The preschool program at The School in Rose Valley (SRV) is play-based. People learn from experience – from touching, manipulating, exploring, discovering, failing and succeeding – and play is the most natural vehicle for early experiential learning. The work of young children is to learn about themselves and the world as they play. The work of early childhood teachers and schools is to provide children with the necessary ingredients for play (time, space, materials and playmates), and to nurture and facilitate their play and learning.
As the children play at SRV, teachers support them in trying new activities, seeing what happens when they put these things together, or use that tool. Teachers nurture children’s pretend and narrative play, which are critical activities for learning to socialize with peers, developing language and early literacy skills. They notice children’s interests and inclinations, ask timely questions, offer achievable challenges, and encourage the children to problem-solve and reflect.
The SRV preschool program is also designed to support children’s development of emotional and social skills. Learning to get along with others is not only a critical skill for well-being and successful relationships; it also profoundly impacts a child’s ability to learn in school. Consider the importance of learning to wait, to listen, and to handle one’s feelings appropriately.
Young preschoolers are just beginning to take their first halting steps from babyhood, when their focus is exclusively on themselves and their needs and they are completely dependent on parents, towards being more independent members of a group. Sharing and taking turns are two of the earliest skills that young children have to learn and practice. As they become more conscious of and interested in engaging in the world of peers, they must learn and practice skills such as joining in, asserting themselves, cooperating, and beginning to see another person’s perspective.
At SRV teachers understand the emotional and social journey of early childhood, and work to gently ease children forward. They help children develop and practice social language, interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. Much of this learning occurs as the teachers facilitate the children’s play, but teachers also use tools such as stories, modeling, and assigning partner or group work to ensure that the children master the social skills they will need in the future.
We also believe at SRV that learning should be age-appropriately demanding and engaging. Most preschoolers are interested in drawing, stories and counting, but few are ready to read and write. The preschool program at SRV is designed to provide all young children with the foundational experiences and skills they will need for later learning. These include such things as expressive language, phonemic awareness, number sense and pattern recognition. Only when they are interested and ready are individual children supported in exploring how to decipher books and record their thoughts on paper.
Learning should be natural and comfortable for children. The early formal learning activities in preschool at SRV – such as hearing stories read aloud, drawing in journals, counting, and putting together puzzles – are active and fun.
At SRV our classrooms are bright, spacious, and equipped with simple open-ended materials for creative play: blocks, play dough, paints, dolls, dress-ups, vehicles, etc. Every room also has pets and nature tables to play with and study, books and cozy corners for reading them, and lots of materials for creating and messing about. Children play outdoors every day, even if it is cold or a little wet. Outdoors, they may pretend in the play houses, stretch muscles with tricycles, wagons and on climbers, and dig and haul in the sandbox and mud.
Early Formal Learning
Literacy development is a fundamental component of our preschool program. SRV is a community in which a love a books and literature is fostered whole-heartedly. Children are read to daily in groups and individually. Our classrooms have extensive libraries and we have a wonderful school library that parents and children find cozy and inviting. The preschool teachers support older children who are interested and ready to explore early reading, drawing and writing skills.
Preschoolers at SRV explore basic mathematical concepts throughout the day as they build with blocks, sort objects, cook and bake, share with their peers and explore patterns through rhythm and other musical activities.
All children are naturally curious. Our beautifully wooded 8.5 acre campus is the perfect setting for young children to observe and investigate the world around them, establishing the foundation for a love of the environment and science.
Preschool Length of Day & Enrollment Options
The school day at SRV begins at 8:15. Half-day ends at 11:45, and full-day ends at 3:00. All full-day students are served lunch, which is provided by the school as part of the tuition. Extended Day programs are in place for families who need extended care before and after school.
For some of our youngest children SRV’s three-day preschool program meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with options for half days or full days. In addition to the rich program offered in the classroom, children in the three-day preschool attend our Special Subjects in Wood Shop, Music and a little bit of Spanish.
Children in the five-day preschool program may attend school for half days or full days. In addition to the rich program offered in the classroom, children attending preschool for five days attend our Special Subjects in Wood Shop, Music, Spanish and Science.