We have kicked off the first-ever ASYMCA Pre-K this September 2021. Seventeen 4-year-old students are enrolled with 10 of them joining us tuition-free through a Mixed Delivery Grant partnership with EVMS. Pre-K has started off the year working on building our classroom community. Our first unit was “Ready for School”. Introducing the students to the routines of our classroom while involving them in the creation of visual schedules and a classroom job board was lots of fun. They practiced tasks like lining up, washing hands, sitting, and attending to our circle-time activities. Being ready for school also means learning how to talk to our friends and our teachers and problem-solve. Everyone's anxious to see what's next.
As the year has progressed we have moved into our second unit “My Family”. Together we have explored how we, as small humans, are the same and different. We have been able to bridge this into many other facets of daily classroom learning, such as math concepts and lots of science too. Students learned that families can also be the same and different and were able to talk about their families in many classroom discussions involving the make-up of parents and siblings, food traditions, and holiday traditions. As we explored this topic students became interested in what is in our bodies. We have read many books about our BODY parts and through our music and movement activities have learned that our bodies have 206 bones! Students were able to make skeletons that incorporated how our bones are connected along with awesome fine motor work and project completion. While exploring our families we have talked about how we are part of a community and that our classroom is part of that along with the animals and things we see outside. Through this, we have been able to talk about growing plants and checking out the life cycle of caterpillars. Currently, we have caterpillars and chrysalis living in our classroom and we are anxiously awaiting their transformation into butterflies.
While working on all of these concepts we have also worked a lot on handwriting, fine motor development, and phonemic awareness (letters). Many of the students had little to no school experience prior to starting our program, so we have been slowly incorporating the things they will need to know by the time they reach kindergarten. We are working on letter recognition both in shape/form and sound. So far we have discussed letters Aa through Dd. Each time a new letter is introduced we talk about its shape, practice writing it, and what sound it makes. So many of our students had little practice making lines or curves and we have spent a lot of whole group time working on this and encouraging our friends to try new things!
Our class has become a group of little scientists too. During our first theme, we learned about what scientists do, how to ask questions, and how to conduct an experiment. We have practiced this in many ways such as bread making, playdoh making, and building a rainbow while discussing colors and density. Students also planted grass and vegetables and herbs indoors and outdoors and we did a whole lesson on asking ourselves “Will it grow?”. Students were able to connect this concept not only to our science but in our lessons about families, specifically the human body. Our class has taken an interest in measuring too and this is something we are learning to do just this week.
Beyond the cognitive development that is occurring daily in our classroom is the social, emotional, and behavioral side to the children being in school each day. Students are learning patience, communication skills, and self-regulation in a space that is safe and understanding. Our students work daily on communicating effectively with their peers and teachers which is quite a different skill than communicating with their parents at home. They have made tremendous growth just in the short time we have been in school and we cannot wait to continue to watch them progress in all areas as our program continues this year. We have 1 spot available in this class.
Posted October 22, 2021
ABOUT ARMED SERVICES YMCA:
The Armed Services YMCA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves currently serving military members and their families. In 2019, we engaged more than 250,000 participants and delivered more than 1.3 million points of service to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. Whether providing respite child care for parents in need, summer camps for kids, or assisting with emergency needs, the Armed Services YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission: Strengthening Our Military Family®. Visit our website to see how you can join us in supporting military families.