The preschool years are a time of great discovery and exploration for young children. Children are discovering their feelings, learning important life-long social skills, and expanding their intellectual horizons by leaps and bounds. The Secret Garden Preschool provides a safe and supportive environment where children can develop in all of those ways.
One of the most challenging areas of growth for young children is their emotional and social development. During the preschool years, there is plenty to learn about being a good friend to all. One of the primary goals of our program is to help children learn the skills of sharing, problem solving, expressing feelings, and working cooperatively. Our school helps children grow emotionally and socially by providing positive guidance and role modeling. Our goal is to teach compassion, kindness and respect for all.
The Secret Garden Preschool also regards community spirit as an important goal of the school program. Helping one another as well as other people in our community is an integral part of our teaching curriculum and philosophy. We work hard to build a community of friends who are here to learn and grow together. We make community service a part of our all school activities (food banks, luncheons, senior center visits, etc.) so that even at an early age, children can understand the value of giving to and helping others.
We believe that in order to build a strong sense of community, we need to begin with the understanding of each child as an individual. The more children learn about themselves, the more confident they will be interacting and contributing to a group. The main way that we promote confidence and positive self-esteem is to insure that every child has the chance to express him/herself in this community. Our school's low student to teacher ratios allow us to give each child the individual attention that they need on a daily basis. By doing so, we can gear each class to individual interests, abilities and learning styles.
The school is committed to a hands-on approach to learning. Children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations with all of our projects, toys and equipment. The curriculum is diverse and rich in content (art, science, music, dance, literature, cooking, math, and more) to foster social interactions, independent play, exploration and creativity. One other key element of our program involves giving children ample time to engage in child-directed play. Play is an important part of a young child's emotional, social and intellectual growth and we are here to nurture that and to take part in it whenever we can.
We have a diverse program that is rich in content, interactive, creative and fun. At The Secret Garden Preschool, we learn through dancing, singing, painting, drawing, telling stories, playing, exploring and just by being together as a community of friends and life-long learners.
Our classes are structured so that children have a variety of learning situations that provide both group and independent activities during the day. Each class consists of the following activities: free play/choice time, circle time, art activities, clean-up, snack time, outdoor play, and a goodbye circle. Each teaching team works out a schedule based on what works best for their age group.
We have a set curriculum that we follow throughout the year. The Threes Classes generally have bi-weekly themes while the Fours and Pre-K Classes have monthly units of study (e.g. ocean life, dinosaurs, human body, space, etc.). Because so many of our children stay with us for 3 to 4 years, we vary the topics each year to provide new and exciting learning experiences for our students.
Socialization and exploration is the main emphasis in the Threes classes, however, basic concepts such as letter and number recognition, colors, shapes, patterns, etc. are also important parts of our curriculum. In the Fours and Pre-K classes, we continue to work on the aforementioned basic concepts in both small groups or on an individual basis. We challenge the children to start forming their own ideas and using their knowledge about the world to shape their play and creative efforts. We have a great field trip program in the Pre-K year and usually take at least one field trip a month into our community. All of these activities are designed to help prepare a child for kindergarten.