two-year-olds are just beginning their journey into the world of school. They are learning to understand the process of separation, working to develop trust with their teachers and comfort in their classroom environment. With the help of their teachers, 2s begin to form an awareness of their social footprint – both as individuals who can care for themselves, and as members of the classroom community who care for each other. Teachers aid in the development of language acquisition as they talk to the children during all interactions. Using age appropriate language to describe the world around them, teachers model language to help promote peer interactions and move children from simply playing side by side to more engaged in cooperative play.
The world of the three-year-old is one filled with socialization, conversation, imagination, and curiosity. They have moved through their stage of separation, and taken ownership of the classroom spaces. They understand the basic ways we socialize and interact with our peers, and so we begin to challenge them. We provide them with moments to work on patience, through taking longer turns and sharing materials. We lengthen our meeting times and read longer books to work on more focused attention spans. Now that the children have learned to come together as a whole group, we now challenge the children to work in pairs and small groups as they investigate curriculum and questions.
As children move into the 4s classes, our goals are for them to have incorporated all the social aspects from the 2s and 3s years. They understand their value as part of the group; they are able to take care of their own needs and the needs of others; they can be part of a pair, small or large learning group; they are continuing to work on negotiating social situations using dialogue. With this social-emotional background, our oldest groups are now able to devote their time to serious research and in depth curriculum studies. The 4s have the most involved questions, and it is up to the teachers to become researchers and help the children learn ways to investigate and research in order to answer these questions. They learn to find answers from books, from peers, from adults, from their own experimentation, and from experiences they see in the world.
We add to our classroom learning with other activities that help develop children physically, socially, and emotionally. Students have access to our gymnastics studio, where they will benefit from the instruction of professional gymnasts to build strength, balance, coordination, and confidence. We also have a music teacher who visits weekly to teach rhythm and math concepts in the context of music and movement. Children spend time outside daily on our private playground, working on fine and gross motor skills by exploring climbing structures, building with blocks, digging in the sandbox, and playing ball sports.
Many families remain in NYC for the summer months, so we offer day camp from June-August. Summer camp activities are guided by weekly themes. Students have outdoor play twice daily, where they enjoy water play under overhead sprinklers in addition to exploring the playground. Five-day campers take swimming lessons once weekly, and all campers have gymnastics as part of the summer curriculum. Our camp is open to students and non-students of Columbus Pre-School.