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Preschool Curriculum for 4-Year-Olds

Preschool Curriculum for 4-Year-Olds

Student building with wooden blocksOur four-year-old preschool classes serve sixteen children while our three-year-old preschool classes serve twelve children. All are instructed by a teacher possessing at least a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. A highly qualified instructional assistant works with each teacher. It is the responsibility of the teaching team to create a stimulating environment and to provide and guide the educational experiences of each child. Lunch and snack are provided for those children who qualify for the free or reduced meals program. A Family Worker helps connect families to needed services in the community.

The program goals are for the children to learn:

  • to make good decisions about their behaviors
  • to cooperate with other children and adults
  • to communicate with others about their experiences and feelings
  • to take initiative and solve problems
  • to gain reading and math readiness skills and concepts

The preschool faculty is trained in and uses the High/Scope Cognitively Oriented Preschool Curriculum in conjunction with a reading readiness program called Webbing Into Literacy.

High/Scope Curriculum

The High/Scope curriculum is a nationally validated program, developed by Dr. David Weikart, used throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The daily schedule in a High/Scope classroom is clearly defined for the preschoolers. The children learn when it is work time, cleanup time, circle time, small group time and outside time. By calling each period of the day by name, children learn a sense of time and order. Children also learn to identify each area of the room (the art area, quiet area, housekeeping areas and the block area) as well as where materials belong, because each area is labeled with pictures and words. This establishes in the child’s understanding a connection between the object, picture and word and this understanding is the foundation of reading readiness. In addition, the ordered environment promotes independence and initiative because children know where materials are located.

The daily lessons are organized by the teachers around “key experiences” designed to develop knowledge and skills in young children. The teacher’s role is to prepare materials that will develop an understanding of concepts and to interact with the children in ways that develop language and thinking.

The hallmark of the High/Scope curriculum is the cycle of “plan, do and review.” This is approximately an hour-long block of time when children choose areas of the room in which to work, implement their plans, and then review with the teacher what they have accomplished. During this work time the teachers observe the children and record notes on the specific actions of individual children which relate to the “key experiences.” Additionally, teachers help children to solve problems when they encounter them.

Webbing Into Literacy

Primarily during circle time, the teachers use the reading readiness program, Webbing Into Literacy (WIL). This program was developed by Dr. Laura Smolkin at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. The components of the program are:

  1. rhyme-a-week
  2. riddle-a-week
  3. book-a-week
  4. alphabet-a-month
  5. take-home activities

Classic nursery rhymes are the foundation of the WIL program. The children learn to identify letters and rhyming words and build comprehension and beginning writing strategies. The take-home component of the program provides a book and a related activity for parents and children to do together.

Parent Involvement

The parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. As a child starts school, the need for consistency between the home and school is important. Therefore, the parent and teacher must work together to help the child feel secure. To that end, it is expected that the parents will participate in:

  1. home visits by the teachers or preschool family support workers;
  2. educational workshops organized by teachers;
  3. take-home activities with their child; and
  4. a spring school conference about their child’s progress.

Student Progress

Children are assessed in the fall and the spring of the preschool year to determine how far each child has progressed in specific areas of development. Three assessments are used to measure student progress: the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschool (PreK PALS), the High/Scope Child Observation Record (COR) and the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA). By using more than one instrument, a well-rounded picture of each child’s development is obtained.

The PreK PALS is an individually administered assessment which measures:

  • rhyme awareness
  • letter knowledge
  • beginning sounds of letters
  • verbal memory
  • print knowledge
  • concept of word
  • name writing

The COR is correlated with the High/Scope curriculum’s “key experiences.” This method of assessment is based on teacher’s daily anecdotal notes of children’s behaviors which are then classified on a developmental scale for each of the following areas:

  • math and logic
  • creative representation
  • music and movement

The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment is a strength-based, standardized assessment and planning system that supports professionals and parents in promoting young children‘s social and emotional well-being, thus promoting resilience. The DECA is used to build protective factors and prevent the development of behavioral concerns.

To Learn More

Sheila Sparks
Coordinator of Preschool and Family Support
(434) 245-2813

Eursaline Inge
Preschool Family Worker
(434) 245-2813

Eleanor Barrese
Johnson Preschool Family Support Worker
(434) 245-2865