The Preschool Program

Creative Free Play
This very important time is filled with social interaction: sharing of ideas, space, equipment, friends and emotions, all under the guidance of a skilled teacher. Materials available to the children include: large and small building blocks, cars, trucks, airplanes, dolls, puzzles, books, Duplos, Magnet Blocks, Snap Blocks, Magna Doodles, playdough, glue, scissors, drawing materials, etc. A children's play kitchen and dress-up clothes are available for imaginative play. "Learning trays" for sorting, matching, counting, colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet, stringing beads, opposites and rhymes, etc. are also available.

Snack and Conversation Time
Snack time is a valuable time. The children are encouraged to share ideas and experiences. Vocabulary, self expression and word concepts are all an integral part of the program. Snacks are selected from two food groups. (1) Protein: cheese, chicken, peanut butter, seeds, hardboiled eggs, AND (2) Fruits & Vegetables: applesauce, pineapple, mandarin orange, banana, strawberries, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, celery, sweet peppers.

A puppet (1 for each letter of the alphabet) experiences a special adventure portrayed in pictures on a storyboard. The letter's sound is used 40 to 60 times within the story. The children have parts to say in the story, utilizing the letter sound. Following the story (while looking at the pictures) children volunteer words that begin with that letter sound. Then, for each letter, there are creative movement activities, structured games, poems, and songs with accompanying movements. This curriculum is written by Jill Coudron.

Group Activity Time
There are two scheduled group activity times in each class. Activities rotate amongst music/movement,art, printing, games, yoga poses, science and Show & Tell. Planned group art activities coordinate with the letter (or shape or color) of the week or with the science activity. Printing for 4 and 5 year olds is the letter of the week (weeks 1 through 26) and then first and last names and phone number. Games (bingo, etc) teach colors, shapes, letter names and sounds, and rhyming of words.

Outdoor Play
Outdoor play will happen on a daily basis, weather permitting. The outdoors includes a sand play area, and a shade-roofed play kitchen complete with wash basin sink, stove top elements, and a water table in warm weather. There is also a 150 foot long tricycle route, a shade-roofed playground structure (with 2 steering wheels, telescope, slide, trapeze bar, trapeze ring set, sliding/climbing pole, climbing ladder, climbing bars, chin up bars, and a traverse climbing wall). There is also a basketball hoop, 
a "woodland playhouse", a rotating teeter totter, and an airplane teeter totter. 

Show & Tell
Your child may bring one small object that is the color, or shape, or begins with the letter of the week, or demonstrates the number of the week (container of 1-10 objects for instance). Also, your child is encouraged to wear the color of the week in their clothing. Objects will be kept in a box and are not for play at preschool. Parents will be responsible for taking these objects home. Students bring their object for Tuesday or Wednesday.

The preschool curriculum is multi-faceted in order to be interesting and challenging and meet the different learning styles of the children. Academics covering phonics, printing skills, reading skills and number skills, occur during group activity time, during circle time, and one on one with the teacher. For a description of this program see: GROUP ACTIVITY TIME, CIRCLE TIME AND READING PROGRAM.

The reading program utilizes five teaching methods simultaneously
A.Phonics (letter sounds).
B.Building a sight vocabulary (words recognized on sight, not by sounding out).
C.Language Experience Story Writing–– The child tells a story and the adult writes it down in large print using short simple sentences. Then the story is read together slowly following each word with the pointer finger. The child may draw pictures to go with the story. In reverse, labels and stories may be added to children's artwork. Parents should assist the child in reading the sentences or words printed on his/her artwork. Follow the words with your finger and read it aloud until the child chooses to "read" it aloud.
D.Basal Reading Series; "Ladybird Read With Me - Key Words Reading Scheme". This series of books begins with a book of 18 words; book two uses those 18 and adds 2; book three adds 32 new words and so it continues …
E.Reading is more than phonics and sight words. Reading is for meaning. The child also needs to obtain the meaning from context (a sense of what is happening in the story). Also, the word can be obtained from looking at the accompanying pictures. These tools are also very important to the reading process.

It is always a source of great joy to the teacher, the child, and the parent when a child reads his first book. While "sight words" play a large role in this accomplishment, it is reassuring to know that the child understands that reading progresses from left to right, top to bottom, one word at a time.

These two factors, sight words and following the reading track, are a major step. Parents can know that their child has taken one major step on the road to independent reading.

Children reading by "sight words" at an early age automatically slow reading progress while their "phonics ability" and "meaning from context ability" catches up with their sight word ability.

Parents who would like their "beginning reader" to progress further need to review letter names and letter sounds (several at a time until mastered) 2 to 3 times a day. Then, wherever possible sound out words on cereal boxes, book covers, toys, etc.

Pinewood Preschool will not take children beyond Book 4 unless they have a strong phonics ability. Phonics is the core of the Pinewood educational program. Circle time stories, songs, fingerplays, movements and games all focus on letter sounds. Pinewood encourages parents to assist their children in learning letter names and letter sounds in fun and creative ways. The review done and interest shown at home can lock the knowledge in the child's mind. This knowledge alone increases the child's self confidence and self image to the point where "school" loses its dread and fear components, freeing the child up to relax and enjoy learning.

More than ever children need this support at home. Competing computer games, movie videos, single parenting, both parents working, etc., can drain the support and encouragement necessary for learning.

Teaching tips for parents interested in helping their child learn to read.
(A) Go slowly, (only a few minutes several times a day). One letter, one vowel, one sound, or one word at a time to start.
(B) Always make it a game; FUN!
(C) Work along with him/her, take turns.
(D) Don't take over in the middle of a task he/she is doing. ("You're doing fine, but it's a hard word isn't it. I bet you'd like a break.")
(E) Let him/her know he's/she's doing well right away; "Good!", "Yes!", "That's right!".
(F) Teach toward his/her strengths; use his/her interests.
(G) Start with the toughies or new stuff while he/she is fresh.
(H) Get very simple books from the library and as you read follow the words with your finger so he/she grasps left to right, top to bottom progression of reading.
(I) Read words everywhere: road signs, groceries, cereal boxes, vehicle names, store signs, and so on.

Preschool can never take the place of learning in the home. Parents are a child's first teachers; home is a child's first learning environment. Please ask your child questions about what he/she is learning; ask what the story is about, talk about letters and their sounds, admire his/her artwork, create a special box to save some of it. Your interest and excitement about learning and reading will be contagious! Your child will love to learn!

A word of caution: If your child is not interested in practising academics (phonics, reading, printing, etc.) at home, please do not force your preschool age child. Regularly forcing learning at this age could lead to life-long negative attitudes towards learning. Play and fun stories are still the main avenues of learning for children up to five years of age. Structured learning can easily wait until kindergarten and grade school.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT: Parents are welcome to visit at any time. Parents are encouraged to reinforce and extend school learning (as explained in notes from teacher to parent). Assessments (report cards) will be provided to parents in December and May.

Pinewood Playhouse Preschool has four family gatherings each year. First is the picnic in the Jemez Mountains. This occurs the Saturday just before school starts. There are outdoor games, "garden wagon" rides, short hikes, and available barbecue. Camping over-night is an option. Second is the October visit to the "Pumpkin Patch" sponsored by "Galloping Grace Youth Ranch". It is held near the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Third is a visit to Watermelon Mountain Ranch (a no-kill animal shelter) after the fund-raiser jog-a-thon in April. WMR is located north of Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho. Fourth is the Graduation Ceremony for students going to kindergarten. It is held in the preschool outdoor play area on the evening of the last day of school. If there is inclement weather, it is held indoors.

Birthdays are celebrated with candles in a playdough cake and singing the birthday song. We provide gluten free brownies.

Parent Confidentiality:All information regarding children and families is confidential. Under no circumstances will the personal information about a child or family be discussed with anyone unless it directly affects the care of the child.

Appropriate dress:Please send your child with a sweater or jacket. Shoes or sneakers are preferred over sandals because sandals allow the pea gravel to get under the child’s foot.

Clear cut limits are set to foster the child's own ability to become self disciplined. The discipline will be clear and consistent.

The child will be encouraged to be fair, to respect property, to assume personal responsibility and responsibility for others. Discipline consists of 3 parts: (1) explain to the child what he/she is doing wrong (the unacceptable behavior), (2) explain why it is wrong (the consequences of his/her behavior), and (3) redirect his/her behavior in a positive direction apology and "let's play this way..." The child is given time to regain his/her control and then to demonstrate his/her ability to play once again in a positive manner. As necessary, there will be Time-Out, separated from the group, for pushing, hitting, etc. When time out, along with parental instruction/ discussion does not resolve a particular behavior problem in a reasonable length of time, then withdrawal of a privilege (use of a particular space, for example) may occur.