4-5 years old
Our Pre-K children grow and learn in a print and literacy rich environment which has been thoughtfully designed to ignite their passion for reading, writing, and learning. Our individualized approach to literacy allows children to develop their language, literacy, and writing skills with an experience designed especially for them. Literacy assumes many forms in Pre-K. Children “read” independently, listen to stories read aloud, participate in author studies, act out stories, create new endings for stories, and author their own stories. During story time, there is a special emphasis placed on communication, collaboration, and perspective taking, as well as building vocabulary, making predictions, sequencing events and drawing inferences. Our Pre-K library corners are well stocked with high quality books that reflect children’s interests. They are invitingly designed to encourage children to select books and read independently or together with a friend.

Throughout their years of schooling at Preschool of the Arts, our children have been developing phonemic awareness critical to reading and writing. In Pre-K, they have many opportunities throughout the day to practice using this developing awareness to sound out and write words. Children use their own inventive spelling to write signs to describe their artwork or block structures. They write menus and doctors prescriptions as they assume roles in our dramatic play corners. They write birthday cards and letters home.

Through the careful art of active listening, note-taking, and documentation, teachers help children identify their passions and learn more about them. Pre-K children have varied interests including fire stations, outer space, musical instruments, unicorns and the like. Teachers help children expand knowledge and understanding of their passion by utilizing an inquiry-based approach in which they ask and model probing questions. Teachers co-construct learning with children by providing them with the skills and tools they need to explore and learn more about their particular passion. This approach to learning cultivates tremendous independence and self esteem.

Our Signature Approach to StEAM
A key component of the Pre-K program is thoughtful integration of STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, into our inquiry-based and child-led approach to learning. STEAM at POTA takes on an active, hands-on, and immersive role in learning where children “test” their ideas to expand their depth and understanding of them. The scientific method comes alive in our classrooms beginning with each child’s careful observations of his surroundings, which are documented by both him and the teacher. Children regularly form hypotheses based on their observations and together with their teacher, begin planning the process of testing the validity of their hypotheses. Technology is introduced as a valuable research tool to help children learn about topics that interest them in greater depth and is always used in rotation with other learning tools such as books, art materials, writing materials, and play items.