Children learn so much through play. We believe that outside play is a great way to expend some energy, get some fresh air, foster good sharing skills, and learn how to navigate with peers. Each half day session includes 20-30 minutes of supervised, unstructured outside play. The full day pre-kindergarten schedule provides two opportunities for outside play, morning and afternoon. Outside play also gives the children an opportunity to develop independence. We encourage our children to get their coats from their hooks, put their hats and gloves on themselves, and to learn how to navigate buttons and zippers. Don’t forget your snow pants in the winter; outside snow play is a unanimous favorite!
Music and Art
We also provide daily opportunities to learn through creating and experiencing music and art. What child doesn’t love to sing and play instruments? Children are such eager learners and enhancing their sensory integration of information readies them to retain other types of information as well. Most of all, it is fun! The same holds true when the children create art. From finger painting to cutting with scissors, lessons about colors and shapes take on new meaning. These wonderful experiences very often gives the children an opportunity to learn another very important skill–cleaning up a big mess!
Walking to the post office, visiting a local farm, or the ice cream shop are other ways our children discover and learn. They have a chance to interact with the people they encounter in their everyday lives on a personal level while learning how letters travel through the mail, foods are grown, or their favorite ice cream is made. Through our parents we also have had visits from the weather bus, a zoo-mobile, a real fire truck and the Audubon Society(we love to see the owls) . Our teachers take these experiences and incorporate them into their lessons, viewing every experience as an opportunity to learn new things.
We support the Neighborhood Ministries and their work to provide for those less fortunate in our community. Our children and their parents have generously donated their time and resources. Having an appreciation and gratefulness for what we have and empathy for those who are less fortunate are at the foundation of developing Christian values.
Little Learners’ Lunches
Our full day program includes the Little Learners Lunch, but all children in the half day programs have the opportunity to add this hour on before or after their classes. Running from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, our little learners take turns setting up and cleaning up from lunch, sharing a blessing before eating, practicing their manners through positive reinforcement, followed by some outside play when the weather permits. Imagine your child excited to set the table or clean up after themselves! We encourage everyone to eat their healthiest items first, so it is an opportunity to explore some healthy food favorites when you make their lunches.
Graduation and Holiday Programs
Preparing for our graduation and holiday programs are a great way to incorporate many lessons and provide a wonderful venue for our little students to show off their skills to their loved ones. At Christmas time, we have a holiday program where the children prepare songs to sing, accompanied by a piano. They learn to line up and transition on and off a stage quietly and orderly. The children get really excited to see their families come to our programs. They love to lead their families in a sing along.
Graduation is always a bittersweet time at the Little Shepherd. We are so proud to see our little learners ready to take on the “Big School” as we call it. We are sad to see them go. Most of our graduates have been with us since they were three, and each one is a special part of our Little Shepherd family. After graduation, our teachers look forward to the reception to share in the celebration, take pictures, give hugs, and thank each family for sharing their blessing with us.