Play-Based Learning that Sets Children up for Success
AHS Early Learning Centers are places where children are at the heart of our curriculum. The teachers and staff value children’s ideas and collaborate with each other and with the children to create opportunities for learning and discovery every day. We build projects and topics of study together and have the following goals for the children’s learning. All of our standards align with the Illinois Early Learning Standards (http://illinoisearlylearning.org/ields/index.htm) and we use Teaching Strategies Gold with Creative Curriculum’s learning objectives for assessment (https://teachingstrategies.com/our-approach/our-38-objectives/).
In our classrooms:
- Children learn important life skills such as sharing with others, taking turns, expressing their ideas, practicing their language, and using their creativity as they make pretend meals, create a block city, or pretend they are dinosaurs.
- Children learn about quantity, estimation, patterning, and more as they play with shapes, sort objects in the sand table, serve lunch, or figure out how many steps it takes to go from their classroom to the end of the hallway.
- Children learn about writing, reading, stories, and verbal expression as they participate in story time, explore writing materials, interact with words that are important to them like their name, describing something they made to their friends, or sing finger plays.
- Children learn to express their emotions, to consider another’s ideas, to care for others, and to solve problems as they hug a baby doll, tell a classmate that something they did hurt their feelings, participate in class discussions, and practice identifying emotions.
Classrooms are limited to 20 children with 2 full time teachers and floating parent aids to increase one on one services. Teachers plan for invidual children’s developmental and cognitive goals and record progress using Teaching Strategies Gold, an observation based assessment that lets parents see how their children are progressing in their development.
Child Centered Spaces
Our preschool classrooms reflect the children and their cultures. Chairs and tables are child sized and comfortable, perfect for children to draw, play, and learn. The classrooms have lofts that give children a space for solitary play when they need a minute to be alone. All children use our indoor gross motor room where they can run, jump, ride bikes, play with balls, and get those wiggles out even when the weather outside does not allow for outside play.
Clean and Safe
The preschool classrooms are in their on wing of the school and have a separate entrance from the elementary students that is monitored by staff and cameras to control who has access to the building. All teachers and staff are CPR-First Aid certified, have passed safe food handling courses, have completed training in health and safety, and have been cleared by state and federal background checks. Classrooms are disinfected throughout the day and cleaned daily. Strict health and hygiene practices are in place to help keep children and adults who are sick at home until they feel better.