Our preschool and pre-k classes serve children ages three through five. In this environment, we individually assess each student and then have him/her work in the appropriate developmental group, building on what the child already knows and helping him/her move to the next level. In our combination classes (for ages 3/4/5 and available at both the Longview and Toutle sites), children have the opportunity to observe leaders and become leaders themselves, a goal we have for all of our students as they go through our programs. To register for a preschool/pre-k combo class, children must have already turned 3 or will be turning 3, prior to August 31st of the enrolling school year. To register for our pre-kindergarten class, children must have already turned 4 or will be turning 4, prior to August 31st of the enrolling school year. To register for our preschool class, children must have already turned 3 or will be turning 3, prior to August 31st of the enrolling school year AND be returning to a pre-k class the following year. Curriculum at Smart Start Early Learning Center is characterized by a theme-based program developed from the Washington State Early Learning Development Guidelines1. Based on classroom observations, we then place children in appropriate developmental groups to best serve their individual needs. Our priority focus on literacy allows us to uphold our literacy-based center criteria. We strive to practice Emergent Curriculum2 so as to create a learning environment representative of each child’s personal interests and individual Multiple Intelligence3 learning styles. We implement Zoo-Phonics4 along with DLM5 as a starting point to our classroom’s themes and ideas, but we are not limited to using only the leading early childhood learning curriculums, as we do not want to promote “canned” early learning curriculum in our program. Your child is in the driver’s seat, determining the direction we take. Their ideas, interests, and goals are always in the forefront as we create a curriculum that best fits individual needs and builds strong social, emotional, and academic foundations.
1.Washington State Early Learning Development Guidelines: A research-based resource that focuses on the early years (birth-3rd grade). Considerations in compiling Washington State Early Learning Development Guidelines include but are not limited to: early learning standards from other states; Head Start and ECEAP standards; and our state’s academic learning standards for grades K-3 in all subject areas, including the newly adopted common core standards for English Language Arts and for Mathematics.
2.Emergent Curriculum: A way of planning curriculum based on the student’s interests and passions, as the teacher fits those into that individual child’s goals. To plan an emergent curriculum requires observation, documentation, creative brainstorming, flexibility, and patience.
3.Multiple Intelligences: Nine different styles of processing and learning information. These learning styles include: Mathematical, Linguistic, Naturalistic, Bodily/Kinetic, Musical, Spatial, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Spiritual.
4Zoo-phonics: Literacy-based curriculum that uses bodily/kinetic (movement) learning.
5.DLM: Theme-based curriculum, using many different learning styles and focusing on literacy and math.