The Pumas Class is for children ages 4-5, who are pre-kindergarten ready. This classroom allows older students to serve as leaders and younger students to be inspired by their older counter parts. As is always true children develop at their own pace and often excel in particular areas of development while needing additional time and experience to develop in others.
The Pumas class has a maximum of 20 children with 2 teachers and the assistance of auxiliary staff to assist during classroom projects.
A Day in the Pumas Class
The Pumas classroom is a celebration of learning with a healthy mixture of child-led curriculum and daily routines for 4-5 year olds. Children are encouraged and supported in exploration and research-based representation while learning to be a part of a community. Many opportunities are presented for play-based learning with projects based in the arts, sciences, math, and literacy. Children are encouraged to pursue their own interests, listen to the interests of others, and collaborate to extend learning. Every day the teachers lead and offer provocations to encourage a love of scholarship. There are field experiences off campus, gardening, food study and preparation, music and movement, and many occasions to learn and practice Spanish.
Food is a critical part of your child’s experience in the Pumas class. Children are encouraged to try all foods as they learn to develop a palate for various tastes. We also know how important proper nutrition is for your child’s educational experiences. As such, as your child is getting acclimated to the foods offered at Escuela Viva, we ask that you pack a small snack to supplement the 2 snacks and lunch we serve should you feel your child will need the additional nutritional support. Additionally, we encourage children to “listen to their bodies” and eat when they are hungry. We offer snacks and lunch at a particular time; yet children are always encouraged to seek their snacks when they feel hunger. As we learn to trust children, while offering only healthy food options, children can and do make very healthy choices for their bodies.
Guidelines for Foods To Be Brought For Snacks:
- Ensure that the snack bag is labeled with your child’s name (sharpies work best)
- Ensure that the snack bag is insulated and properly cooled if packing perishable foods
- Please be conscientious of packaged foods as packaged foods have many additives, sugars and preservatives. Additionally, packing adds to waste and we promote sustainability whenever possible.
- Please avoid high sugar snacks. Such snacks will be saved by a teacher until pick-up time
- No candy or gum
A classroom rhythm is established each year and often varies depending on the children and their developmental needs and personalities. The following are aspects of the classroom that children and parents can expect:
- Math, science and the arts opportunities
- Social and collaborative experiences
- A consistent rest/rejuvenation time
- Music and story-telling is offered
- Outside activity and Gross Motor Development
- Books and literacy experiences
- Sensory motor activities
- Material exploration
- Fine and gross motor activities (indoor)
Our Approach to Learning and Learning Standards
Curriculum. Constructivism is at the heart of The Reggio Emilia approach, and as a Reggio inspired school constructivism is evident throughout the work we do with the children. Pulling from the Education for Life philosophies we have the framework to see children as unique and individual learners, having their own set of tools for learning about themselves and the world around them. This allows us to teach the whole child.
To learn more about constructivism click here.
The four tools of maturity offer a lens into these different modalities. We connect each child’s learning styles within the Developmental Domains listed below:
Developmental Domains for Curriculum/Project Planning (Tools of Maturity)
- Social-emotional (emotional)
- Language/literacy (intellect)
- Physical development – fine/gross motor (physical)
- Problem solving (will)
Children all have different ways of learning. The four tools of maturity are found within us all in varied degrees and amounts. By working to incorporate all four tools of maturity into the students project work, teachers are able to reach more students. Finding ways to incorporate all four tools of maturity in the work we do with the children is the major way for evaluating children’s development, planning and tracking projects, as well as tracking progress and assessment.
The Project Approach. The project approach is how we work to ensure that children feel inspired by the work they do. Children’s primary task at this age is to learn through play. Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover. The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, build-connections, communicate, problem-solve and reflect (inquiry process). Teachers work to connect classroom experiences to questions prompted by the children’s natural curiosity. Using the blog, teachers will make the learning visible, allowing parents to connect what children are learning at school to experiences they have at home. The stronger the home school connection, the stronger the classroom community.
To learn more about the project approach we recommend the following on-line resources:
Educational Standards. As many of us are parents ourselves, we understand a parents strong desire to want the best educational experience possible for their child(ren). Using the project approach, teachers track the state standards for each developmental stage. During spring parent teacher conferences, and as needed, teachers use project documentation to illustrate the vast learning evident in each project as it relates to the state standards. Please be aware that we do NOT tailor our curriculum to state standards; yet work within this frame work to track each child’s learning. We ultimately believe that honoring each child’s natural curiosity and love of learning is how we best prepare your child for later more advanced educational experiences.
Parent involvement is at the crux of our classroom environment. Our most successful classrooms always include strong partnerships between parents and teachers. As always communicate directly with your child’s teachers via the blog or email address. If you do not have access to the blog with a sign in contact the director: firstname.lastname@example.org or the directors assistant: email@example.com.