The Lighthouse Christian School (LCS) program emphasizes the development of the whole child through active learning situations. Experiences are provided that meet children’s needs and stimulate learning in all developmental areas: intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual. The children learn by playing and by using a large variety of materials. We are not a paper and pencil program.
An important part of the program is fostering each child’s awareness of and response to God’s love for him/her. Each child is viewed as a unique person with an individual pattern and timing of growth and development. The curriculum and the adult interaction are responsive to individual differences in ability and interest. Different levels of ability, development and learning styles are expected and activities are designed to develop the children’s positive attitude toward learning.
SOCIAL LEARNING + DEVELOPMENT:
Preschool children need to learn socialization skills. This includes learning to play with other children, solving problems that develop between them without resorting to crying, hitting, biting, etc., and listening to another adult other than a parent. Children need time to practice and learn these important relationship skills. They do this best through a play environment. Helping the children to learn these skills is an important and time consuming part of the preschool day.
The classroom is set up to encourage these encounters. There are benches at the tables so two children can sit together. The children have to interact with another child sitting beside them as they share the space. The easel is designed so two children can paint side by side and share the paint.
The teacher guides the children when they have difficulties. Often times the teacher has to give them the words to say in a conflict with another child. For example, a child takes a toy from another child. The teacher would give it back to the first child and demonstrate how the second child can ask the first child to use the toy when the first child is finished with the toy. The teacher would also tell them to ask the teacher because we might have another one of the same toy for them to use.
When there are conflicts between children, the teacher has to find out what is going on between them. How did it start? What happened before the hit or push? The teacher can then give them the words to say to each other. This might be, “Don’t hit me, I don’t like it.” “That’s my toy, I brought it from home.” “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” We help the children to work out how to “be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1Thessalonians 5:15)
ORALITY: “…a necessary and powerful foundation –for the construction we call literacy.” Barry Sanders
Orality: “The quality of being communicated by speech…” Compact Oxford Dictionary
Orality is talking and listening.
Literacy: “The state or quality of being literate.”
Literate: “educated, especially, able to read and write…having or showing extensive knowledge, experience…skilled in literature.” Webster’s New World Dictionary
“A rich experience of orality is an indispensable prelude to literacy. Orality provides a proving ground, a safe place, where a child’s imagination can unfold without fear of judgment or censure…Stories bring everyone together in a commonality of closely shared knowledge.
But why all the fuss? Why so much attention to what seems so ordinary—to talking and listening? What’s the big deal about the human voice? The answer is simple and direct: Without a full experience in orality a person cannot truly embrace an animating and invigorating literacy. Orality makes social and emotional development possible.
Orality provides the rhythms, the intonations and pitches, the very feelings that find final expression in writing. Orality thus serves as a preparation—a necessary and powerful foundation—for the construction we call literacy. Children need to hear language in order to learn language.” Barry Sanders (A is for Ox)
At LCS we provide a rich environment for the “powerful foundation—for the construction we call literacy”. Some of the things we do include: story telling (including the “Bible Story”), reading books, letting children “read” books and take them home for parents to read to them. Some of the books we read to the children have rhyming and repetition and may emphasize a certain letter. We talk about these features with the children. We ask children to “tell their story” (we write it down and read it back to them and give it to their parents to read to them), music, songs (often changing the words to engage each child’s creative verbal expression), poems, rhymes, art and other projects (we listen to and encourage their comments). We allow for long periods of uninterrupted child directed play, allowing children to engage in higher levels of cooperative play including social learning and development, conversation, role playing, creative and dramatic play.
This rich foundation in orality helps create and foster the foundation of a lifelong love and desire to learn. It provides the proper foundation for learning phonics and reading. Orality is indeed “…a necessary and powerful foundation—for the construction we call literacy.”
OUTDOOR PLAY EXAMPLES:
- Natural Materials (Sand, Water, Mud, Snow, Wood, Rocks…)
- Nature Activities
- “critters”, Animals, Plants
- Building, Woodworking
- Trike and Scooter riding
- Push and Pull toys
Woodworking: Children are given the opportunities to make their own creations using wood, cardboard and glue. Later they are given opportunities to work safely with wood, small hammers, nails and drills.
Movement exploration: Safe, free play with equipment such as balloons, balls, rackets and hockey sticks. Children are allowed to safely explore fundamental skills such as throwing and catching, dribbling, shooting, kicking and striking.
INDOOR PLAY EXAMPLES:
- Art exploration
- Art Projects
- Manipulative Activities
- Games and Puzzles
- Pipe Building
- Sensory Table
- Orality Activities (pre-reading)
- Woodworking Activities
- Dramatic Play
- Story Time
- Bible Story Time
- Enjoys the sensory experiences of seeing and feeling
- Has the opportunity to think for himself
- Has an outlet for emotional tensions and frustrations
- Enjoys manipulation through rolling, squeezing, pounding, pushing and pulling
- Enjoys making things and may name his/her products or tell stories about them
- Enjoys color and experiments with it
- Discovers interesting, innovative ideas
- Has opportunities for social experiences
- Has opportunities for creativity
- Has fun
- May enjoy handling and looking at them
- May get new ideas and develop interests in other things
- Learns to listen to stories
- May add to his previous experiences
- Increases his/her vocabulary
- Begins to take responsibility for taking care of books
- Stimulates ideas for dramatic play
- Stimulates the imagination
- Enjoys a sense of achievement
- Learns to think and reason
- Learns to solve problems
- Has the opportunity for choices
- May enjoy conversation
- Associates his experiences with pictures in puzzles
- Develops eye hand coordination
- Explores independently
- Matching and counting
- Explores colors, shapes and sizes
- Has the opportunity for using large muscles to lift, carry and stack
- Chooses sizes and shapes
- Learns to make decisions
- May enjoy conversation
- Experiments with what works and what doesn’t
- Experiments in working with others
- Begins to recognize the rights of others
- Learns to put materials away
- Enjoys handling them and looking at them
- Learns to interpret them
- May enjoy conversation
- Develops his imagination
- May understand stories more clearly
- May play out similar experiences
- Likes to play picture games
- Enjoys recognition of familiar objects
- Enjoys expanding his/her vocabulary
- Plays out home experiences
- Develops muscle coordination by “going to work”, washing dishes, dressing dolls, setting the tables, moving furniture, etc.
- Has the opportunity to use his or her imagination to help work, build, cook, set the table, serve food, wash dishes, bathe, dress, feed and care for baby dolls.
- Begins to cooperate with others
- Reveals thought and attitudes through conversation
- Role plays
- Develops self concept
- Interacts with others
- Explores careers and community
- Develops dressing skills
THROUGH ART MATERIALS A CHILD:
THROUGH BOOKS A CHILD:
THROUGH GAMES AND PUZZLES A CHILD:
THROUGH BLOCKS A CHILD:
THROUGH PICTURES A CHILD:
“Because the child’s family and home are the largest part of his/her world, he spends much of his time imitating the things he sees there. He tries on the life of people he knows…their work…their feelings…their words. Through this acting out – this dramatic play – the child is able to bring together the things he is learning and feeling about his world and himself.” Environments
THROUGH DRAMATIC PLAY A CHILD: