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Pre-K

Pre-K is that all-important year before Kindergarten. Children at COA follow a daily schedule that is consistent and designed to meet the needs of young children. The day begins with morning greetings and quickly develops in a rhythm of learning with a purpose started through play. Each child develops at his or her own pace and is encouraged to reach whatever goal is set for them. Children leave Pre-K ready to tackle whatever challenges come their way.

One of our goals is to develop leaders. That's why COA has built into the Pre-K daily routine a 15-minute segment devoted to readiness. Although not part of the original HighScope curriculum, readiness refers to the skill sets of Literacy/Language Arts and Mathematics.

Based on Key Developmental Indicators, activities provided reflect a specific objective that is developmentally appropriate and designed to meet each child's developmental needs. Readiness is conducted before planning and, therefore, is part of a small group activity. Teachers assigned to this small group make observations and mental notes of each child's ability levels - if he or she is frustrated by a task or able to complete it quickly. The concept introduced is designed with suggestions for implementation and samples for beginning, developing or mastery levels.

Planning

In our curriculum, children plan every day. They think about what they want to do and then execute the plan. Each child
states, in gestures or words, a plan of action. When young children plan they start with INTENTION, AIM or PURPOSE.
Planning can be verbal, written, illustrated or a combination of all three.

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Because planning occurs daily, children become accustomed to making their intentions known before acting on them. This enables young children to become conscious of their capacity to shape and control their actions. In other words, their speech, gestures and drawings have meaning, which teachers and caregivers take seriously. The ability to plan develops along with a child's growing capacity to use language and form mental pictures of actions, people and materials that are not actually present.

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Work Time

Believe it or not, work time is a favorite part of any child's day. This is when they get to carry out their plan! It is often a time for play and problem solving. For 45 minutes, children get to express themselves freely, yet purposefully, and discover new ideas that arise out of play. Work time is the "doing" portion of the plan-do-review process. Plans become real as children select materials, then discover and finish what they have planned.

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This 45-minute assignment is purposeful, yet fun. In recent decades, the benefits of play have been overlooked while the ECE community attempted to sit children in seat for long periods of time and place dittos in front of their eyes. In our curriculum, work time promotes a child's innate need to explore experiment, invent, construct and pretend - in short to play. During work time, children initiate, work on, modify, complete and change their plans. Play can be solitary, on-looking, cooperative or parallel.

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Group-Time Activities

Key Developmental Indicators also are applied when creating small group-time activities. These 15-minute activities are
designed to relate to a child's world, while incorporating skill-building components.