A child’s day at FPPS is full of love, acceptance, wonder and adventure. Our curriculum is developed with the goal of teaching our students to learn about the world around them from a Christian-based point of view and through exploration, experimentation, and play. Because we believe children of preschool age learn best through self directed play, our classrooms are full of age-appropriate activities and hands-on learning. In a typical week our children experience:
- Music: Thursdays, our children have music with Jemima’s Playhouse. They learn the musical alphabet, basic theory, songs, play with rhythm instruments, move and groove, and are exposed to different types of music and languages. The children perform twice a year for their parents at our Christmas and Spring Programs.
- Spanish: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, ages two years old and older have Spanish with Mrs. Kayla. They learn colors, shapes, days of the week, greetings, songs, and more through books, games, and singing in a fun and positive setting.
- Handwriting Without Tears: Our 3s and Pre-K classes use this approach to learn writing skills. Arlington ISD also uses this concept in their elementary schools. First, they build vocabulary for up, down, middle, left, right, little, big, line, and curve to prepare them for writing. They also learn how to build and draw Mat Man (a person), follow directions, and build letters out of curved and straight wooden pieces. Finally, they learn to write letters (capital letters first) using the “Wet/Dry/Try” method.
- Math: To teach math in the classroom, not only direct instruction is used, but teachers also use a variety of materials and ideas to create an environment where children can explore math concepts on their own. Math centers include board games, puzzles, matching and guessing games, dominoes, cards, pattern blocks, collections of objects which give children opportunities to recognize numbers and build math skills. Math is not limited to the math center. In block center, children construct cities (sorting and organizing) and use words like long, short, small, and tall (size and distance). At snack time a child passes out one napkin per child (one to one relationships). Math is incorporated throughout our day.
- Chapel: We gather as a school community for Chapel on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. We use First Look Curriculum (a Christian Curriculum designed for preschoolers) to teach Bible stories, songs, and lessons to our children in a preschool appropriate fashion. We also sing and pray together. Parents are welcome to attend. It is at 9:20am.
- Faith: We use First Look Curriculum for our Faith Development. The focus of this curriculum is to teach children that God Made Us, God Loves Us, and Jesus Wants to Be Our Friend Forever. It also has hands-on, fun activities for our preschoolers to teach Biblical lessons and truth.
- Free Choice Play: Children learn best when they have some control over their learning. The activities are meaningful and relevant when the child can make choices over what materials they will work with, and how they will use them. We facilitate children’s choice within a structured environment. Our teachers create Learning Centers that are inviting, allow children to choose from developmentally appropriate activities, allow for groups to work together, and, in some cases, choose how they will use the materials that are available.
- Stories: We read to our children both in structured times (circle time, chapel, music, and Spanish) and non-structured times (during free choice play). We use books that emphasize the themes we are learning about as well as a variety of other books of interest to the children.
- Art: The art area provides an excellent place for young children to think creatively, make decisions, and solve problems. Teachers provide an assortment of art materials that children may choose from to make their own unique creations. We focus on the process of art, not the product , and we believe every child is an artist!
- Science: Children are encouraged to experiment and observe their natural world and carefully planned experiments to learn about Science and scientific principles. The students are encouraged to mix blue and yellow paint to see what happens. They are also invited to spray vinegar on baking soda to watch the reaction. Teachers ask their students to wonder or guess (hypothesize) what might happen when ice is placed in a window.
- Cooking and Gardening: Our Toddler and older classes have opportunities to cook and garden in developmentally appropriate ways. Gardening helps children understand about taking care of a living thing, teaches them how plants grow, and strengthens motor skills. Language arts, math, and science concepts are used in cooking. Children learn to recognize numbers and some words from recipes. They begin to use vocabulary related to cooking. They observe how ingredients change when they are mixed together. They learn basic math concepts, such as counting, measurement, and part-whole relationships. Both encourage pride in a completed task.
- Sensory Experiences: Children learn best by using their senses. We provide all kinds of experiences for them to discover and enjoy. From washing baby dolls in water, pouring and measuring sand in a sensory table, to making Oobleck (mixing cornstarch and water) or sticky, slimy putty. We provide many opportunities for children to use all of their senses throughout the day.
We also include centers for dramatic play, writing, art, and reading in our classes.