In the preschool/pre-k classroom, children range in age from 2 years, 9 months to 5 years.
It is a mixed-age grouping – and there are many positives to this more “family style” approach. Much of the current research in early childhood supports the practice of mixed-age grouping and indicates that social development can be enhanced by experiences available in such groupings. Because there is a wide range of skills and abilities, opportunities for cooperative learning are increased. This benefits all individuals, both academically and socially. Teachers of mixed-age groups are able to give younger children more attention, while helping to foster independence in older preschoolers. A mixed-age group encourages teachers to look at children individually and plan curriculum to meet individual needs. So, no child is ever too old or too young for the group.
Preschool/pre-k children are part of the planning, the creating, and the doing in their classroom. This space belongs to them. They can create and re-create – from their own ideas. The space is organized for their inspiration and control. The large selection of materials is accessible to them, and the many learning centers arranged within the room (bocks, dramatic play, art, science, music, library, sensory tables, puzzles and toys) are stocked with interesting props and supplies – all waiting to be discovered. Children’s spontaneity and teachers’ planning come together in preschool via emergent curriculum. The ideas for the next activity ‘emerge’ from the children’s conversation, interests, needs. Small group and project work provide the backbone of the children’s and teachers’ learning experiences. Always a collaborative event accompanied by brainstorming, problem solving, and negotiating.
"My kids have been going to Little Footprints for 3 years and they have loved every minute of it! The teachers for preschool and pre-k are great and my kids and I both love them. We will all miss it next year as the kids move on to Kindergarten!" - Kathryn