Early Childhood Center
“I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected.”
—Henry David Thoreau
Peter Piper's PreSchool Press Monthly Newsletters (click below to view):
A century and a half ago, American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau expressed the idea that being rushed down the academic path is not appropriate for young children and may even dampen their enthusiasm for learning later in life. This idea is being espoused anew by early childhood specialists, and it is central to the educational philosophy of Holy Child Academy's Dolan Family Early Childhood Center.
This is not to say that the early childhood years are not extremely important in shaping the child's openness to the world and the people around him or her, whether at home or, as is more and more common today, in the school setting. In fact, we believe that the foundation for success in and enjoyment of school is laid during these years, with age-appropriate activities that may not look like learning at all.
Each of the four Early Childhood programs has its own curriculum. Each is rich in language, music, movement, and art; supports developing social skills such as sharing, cooperating, listening, taking turns, and displaying self-control; and fosters skill development and independence. And in every school day there is time for imaginative play.
Individual attention is also important to young children. They are accustomed to the intimacy of the parent-child relationship. Further, each has individual needs and learns at his or her own pace. Our small class sizes help us create a warm, nurturing environment where each child can be guided on his or her own unique path of exploration and discovery.
Education that is appropriate for the age will engage the young child's heart and soul—not just her intellect. It will foster a joy in learning that can last a lifetime.
Our Four Programs
This program, which promotes school readiness for young children, provides a carefully tailored first school experience separated from the parent. Great emphasis is placed on socialization skills in an environment that encourages the children to participate fully in all the activities: free play with blocks; housekeeping; arts and crafts; story time; music class; and outdoor play. We believe that small children learn best by doing, and that hands-on activity helps create enthusiasm for future learning. The program meets two or three mornings a week.
There is an increase in structure in this program, including gathering for circle time and taking part in “specials” such as gym, movement class, music, and library. The program is designed to foster the continued development of language and social skills by encouraging independence, appropriate self-expression skills, and interactive learning that is joyful and appropriate for the age generally and each child specifically. The program meets three or five half days or full days a week.
During the pre-kindergarten “bridge” year, the child has one leg in the world of play and another in the world of early learning, with beginning letter and number recognition through stories and art. Our varied activities, in the classroom, playroom, “big gym,” matted “little gym,” or large outdoor play space, encourage children to use their creative and imaginative forces. The program meets five half days or full days a week.
The kindergarten program carefully lays the groundwork for the academic challenges of first grade and beyond. There is a formalized reading program, which includes the teaching of decoding. The math program is also formalized and emphasizes manipulatives, sequencing, and simple calculation work. For math and reading, there are both teacher-directed whole-group lessons and independent small-group centers. The children begin writing by journaling and inventing stories, science by exploring nature, and computers by keyboarding. For balance, we offer physical education every day, art, music, and magical literature themes that change with the seasons and their holidays. Kindergarten is in session five full days a week.
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