Multiage Pre-K Class
Monday-Friday 9:00a-12:00p with the option of an 8:00a drop-off
For children who are three to five years old at the start of the school year
The Pre-K class expands on our Twos-Threes Class to include more pre-math and early literacy skills; the various curricula that emerge from the children's interests are infused with the foundational concepts that children need to be exposed to before entering Kindergarten.
The teachers begin the school year by carefully arranging the classroom with various areas of interest: dramatic play, a reading corner, a sensory table, a block building area, a drawing and writing center, and a clay table. For the first four to six weeks of school, while the children explore the classroom, the teachers are focused on getting to know the children, helping them get to know each other, and documenting their interests. We look for recurring themes in their play, and interesting questions and ideas that arise. Teachers meet weekly and discuss their documentation of the children’s interests, and begin to develop curricula from there.
We are always asking questions about the meaning and values of the work we are doing with children, and responding to the children by planning, posing questions, and presenting the children with new materials and challenges.
Please take a look at the following EXAMPLES of how we develop learning experiences:
Children in the Multiage Pre-K program work with our year-round school garden. The class participates in larger weekly garden projects with the school Naturalist as well as spends time outdoors daily. Additionally, natural materials are woven into the children’s work and play in the classroom. The garden presents a wonderful opportunity for children to interact directly with the elements - soil, water, and sunshine - to understand how these forces help plants grow and provide the food we eat. Throughout the year, children cook with the seasonal produce they harvest from the garden, sampling new flavors and textures with teachers and classmates. During cooking projects, snack time, and lunch time children place food scraps into the school compost as the class learns what materials to divert from the landfill, and instead feed to the school worms!
We also seek to bring families into our learning endeavors as much as possible. Teachers post regularly on a class blog, which parents may access at any time, to read about their children’s lives at school and post feedback and ideas. Parents are encouraged to join us at school to contribute to special projects.
Click here to see a Sample Daily Schedule.
Nature School Enrichment Program
All children in our Multiage Pre-K Class are offered the option to enroll in Nature School as part of their extended day. From 12:00pm-1:00pm, children will have a chance to eat lunch and rest prior to engaging in gardening and nature-related field trips.
Nature-based education promotes positive development of the whole child. Our grounding value is to instill in children wonderment in, and love of nature. Playing in the outdoors, planting seeds in a garden box, standing in a spring rain shower, and building with sticks are all a part of nature-based education. At Brooklyn Schoolhouse these experiences are an integral part of every child’s school day. Through the Nature School program children will have the opportunity to delve further into these experiences. We will explore natural materials outdoors in all weather while connecting with the natural world as we grow into our roles as environmental stewards.
Our afternoons will begin with projects like growing different kinds of plants and seeds, making natural plant-based dyes, and caring for school pets. These projects will grow as the children share their interests and start to ask questions. Our nature exploration will extend into science experiments, cooking with the produce we grow, learning about important naturalists, and reflecting our experiences in nature through artistic media. In our work we will cover topics ranging from composting and recycling to basic botany to geology, all with the goal of inspiring a love of and connection to the natural world.
As part of our curriculum we will also take trips to explore the natural environment beyond our school. In addition to teacher led nature walks in our community, we will also ask parents and caregivers to join us for five off-site field trips throughout the year. We plan to visit our local community garden, Battery Urban Farm, Prospect Park, and other natural spaces nearby.
For children who are two to three years old at the start of the school year
Two- and three-year-olds crave independence and are curious to explore the world around them. Our Twos-Threes Class offers a gentle introduction to the group experience by providing a nurturing, responsive environment that supports each child. The classroom, materials, and explorations are tailored to each child’s interests and developmental stage. Teachers meet weekly to discuss their observations of the children and develop curricula from there. For the teachers, the beginning of the year is devoted to getting to know the children, and establishing our routines based on the children’s rhythms and needs. For the children, this time is spent learning about their new classroom, classmates and teachers, and of course, working on the big task of separating. Our separation philosophy focuses on a gradual, child-centered, individualistic approach to separating from a parent or caregiver and attaching to a teacher or even looking forward to seeing a friend.
As the teachers get to know the themes and ideas the children are interested in, we facilitate experiences designed to harness their curiosity and expand the children’s thinking. In a day the children may build, paint, climb, dance, cook, sing, listen, and laugh. The class spends some of each school day outside in the yard exploring the natural elements, and regularly visiting and working in the year-round school garden. Children touch the soil, look for bugs, care for the plants, and harvest new foods to taste. Then, during snack and cooking projects the children learn what food scraps can be fed to the class worms as an introduction to composting. A supportive environment is at the heart of our class, and it is our goal to help children feel confident and enjoy their first school experience.
It is important to us to bring families into our learning. Teachers post regularly on a class blog, which parents may access at any time, to read about their children’s lives at school and post feedback and ideas. Parents are encouraged to join us at school to contribute to special projects.
For parents or caregivers and eight toddlers who are 18-27 months at the start of the session
Together Time creates an opportunity for families to connect while engaging with their children and becoming a part of our school community. Parents and caregivers will participate in weekly readings and discussions to develop a deeper understanding of topics ranging from setting boundaries with your toddler to the importance of play in development. During this weekly class children will work with open ended materials, engage in gross motor and sensory play while exploring a new environment with their grownups and interacting with their peers.
The goal of this program is to provide a warm and nurturing environment for children to engage in their first school experience, while creating space for families and caregivers to be active participants in their child’s lifelong learning process. Each class will take place in our calm and beautiful one room schoolhouse and outdoor school yard. Children will explore, play, and have a snack, and parents and caregivers will observe and engage in group discussions.