At Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, we believe that education involves the whole child-- heart, hands, and head. We approach education in the preschool pre-k classroom through a reflective practice inspired by the Reggio Approach, honoring the child as competent, capable and resilient. “The 100 Languages of Children” honors how each child learns, discovers, and makes meaning of the world around them, through the expression and exploration of different mediums, or “languages”, like clay, paints, wire, movement, song, storytelling, writing, blocks… believing that real intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their intellects, but also their hands and hearts, learning through cooperative experiences in community with other children and adults.
In this community of learning, we strive to help children to become balanced, integrated and harmonious human beings. In our preschool and pre-k class we believe in supporting a passion for learning, wondering, and self expression, but also in the development of good character, a healthy sense of self, and positive qualities such as resilience, respect for self and others, generosity, compassion, and caring. Social and emotional development is an important foundation for all that we do.
In keeping with our whole-child approach to learning, we believe that the best environment in which children thrive and grow is in an environment that is safe and supportive, stimulating and challenging, fun and playful and open and expansive.
We bring together a teaching team that embodies these qualities, to create an optimal setting in which children can live and learn. We welcome parents and extended families as an integral part of this circle of working, playing, dancing, and laughing, where we teach and learn together.
Curriculum for Preschool/PreK, Ages 3 and 4 year olds
In the practice of the Reggio Approach, the curriculum emerges from teacher observations, notes and photos taken of children’s investigations. Reflection meetings happen weekly to see what students are exploring, and weekly schedules are made, which outline activities to deepen each student’s investigations and learning. The weekly activities may have a “provocation”, or a catalyst for exploration; it may be materials set out by teachers in response to student interests, the construction of a new center in the classroom environment, or new materials may be made available for children to explore.
Documentation panels are made of student’s learning and discoveries; these panels are often comprised of photographs, artwork, teacher observations, and quotes from children. They are read to students and displayed for them to view, which deepens the student’s learning, as well as the teachers’ understanding of the students’ interest. Panels are hung in the hallway and in the classroom for families to see.
As a Four Star Licensed Preschool/Pre-K Program, we support and nurture opportunities for each child to grow within the main areas of development while working with the New Mexico Early Learning Guidelines.
Our rich Language Arts program is embedded in our daily curriculum, such as learning phonics through the “Letter of the Week” program, and through song, reading signs, labels in English and Spanish, names around the classroom, learning rhymes and songs, telling and making up stories, listening and reflecting on stories read during “Story Time,” expressing oneself during Show and Tell, and learning to write the letters of the alphabet. Our Language Arts Program nurtures children to develop skills through which they use as one of the “Languages” in the “Hundred Languages of Children,” to express themselves as they learn and make meaning of the world in which they live.
We value all languages spoken by students and foster the development of a child’s home language, as well as the development of the English language. Spanish and ASL are integrated in our daily curriculum and our daily routines.
The Numeracy program is integrated throughout the classroom and daily schedule. Children learn about numbers through the “Number of the Month” program, and have opportunities to use numbers and counting as means for solving and determining quantity, such as counting the name cards in circle or reading the number cards for snack time to serve themselves the correct number of snack items, or reading the “Number of the Month.” They learn to recognize shapes during our “Shape of the Month” program, where they have fun learning how to describe, compare and create shapes in projects or find them around the classroom. They explore measurement like length, height, weight and time through the daily schedule, and in their play with the materials around the classroom, as well as learning to sort, classify and group materials by characteristics through their interaction, play and cleaning up the changing materials in the classroom.
The natural sciences program involves children exploring the world around them with their senses, hands-on work with animals, plants, and simple experiments. Local field trips around the school and neighborhood take children to outdoor classrooms in which living things are seen and experienced in their natural home. The wonder of nature is cultivated through simple activities such as helping in a school hoop house garden and exploring the cycles of nature.
The SFSAS Preschool/Pre-K Program is nestled within a larger school community, with an Elementary and Middle School. Accessing the support of this community is fostered by using other grades as experts, who share what they are learning in their Expeditions, as well as developing rich relationships through Community Service with older students being “Big Buddies” with the preschool pre-k students. This relationship and community support deepens as students go through the grades at SFSAS and become Big Buddies themselves as they grow through the different grades, maintaining rich relationships with the students and teachers at SFSAS.
The Preschool and Pre-K classroom is seen as a pivotal foundation where children come to know themselves as active, happy, and successful learners, and as important and special members of a large SFSAS school community.