Back to Waterloo Preschools

Lighthouse School Age Center

303 Covington Drive
Waterloo, IL 62298

(618) 939-6009


Philosophy & Approach

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Research has shown that most of the child's potential for learning is established by age 6. During these early years, children need a stimulating environment which will enable them to build their own knowledge through many and varied opportunities to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. This includes opportunities to be "little scientists", to explore and experiment, to question and guess, to fail and try again.
Through research, we also know that young children learn primarily through play. In play, children feel the freedom to try out new ideas, practice skills and imitate adult roles.
As competent teachers plan activities and direct opportunities for children to work and play together, children learn to get along with others and to feel good about themselves. These experiences affect their growth and all other learning for the rest of their lives.
We believe that "readiness" for formal schooling is based on meaningful play. Children play with important math concepts as they set a table, counting to be certain there are as many place settings as children, or discover what happens when 12 crackers are divided evenly among 6 children. Counting to 20 and recognizing numbers are also important skills, but an understanding of the concept comes through play.
One important way children play with the concepts of reading and writing is by pretending to read and write letters or make books, even though many of the marks they make may not yet resemble letters, or collections of letters may not spell words. By dictating their own stories or messages to an adult who will write them down and read them back, children learn that their words are important and can be permanently recorded. Children play with sequence by retelling favorite stories and acting them out. Reciting the alphabet and writing letters correctly are skills adults recognize, but these are only part of the process.
We believe basic care routines provide as much opportunity for meaningful learning to occur as experiences planned for circle times and learning centers. Instruction in hand washing and toileting, sensible eating and proper care of materials is as important to a well planned curriculum as learning colors, shapes and letters.
During these critical years, if a child learns to play successfully, and through play gains self-confidence and an ability to cooperate with others, that child has gained the most significant learning for life.
If a child learns to communicate thoughts and feelings in positive ways, and to accept responsibility for actions, that child has learned a lifetime skill.
If a child learns to make choices and initiate productive activities, he/she has learned to take independent action that will produce lifetime rewards.
Our objective is to provide ample opportunity for these foundations to be laid and strengthened. We believe the young child learns through play and that the preschool years should be happy ones filled with a variety of meaningful experiences.
Above all, we recognize, value, and respect the sanctity and uniqueness of the individual that is your child.
Excerpted from the preschool's website