At St. David's Episcopal Day School, we recognize our students reflect a range of learning styles. In accordance with developmentally appropriate practices, outlined in NAEYC's rigorous standards, we try to adapt our methods to each child's unique learning needs. We also believe in play-based learning, which means children learn about science and math through discovery and develop language skills, social skills, self-help skills, fine and gross motor skills through meaningful play activities.
Developmentally appropriate practices mean:
1. Students are taught based upon individual readiness for the content using an instructional approach.
2. Students are both challenged and given enough time to practice what they learn as they learn it.
3. Students experiencing success are more likely to become self-motivated learners.
Toddler Ones & Twos
Children learn best when they are in a caring, happy and engaging environment. In our one’s and two’s classrooms, the children learn through play and hands-on interaction in a child-friendly environment. We provide stimulation and fun activities that foster growth in cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Daily activities consist of art, sensory play, blocks, dramatic/home center and fine gross motor play. These classes offer opportunities for exploration and discovery allowing each child’s unique gifts and talents to emerge at his or her own pace. The Active Learning Series, designed by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Child development department, serves as a curriculum for our toddler programs. The curriculum emphasizes the following skills:
- Language development
- Cognitive skills
- Social skills
- Gross and fine motor skills
The threes class builds on the concepts learned in the younger classes. In addition, the children work on self-regulation skills, understanding empathy and developing methods of learning. These include observation, asking questions and problem-solving techniques. The threes class also encourages soft social skills such as generosity, taking turns and how to express their own feelings in an appropriate way. We include activities such as music and movement, yoga and simple exercises that allow children to use the whole body. Additionally, the threes will be introduced to basic literacy skills and math concepts.
In the four-year-old preschool room, we seek to create a warm, nurturing environment where every child can grow and develop at his or her own pace. It is a classroom full of fun and much learning! Our play-based classroom centers focus on using play and creativity to learn in the areas of language, science, math, art, social studies and music. Each week focuses on a theme that is incorporated into daily circle time, outdoor play and activities geared toward social development and preschool learning. The classroom is set up for children to begin preparing for Kindergarten in the areas of reading and writing. At this age, children begin to understand abstract concepts such as counting and letter sounds. Our activities that foster this understanding are writing one's name, recognizing birthdays, shapes, colors, months of the year, weather and more.
We encourage each child to reach their fullest potential through developmentally appropriate activities using creativity, imagination and problem solving.
The Montessori class is available to children 3-5 years old. Dr. Montessori’s developmental approach was designed to fit each child. She believed that learning should and could take place in multi-aged classrooms, therefore, children at various developmental stages could learn from and with each other. The Montessori teachers know children learn more by touching, seeing, feeling, smelling and exploring than by just listening. This way of teaching enables children to develop as individuals capable in all areas of life. The use of multi-age grouping is an alternative to the conventional graded classroom. Multi-age classrooms utilize an organizational structure in which children of different ages and ability levels are grouped together in one classroom.