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South Potomac Church Preschool

4915 Crain Highway
White Plains, MD 20695

(301) 753-4075


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We have a good mix of teacher-led and play-based instruction. Many concepts are introduced at circle time and children are encouraged to follow up on those concepts during center time. Our teachers interact with the children during centers and outdoor play to facilitate guided discovery.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Magnetic letters and boards, letter puzzles, chalk and white boards, books on tape
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Unifix cubes, magnetic numbers, geoboards, magnetic shapes, counters, sorters, pattern blocks
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • Sensory table, magnets, magnifying glasses, balance
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught French for four-year-olds. Dutch for combination 3's/4's Bible is taught through story and drama. Multi-culturalism is taught during chapel and through learning the songs of other lands.

From the Director:

Distinctives of the Young 3’s Class: We use the Early Childhood Curriculum, written by Karyn Henley, published by Standard Publishing. Mrs. Henley is an experienced professional early childhood educator, who wrote “The Beginners Bible”. Mrs. Henley has done an excellent job of building developmentally appropriate skills and concepts into the activities of the curriculum so that learning is fun and occurs naturally. The curriculum integrates developmental skills and concepts into art, cooking, group games, center play, outdoor play, stories, music, and circle time activities based around a theme. Generally each theme is taught over a two week time period. Research shows that using a theme to connect activities aids in learning and memory retention as the children will be exposed to the concepts multiple times in different ways through the various activities. We are able to appeal to the interests of children with different learning styles & preferences as well as keep the learning fun. Distinctives of the Combination 3’s/4’s Class: We will follow the curriculum used by Charles County Public Schools. The curriculum will be taught in an interactive/hands-on manner. Additionally, we will integrate Bible stories into the various themes. We strive to maintain a positive and accepting environment where children are encouraged to do as much as they are developmentally capable of doing, but also avoid frustrating children with inappropriate developmental expectations. Distinctives of the Four Year Old Class: We will use High Reach Curriculum. This curriculum is based on the philosophy that children learn best through hands-on activities that address the needs of the whole child. In addition, it reflects the belief that children need a balance of child-initiated and teacher-facilitated activities each day. Themes are used to introduce information and learning takes place as children explore and manipulate real objects and events. We will integrate Bible stories into the various themes. Additionally, the children will be introduced to the French language. Our class is three, rather than 2 ½ hours long. This gives us extra time to allow for self discovery. There is a computer in the classroom for use by the children during center time.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Skills are taught using a variety of modalities to ensure that each child's learning style is addressed. Curriculum is modified to meet varying skill levels. Children are provided with options during small group activities. Play during centers is used to reinforce skills and concepts for the struggling child and used to extend the learning of the excelling child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our curriculum & philosophy is consistent with Developmentally Appropriate Practice Guidelines from the National Association of Education for Young Children, the nation’s largest organization of early childhood educators.
*We believe that children learn best in an atmosphere where they are loved, cared for, and accepted. We believe that each child grows at his or her own pace and our job is to foster that growth through providing an encouraging environment and active participation in a wide variety of activities.
*We believe that all children develop at their own pace and that many skills, such as writing and reading are developmental in nature.
*We believe that children best learn skills that are taught in meaningful context through interactive activities.
*We emphasize phonemic awareness in the area of reading readiness.
*We emphasize drawing, painting and other fine motor activities to develop pre-writing readiness.
*We believe that what children need most is love.

A Typical Day

*Circle Time: 20-35 minutes, divided into two time segments - an opening to include: the Pledge of Allegiance, name recognition, calendar and weather activities and songs, & a morning message; and a second circle following center time to include: a story or group game related to the theme, songs, or poems. A letter, color, shape, or number concept may be presented in a song, poem, game or story.
*Center Play Time: 30-40 minutes, children select one of a variety of areas to play in. These include blocks, cars & trucks, science & nature, housekeeping, doll house, sand & water table, story & puppets, puzzles & manipulatives, art and writing centers. Children gradually learn to plan what they will do and learn to engage in purposeful play with peers. The staff assists the children in play and helps the children to learn vocabulary and concepts through play.
*Small Group Activity: 20-30 minutes, the class divides into groups and the children engage in a structured activity based on the theme. Typically each theme lasts for about 2 weeks. The theme may be about nature, homes, animals, family, holidays, seasons & weather or character related themes like kindness, listening, & praising God through music. The staff selects an activity from arts & crafts, science, cooking, story, or music & movement activities from our curriculum. Each child will do one small group activity each day.
*Snack Time: 15-20 minutes Sometimes the snack is related to the theme. Sometimes snack is made by the children during a small group activity.
*Outdoor Play: 15-20 minutes, children can play in the play house, use ride-on toys, climbing toys, balls, or play in our large covered sandbox.
*Once/week chapel and international music: 15 minutes

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Each teacher sends home a monthly newsletter, as does the director. Daily activities are posted in the lobby at the end of each day. Three developmental checklist reports. Three parent/teacher conferences. Nursery rhyme journal/homework activity to be completed with parents at home.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

Children come with their parents for orientation. The children play in the classroom while the teachers talk with the parents, and then the parents join the children in the classroom. Parents are given a photo album to fill with pictures of family and friends. This is available to the distraught child in our "safe place". Parents are encouraged to remain in the lobby for 15 minutes at the beginning of school in case their child cannot be comforted. In that case, the parent may join the child in the classroom.