Curriculum and Communication
Our curriculum focuses on each learner’s developmental status, is responsive to the individual’s strengths, interests and needs; and provides experiences which are meaningful, relevant and respectful of the social and cultural context in which children live. Via email and classroom posting, parents are provided with comprehensive lesson plans prior to the beginning of each week. In addition, parents receive a bi-weekly Curriculum Wrap Up that contains lesson plan follow-up with great photos, work samples and information about how the children extended their learning throughout the week.
Peoples Church Preschool has a unique approach to our curriculum. We've developed an approach to learning that includes several key components:
BASED IN NATURE
Peoples Church Preschool recognizes the importance of encouraging children to interact with nature. The outdoors provides unlimited opportunities for learning and exploration. Natural materials can also enhance learning opportunities while children are indoors.
In the fall of 2016, our school is certified as an official Nature Explore preschool. Because of this, teachers are intentional about offering children lots of time outside, as well as opportunities to interact with nature in unique and meaningful ways. Our Outdoor Classroom is designed with creation and exploration in mind. New to summer 2016, the Mud Kitchen provides an opportunity for children to enjoy sensory play and experiment with natural materials in a fun and messy way!
Each classroom has plant and animal life. The classroom pets are well loved and provide a wonderful opportunity for children to learn to care for animals. Children help to prepare vegetables to feed the animals and have opportunities to study their habits and needs. Our pets include several guinea pigs, a tortoise, a gecko, two snakes, and a salt water aquarium, among other creatures.
Want to learn more the benefits of including nature in children's experiences? Check out this article about Scandinavia's nature-based education system.
"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our strories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist." - Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
Preschool 2 hikes started in September of 2014. Beth Detzler, the lead teacher in the classroom, attended the Nature Preschool Conference hosted by the Association for Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was inspired to begin a hiking program with the children in her classroom.
Peoples Church Preschool is a nature-based preschool. However, the school has the challenge of incorporating nature programming without being located on a nature center's property. Beth realized that the teachers and child could access local resources, such as Michigan State University's campus and local parks, to include nature hikes as part of the weekly curriculum.
Trees, bodies of water, and larger areas of grass and plant life offer opportunities for children to experience nature in a way that is different from hiking through city neighborhoods. On MSU's campus, the children explore large trees, animal tracks, and the Red Cedar River, among other things.
Preschool 2's love for hikes is contagious! Our other preschool classrooms are looking at how to also regularly incorporate hiking into the curriculum.
The preschool offers many opportunities for children to develop their sense of community through fun events and yearly traditions. Some of these traditions include:
International Mud Day
Each June, the preschool children get an extra special opportunity to experience mud on International Mud Day. Teachers facilitate curriculum experiences both inside and outside where children can touch and experiment with dirt, water, and other natural materials in a messy and fun way.
"If it hasn't been in the Hand... and the Body... it can't be in the Brain!" - Bev Bos
In late January each year, the preschool hosts the Art Show & Ice Cream Social. Teachers and children work together on several pieces of art for the children to share with family and friends that evening (and to proudly take home that night!).
Our curriculum includes a focus on STREAM: science, technology, respecting nature, engineering, arts, and math. Teachers are intentional about including activities and learning experiences that stretch a child's understanding in these often overlooked areas.
- Respecting Nature