The curriculum at Riverbend Preschool is child-directed, while being sensitive to, and supporting the development of all children individually and in a group. Recognizing that children are experiential learners, the environment is organized into separate learning centers that allow children to learn by doing through experimentation, exploration, and discovery while building self-control, confidence and a positive self-image. Materials supplied in each learning center have a direct correlation to a particular project, theme, lesson plan or concept. Continuous introduction and rotation of new materials stimulate interest and provide challenges for each child based on their abilities, development and learning styles.
Learning centers are designed according to the following areas:
Books, Language and Literacy- A print-rich literacy environment includes some of the following: books in Basque, English, Spanish, magazines and newspapers appropriate for young children, calendars, bulletin boards, alphabet charts, labels on materials, supplies, equipment, children’s names displayed, child dictation or writing and drawings displayed. Children learn the Basque and Spanish languages through thematic units, interaction with teachers, peers, music and print.
Math- Mathematics understandings are based on skills developed through activities such as matching, one-to-one correspondence, grouping, classifying and sequencing. The concepts of time and seasons are introduced, and the children learn the days of the week and months of the year in English, Basque and Spanish. Clocks and calendars are used to teach time.
Science and Nature- Concrete, hands-on experiences with, plants, animals, basic manipulatives, science experiments allow children to discover how things, feel, work, and how they relate to their world. Much of this learning will take place in the natural setting along the Boise River where the children will gain first-hand knowledge about the habitat biodiversity of the river's riparian zone.
Social Studies- Through studies in this area children develop an awareness about their own cultural heritage as well as traditions of others. They learn about the different roles they have in their family and at preschool. Field trips and visits from people working in the community help expand their awareness of the roles other people have in society.
Art- Experimentation and exploration through a variety of media allows children the time and space to creatively express themselves, develop aesthetic appreciation, and improve visual and motor coordination at their own pace.
Large and Small Motor Skills- Movement activities including yoga, dance, gymnastics, running, balancing and sports are some of the large motor skills children will be exposed to. Small muscle development activities include; cutting, tearing, stringing beads, building with blocks and use of music instruments. With a good balance between vigorous play and quieter activities, children will be more relaxed and ready to benefit from the entire preschool experience.
Music and Movement- Access to musical instruments allow children to be creative and spontaneous. They will learn to follow a rhythm with different instruments and move their bodies in rhythmic response to music.
Field Trips- Different field trips will be organized thorough out the year as a way to make a concrete connection to what they are learning at that time. Some of these include: Local Greenhouses, The Pumpkin Patch, Boise River Greenbelt, Veterans Park, Boise Zoo and the Boise Public Library.
Dramatic Play- Because a child’s family and home are the largest part of their world, they spend much of their time trying to imitate the things they see there. Children try on the life of people they know, their work, their feeling and their words. Through child-directed acting out- dramatic play- the children are able to bring together the things they are learning and feeling about the world and themselves.
Block Play- Building blocks provide children challenge and satisfaction through a wide range of development: From the toddler; just able to stack one block on top of another; to preschoolers who are able to carry out very complex and extensive projects on their own. Block accessories let children create worlds they can manage. From the raw material of wooden shapes, children solve problems and gain confidence. Building with blocks helps children learn more about sizes and shapes: It helps them learn what numbers really stand for and it promotes scientific trial and error thinking. Children work, share, and talk with others as they build. Language grows along with the understanding of people.