Academic Curriculum & Assessment
Our school follows the Creative Curriculum, which complies with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. We use Teaching Strategies GOLD, along with developmental checklists, and teacher observations to assess the students.
About every six weeks we introduce a new, school-wide unit of study. Units of study focus on a theme — such as Authors & Illustrators, Transportation, Health & Fitness, or Community Helpers. Our staff develop lessons, activities and school trips that help children understand these concepts. Teachers send home activities to reinforce lessons at home.
We also send home quarterly progress reports each November, February, May, and August detailing your child's progress. We also hold parent teacher conferences twice a year to discuss your child's needs and achievements.
How We Work Together
Teachers and academic supervisors work with clinical staff to develop classroom activities that help children meet their individual goals. For example, if your child is receiving speech therapy, your child’s teacher will collaborate with their speech therapist to help reinforce the skills they’re developing in one-on-one therapy sessions.
Our teachers and academic supervisors also work with you to help your child learn. Families are an essential part of our team in helping your child learn and grow. We'll keep you up to date on the lessons your child is learning at school, and we'll show you ways you can reinforce those lessons through activities at home.
How Children Learn In Preschool
Learning Through Play
When you visit your child's classroom, you'll see a room full of children playing. In preschool, children learn many basic skills and concepts through play.
For example, when children play with blocks, they're learning about shapes and ways to model the world around them. When students group pictures that are similar, they're learning about matching and classifying, which is fundamental to math skills. And when children draw pictures of family members, they're learning how to use symbols to represent ideas, which is a core principle of literacy.
Our teachers guide play and social interactions. They watch how children use materials. They listen and talk with children to develop communication skills and become aware of their actions. They help students develop the skills that are fundamental to future success in school.
Outdoor Activity & Physical Health
Unless the weather is severe — such as extreme heat or storms — our students spend some time outdoors each day. Outdoor play lets children participate in large muscle activities, which are essential for heath and well-being. Outdoor activity helps children maintain a healthy weight and facilitates learning.
Much of our outdoor learning happens on our rooftop playground. The playground includes custom equipment designed to provide sensory inputs to students who need those supports. The playground is also a great opportunity for children to practice their social skills. On the playground, students learn to take turns, work together to play games, and share.
We also take regular trips into the community. Walks to local playgrounds and parks give children the chance to investigate nature. Recognizing patterns in nature and sharpening observational skills are essential aspects of math and science.
How We Help Your Child Learn
We use daily schedules to help your child transition from one learning activity to another. Picture schedules help your child understand the day's activities and encourage independence.
Our approach to teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes:
- Intensive Teaching: Discrete trial teaching, similar to ABA
- Natural Environment Teaching: Similar to Floortime
- Independent Activity Schedules: Similar to the TEACCH Model
We teach skills based on your child's individual needs and IEP goals, and take every opportunity to teach using the things your child enjoys. We'll work with you to identify the things your child is drawn to — such as particular toys and activities — and then use those to help your child learn. We assess children in a number of areas, including language, cognition, self-help, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills.
Intensive Teaching (IT)
We practice Intensive Teaching individually or in student pairs. New skills are broken down into small tasks and pairs with other skills that are more familiar to your child. This method reduces frustration for children. We strive to make learning fun to encourage your child's desire to participate.
We use an errorless learning approach. When we teach your child a new skill, they'll be shown the correct answer right away. The teacher repeats the lesson, waiting a little longer before sharing the correct answer to give your child time to learn lessons in a way that reduces stress.
Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
NIT is a child-centered approach. Under this model, a student with ASD chose something they like to do, and the teacher works on specific skills using that activity. NIT encourages language development, social engagement, joint attention and cognitive skills.
How You Can Help Your Child Learn
Make sure your child gets enough sleep
Typically-developed preschoolers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. If your child has developmental delays, they may need more sleep — up to 10–12 hours each night.
We all have a natural sleep cycle. If your child misses the beginning their natural sleep cycle, their adrenalin may increase, which makes it harder for them to relax and fall asleep.
Televisions, phones and computer screens emit a cold light that can signal to the brain that it should stay awake. Keep lights low, and limit screen time for your child in the evening. Try to get your child to bed early, so they can get at least 10 hours of sleep. This will ensure your child is able to better concentrate and learn in school. If your child has trouble sleeping, talk with your pediatrician.
Maintain A Healthy Diet & Environment
What your child eats affects their brain's development. Foods with dyes, artificial ingredients, and high fructose corn syrup don't provide your child's brain with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to develop to its full potential.
Nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables, promote brain development. Look for foods that contain no artificial ingredients, and make sure your child drinks plenty of water. A steady diet of nutritious foods will help your child learn.
A healthy environment that is free of pollutants and secondhand smoke is also an important way to encourage your child's development. Secondhand smoke has been linked to developmental delays.
Reinforce School Lessons At Home
You can carry over skills your child is learning in school at home. Our teachers will be happy to work with you to demonstrate ways you can help your child's education continue outside of school. And our parent newsletters often include literacy and other learning activities you can do at home with your child.
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