The children in the four year old class are generally one year away from kindergarten entrance when they begin in September. Most children have their fifth birthday while in this group. Class is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9am-1pm.
We build on successes of the previous year and see the year ahead as part of the continuum for preparing children to begin kindergarten as happy learners, ready to achieve their full potential.
The four year old take on more responsibility for the running of the classroom. Special jobs are assigned each week and a sense of community develops among classmates. Children develop self-help skills and feel a sense of pride about being cooperative and taking on responsibilities. Meeting time is longer and more structured to suit their longer attention spans.
Children participate in the mystery box activity, and later in the year, show and tell to expand expressive language skills. These activities help development of vocabulary, sentence structure, and self expression, and listening skills are developed as well. Children enjoy learning new songs, poems, and chants and are now doing so at an amazing pace.
Block building becomes more sophisticated for four- and five-year-olds. Both large and small muscle control is developing. Children are learning about spatial relationships, balance, measurement, shapes and weight. They are problem solving in very real ways as they build and create. Cooperation and taking turns are vital social skills in this area.
Interactive toys such as pegs, puzzles, learning sets, and Legos offer more opportunities for sharing and learning respect and self-control. Children will notice similarities and differences, make predictions, recognize patterns, count, and match colors and shapes. They will engage in active problem solving and think creatively.
Art is a daily activity at Sunshine School. Children learn to express their feelings and ideas through art. They develop self awareness and enhance their powers of observation. There are always choices to be made at the art table, and we believe that for young children, making choices is necessary and empowering.
Dramatic play is an obvious opportunity for role playing, exploring social issues, and acting out creative scenarios. We have lots of dress-up clothes, baby dolls and clothes, a fully equipped play kitchen, and puppets. As they engage in these activities, the children tend to develop friendships that flourish and grow.
At snack time children enjoy socializing with her friends and teachers. Good conversation promotes literacy. They also talk about good nutrition and healthy habits, which promotes self-sufficiency.
Large motor activities take place outdoors in our play yard or in the gym area during nasty weather. The children develop their large muscles through running, jumping, balancing, bouncing, hopping, climbing, throwing, and digging. Outdoors we have scooters, tricycles, sandboxes, and a climbing structure. Indoors we also have a variety of stimulating play equipment, including a basketball hoop, ride-on cars and trucks, trikes, River Stones, belly boards, balls, beanbags, and a parachute. Children learn to use playground equipment safely and to follow rules. They develop bodily and spatial awareness through vigorous play, which also promotes a positive self-image.
The library shelf contains picture books that are replenished and rotated often. They are well within the reach of children and are available anytime a child chooses. This is an opportunity for a peaceful time alone or sometimes a chance to share a favorite book with a friend. Each day a story is read in a small group by the child's teacher. Listening in a group, answering by raising a quiet hand, predicting what will come next, and retelling the story are skills that are developing. We have a fine collection of good children's literature, large format/picture books, and books on tape.
We always hear positive feedback from kindergarten teachers who have our children in their classroom. Our students are eager to learn and adapt well to the flow of the kindergarten day.