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West Hill School The

1455 West Hill Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Phone:
(610) 525-7660

Website:

Philosophy & Approach

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The West Hill School has as its mission the nurturing and guidance of preschool students in a coeducational setting where creativity is valued within a carefully designed program. Through a well planned balance of play and learning, the children are able to explore and satisfy their curiosities while developing socialization skills. The West Hill experience is one in which students are encouraged to practice self-discipline and assimilate the skills of careful listening, focused observation and independent thinking. Through play, an emphasis on thoughtfulness of others fosters and provides the foundation necessary for building successful interpersonal relationships. Age appropriate activities challenge the intellect and stimulate creativity. It is our goal that each West Hill graduate will go on to kindergarten with self-confidence, curiosity, joy in discovery, pride in accomplishment and a sense of community."
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

"THE TWO DAY GREEN GROUP
Two and one half Year Olds
As you observe in the classroom, these notes may give you a
better understanding of the daily program.
Remember that our philosophy is, "Learning is fun."
FREE PLAY
The children arrive in morning. (contact us to learn about exact times and days). After hanging up their outer clothing, and "signing in", they are free to choose from many activities available. Some of the things offered are trucks, building blocks, trains, hammering toys, dolls, and housekeeping toys. The easel is always ready to create with paints, pastels or magic markers. There are books to look at, puzzles to work on and crayons for drawing. A variety of table top toys are rotated. This period gives the children an opportunity to learn social interaction, sharing and to take turns. The teacher oversees these activities within a warm, nurturing environment. Although the children may use the bathroom whenever they wish, the children are sent to the bathroom during Free Play and before the end of their school day. The children are expected to be well on their way toward successful "potty-training" before they begin the school year. Diapers and "Pull-Ups"are prohibited. Accidents do happen, so we ask that an extra set of clothes be left at school at the beginning of the year.
DANCE AND CREATIVE MOVEMENT
One day a week our Creative Movement teacher delights the children with fun and exciting ways to use their large motor skills. The children are introduced to the principals of dance and movement while developing their own natural ability to imagine and pretend.
SNACK TIME
With freshly washed hands, all the children sit at the table for juice and a snack. They help with the preparations by participating in different jobs. Informal discussions about topics such as All About Me including Family and Friends, Colors, Shapes and Textures, Seasons and Holidays, as well as Animal Life, are held at this time.
OUTSIDE PLAY
Weather permitting, all children spend the last part of the morning on the playground. Each piece of equipment is carefully teacher supervised. Dismissal begins at 11:30 a.m. from the playground.
THE THREE DAY RED GROUP
(Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
Very Young Three Year Olds
As you observe in the classroom, these notes may give you a
better understanding of the daily program.
Remember that our philosophy is, "Learning is fun."
FREE PLAY
The children arrive in the morning (please contact us for exact times). After hanging up their outer clothing, and "signing in", they are free to choose from many activities available. Some of the things offered are trucks, building blocks, trains, hammering toys, dolls, and housekeeping toys. The easel is always ready to create with paints, pastels or magic markers. There are books to look at, puzzles to work on and crayons for drawing. A variety of table top toys are rotated. This period gives the children an opportunity to learn social interaction, sharing and to take turns. The teacher oversees these activities within a warm, nurturing environment. Although the children may use the bathroom whenever they wish, the children are sent to the bathroom during Free Play and before the end of their school day. The children are expected to be well on their way toward successful "potty-training" before they begin the school year. Diapers and "pull-ups" are prohibited. Accidents do happen, so we ask that an extra set of clothes be left at school at the beginning of the year.
MUSIC
During the week, there is a special music period. This is "Rhythms Time" when the piano "talks" to them. There is a lot of opportunity for improvisation and dramatization.
CIRCLE
This is a time when the children discuss the weather and such special topics as the Seasons and Holidays, Domestic and Wild Animals, Colors, Shapes and Textures, Indians, Food Groups, Transportation and others. The children are encouraged to not only listen, but also to join in the discussions.
SNACK TIME
With freshly washed hands, all the children sit at the table for juice and a snack. They help with the preparations by participating in different jobs.
OUTSIDE PLAY
Weather permitting, all children spend the last part of the morning on the playground. Each piece of equipment is carefully teacher supervised. Dismissal begins at 11:30 a.m. from the playground.
THE BLUE GROUP
Three and Young Four Year Olds
(5 Morning Program)
As you observe in the classroom, these notes may give you a
better understanding of the daily program.
FREE PLAY
The better part of the first hour of a Blue Group morning is devoted to Free Play.(contact us to learn about exact times and days) During this time, children are given the opportunity to socialize freely, utilizing both Blue Group rooms. In the active room, large motor skill activity is encouraged through blocks, riding toys, dress ups, and the Housekeeping Corner. All give rise to exciting imaginative play. The easel is always available for painting and drawing. In the table room, children are eager to participate in optional art activities, as well as other small motor activities, such as crayons and drawings, table top manipulatives and puzzles. There is a book area for quiet reading, and a science shelf for exploration. Social skills, including taking turns, sharing, and learning to be a good friend are encouraged throughout the day.
BIG CIRCLE
After hearing the "pick up" music, the children work cooperatively to put away the toys, and then come together as a group. At this time, the children take turns participating in calendar and weather work and share personal experiences, such as haircuts and new shoes. It is a happy time for singing, finger plays, and interactive songs.
SMALL CIRCLE, ACTIVITY AND PROJECT TIME
During Small Circle, Project, and Activity times, the class is divided into two groups. Small Circle is a time to discuss information about specific topics of study. Activity time is for working on large muscle coordination through participation in active games, and using various climbing and balancing equipment. Weather permitting, we use outside playground equipment. It is also the time for directed dramatic play. Projects are related to the current unit of study. The purpose of these projects is to encourage listening, cutting, pasting and placement skills as well as practice in following directions.
SCIENCE
Each Friday, our Science specialist works with small groups as she intrigues the children with facts and displays about our natural environment. Hands-on lessons captivate her audiences. Whenever possible, the science discussions revolve around the current unit of study. Science materials are available throughout each day to encourage discovery and learning.
RHYTHMS
Our music teacher comes on Wednesday and spends an exciting time teaching songs and musical games. The class is divided into two groups and given the unique opportunity to learn listening skills by responding, with required movement, to the piano cues.
DANCE AND CREATIVE MOVEMENT
On Thursday, our Creative Movement teacher delights the children with fun and exciting ways to use their large motor skills. The children are introduced to the principals of dance and exercise, while developing their own natural ability and imagination.
OUTSIDE PLAY
Weather permitting, the entire school interacts the last part of the morning on the playground. Each piece of equipment is carefully teacher supervised. Dismissal begins at 11:30 a.m from the playground. .
OUTSIDE RESOURCES
In the Spring, we schedule field trips which relate to the units being studied at the time. Members of the community, including West Hill parents, visit and share interesting and enriching information about their careers and/or cultures.
THE YELLOW GROUP
Pre-Kindergarten
(5 Morning Program)
As you observe in the classroom, these notes may give you a
better understanding of the daily program.
In the Yellow Group, we apply the philosophy of The West Hill School as the staff aims to develop a confident, well-rounded child, who will go on to kindergarten with joy in discovery, pride in accomplishment and a sense of community. Our goals are to develop comfortable mastery of large and small muscles, and to instill a sense of wonder and an enjoyment of learning.
Free Play
The day begins with Free Play, one of the most social times of the morning. The children are free to choose from the many activities offered. In the "quiet" room, the choices include optional art activities and small motor manipulatives. There is also a Quiet Corner, for resting and looking at books. Crayons and markers are always available, as is the easel for painting. The "busy" room is geared toward large motor play, using riding toys, blocks, dress-ups and a housekeeping area.
Big Circle
After cooperatively putting away the toys and materials they have used during Free Play, all the children sit down as a group and participate in Big Circle. This is a time to sing songs, complete our calendar and weather graph and to discuss any daily business. These activities, along with Show and Tell, allow the children to feel comfortable while speaking before a group.
Language Arts
Each week, a different letter of the alphabet is introduced. Letter of the Week activities are done with half the class at a time. These small groups are often divided, yet again, into groups of six or seven, enabling children to learn to write, give the sound or sounds of and identify each letter of the alphabet in a very small group setting. On Fridays, parent volunteers prepare a Letter of the Week cooking project with the children.
Math
During this period, different math concepts, such as graphing, measuring, and patterning are taught through games and group activities. The children also practice writing numbers from 1 to 10. As is true during Language Arts, they work in very small groups.
Small Circle
Small Circle is a time to discuss information about our different units of study. The class is divided into two groups. Along with sharing information, we emphasize the development of good listening skills and the importance of learning to take turns when speaking.
Project Time
Our projects are planned handwork, which is done with either the group as a whole or divided in two. Projects relate to our current unit of study. The emphasis is on refining small motor skills and also on developing the ability to follow directions accurately. Most projects allow for some degree of individual interpretation.
Activity Time
Done in small groups, this is a time for directed large motor activity, such as walking the balance beam, playing organized games and using the indoor climbing apparatus. It is also the time for dramatic play, during which the children will perform plays, puppet shows and re-enact stories that have been read to them.
Story Time
Stories are read on a regular basis. The stories selected supplement our units of study. Discussions regularly follow the reading to reinforce the story.
Rhythms
On Mondays, the children spend time with our music (Rhythms) teacher. In a small group setting, the children fine tune listening skills by identifying a rhythm played on the piano and matching it to a particular physical movement (i.e. walking, marching, skipping). The movements become progressively more complicated throughout the year. The remainder of the Rhythms session is spent learning songs and playing musical games, both of which generally correspond to the current unit of study.
Creative Movement
On Thursdays, our Creative Movement teacher delights the children with fun and exciting ways to use their large motor skills. Working in small groups, the children are introduced to the principals of dance and movement while developing their own natural ability to imagine and pretend.
Science
On Friday, our Science specialist works with small groups as she intrigues the children with facts and displays about our natural environment. Hands-on lessons captivate her audiences. Whenever possible, the science discussions revolve around the current unit of study.
Outdoor Play
Weather permitting, we adjourn to the playground at the end of the morning. Each piece of playground equipment is carefully teacher supervised. Dismissal begins at 11:30 a.m. from the playground.
Outside Resources
Throughout the year, we take a number of field trips. We visit a pumpkin farm, the Farmer's Market and various other places in our community that relate to our topics of study, such as Eastern College's Bradstreet Observatory. Organizations such as the Humane Society, The Elmwood Park Zoo, Creative Storytelling and others supplement our curriculum. Parents and other visitors from the community visit throughout the year to share their special talents and knowledge with the children."
Excerpted from the preschool's website