Our goals at God's Garden are to:
- Demonstrate God's love for each child, their families, and all creation.
- Encourage independence, foster growth of healthy self-concept, and develop a sense of responsibility.
- Encourage development of empathy, cooperation, honesty, respect and altruism.
- Promote receptive and expressive language skills and encourage emergent literacy.
- Stimulate curiosity about the world.
- Promote investigation, decision-making, cooperation, and persistence.
- Promote critical thinking, problem solving, emotional regulation, and conflict resolution through critical conversations with others.
- Encourage children to dig deeper by teaching them to engage in the following: making judgments, evaluating, comparing, contrasting, critiquing, explaining, and examining.
- Strengthen motor skills and increase awareness of health and safety.
- Support growing abilities to communicate ideas through the visual arts, drama, construction, music and movement.
- Enhance imagination, spontaneity, and originality.
- Inspire lifelong love of learning and love of God.
- Provide a firm educational foundation in preparation for kindergarten and beyond.
CHILD-CENTERED, DISCOVERY BASED CURRICULUM
God’s Garden utilizes a child-centered, discovery based curriculum with projects, themes, or topics that are integrated in all learning activities. These activities are developmentally appropriate and offer children an opportunity to develop as individuals and participate in whole and small group activities directed by the teachers.
Our Program incorporates the High/Scope Preschool educational approach, which focuses on active learning through play. High/Scope provides an "open framework", and teachers can adapt activities to the special needs and conditions of their class. The central tenet of the High/Scope approach is "active learning" - the belief that children learn best through active experiences with people, materials, events, and ideas rather than through direct teaching or sequenced exercises.
Adult-child interaction is an integral component of the High/Scope Curriculum.In the High/Scope curriculum, children and adults share control and teachers follow the children’s interests.Children learn best when pursuing their own interests and goals, therefore, students are encouraged to make choices about materials and activities for much of the day. Within this environment, they explore and discover, ask and answer questions, solve problems, and interact with classmates and adults.
As a natural outcome, they engage in "Key Experiences" (High/Scope Educational Research Foundation). These key experiences are grouped into the following 10 categories and provide the basis for the God's Garden preschool skill objectives and assessment:
Language, Literacy & Reasoning
Initiative and Social Relations
The space and materials at God's Garden are carefully selected and organized to promote active learning.Supplies are frequently rotated and are arranged to allow for independent access and clean-up.The classrooms are divided into the following activity-specific core learning centers:
Christian Education is integrated into the secular themes being studied by each class. Monthly Chapel with the Pastor and Christian Education in the classroom are used to supplement and reinforce the curriculum and campus-wide themes. Examples of these themes include: Prayer, Kindness, Love, Joy, The Birth of Jesus, The Easter Story, and God's Unconditional Love.
All families want their children to be successful in school. At God’s Garden, we prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. We teach children basic academic skills including - letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. We also teach them to follow rules, make good choices, solve conflicts, and to be respectful.
At God’s Garden, children are provided with opportunities to develop social and emotional competence – which is at the root of kindergarten readiness. Without these skills, children won’t be able to navigate through the demands of school. Children learn emotional regulation, self esteem, and self confidence by building relationships with other children and adults at God’s Garden. They also learn resiliency, self-control, empathy, cooperation, taking turns, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and making friends.
Kindergarten students who are more inclined to exhibit “social competence” traits—such sharing, cooperating, or helping other kids—are more likely to attain higher education and well-paying jobs. This is supported by a 20-year retrospective study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the July 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Click Here to read the article in full.
Kindergarten Readiness also means that children are prepared to engage in higher order thinking. Higher Order Thinking involves the learning of complex judgmental skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, emotional regulation, and conflict resolution. It is beyond rote memorization and regurgitation of information.
Higher order thinking includes understanding facts, inferring from them, connecting them to other facts and concepts, categorizing them, manipulating them, putting them together in new ways, and applying them as we seek solutions to new problems. This also includes abstract concepts, schemas or mental representations, visualization, inferences, idea generation, insights, creativity, and analytical intelligence (i.e., making judgments, evaluating, comparing, contrasting, critiquing, explaining, and examining, etc.). These concepts are difficult to learn and to teach, but they are easier to learn if children are exposed to these concepts at early ages.
At God’s Garden, teachers engage children in conversations that promote higher order thinking. These conversations are integral in helping children learn to create innovative ideas and concepts that are necessary for success in school and beyond. They occur during episodes of free-choice play, small groups, large groups, circle time, and outdoor play. They begin at age 2 and continue until they complete Pre-K and move on to kindergarten.
Click Here to learn more about how to promote higher order thinking skills from "Reading Rockets".
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR KINDERGARTEN?
Being actively involved in your child’s learning is directly related to your child’s success in school. So what can you do to prepare your child for school?
Be your child’s first teacher
Encourage your child to explore
Give your child time to process information
Engage with your child
Encourage your child to find solutions on his/her own
Provide lots of opportunities for play
Talk to your child(ren) and often
Ask lots of questions
Sing to your child(ren)
Read to your child(ren) and do it often
Set and follow a consistent routine – children thrive on structure
Build a meaningful relationship with your child