As your child prepares for preschool, the options available to you can feel overwhelming. How do you choose the ideal learning environment for your child that’s safe, nurturing, and challenging? How do you know if a school will be the right fit for your family? While every school is unique, here are a few key elements that the best preschool programs have in common.
Learning Through Play
Young children primarily learn through play. A great early learning center will include play-focused learning in a variety of imaginative settings. Some examples include:
- Domestic activities such as cooking, playing house, and cleaning.
- Dress-up and dramatic play, like playing with puppets.
- Sensory play, such as a sand or water table.
- And of course, creative arts.
These kinds of interactive activities are very important for a young child’s development and socialization, so look for a preschool that encourages, rather than stifles, playtime.
A Solid Literacy Foundation
Expect lots and lots of reading at Christ Chapel Academy! Students will have ample time to “read” independently, as well as plenty of group storytimes as a class. One of the most important aspects of language development for young children is being read to, so this will be a big part of an early learning center’s program structure. Preparing each child for kindergarten and beyond is a focus for the preschool program at Christ Chapel Academy.
Development of Large and Fine Motor Skills
The best preschool programs provide carefully curated learning centers for the development of both large and fine motor skills. Large motor skills can be worked on with a variety of physical activities, such as playing with balls, climbing, crawling through tunnels, and working on balance. Fine motor skills will be sharpened with activities like stringing beads, assembling puzzles, or building towers with blocks or Legos.
Time Spent Outdoors
Time spent outdoors and away from screens is absolutely essential for early childhood development. The preschool program at Christ Chapel Academy allows ample time for students to play outside, both in structured and unstructured settings. Many schools are including outdoor classroom space in their programs, making the outdoors an even more critical part of the day.
Early Immersion in Science
Science in pre-K looks a bit different than microscopes and laboratories. It might include planting a garden, taking care of a class pet, examining leaves and rocks, or going on an outdoor bug hunt. Science for a young child looks like exploring the natural world. An early learning center will help nurture a sense of curiosity and a desire for exploration in your little one.
A Focus on the Future
The aim of any preschool should be to build the skills necessary to thrive in future educational environments. At Christ Chapel Academy, the preschool program intentionally chooses curriculum to prepare students for kindergarten and elementary school. The preschool teachers at Christ Chapel Academy communicate regularly with the kindergarten teachers to ensure that the preparation in Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 complements the curriculum students will experience as they progress through elementary school. This preparation sets your child up for a smoother transition during a time that can bring uncertainty to their young lives.
If you’re still seeking the perfect preschool program for your child, why not schedule a visit today? Christ Chapel Academy was voted Best Preschool in Prince William County two years in a row, so come see what all the buzz is about!