All of the preschool programs at HOPE focus on the main components that are critical for all preschool children. Teachers encourage personal, social and cognitive development, as well as language and physical development. Pre-reading and pre-writing skills, as well as math concepts are incorporated in a way that is age-appropriate for the children. A variety of material and teaching methods are utilized to meet the needs of various learners.
Our teachers have created monthly themes. Their lesson plans are based on these themes and lessons are created that are age-appropriate and cross-curricular for the group. All of the teachers complete assessments on the children so that we can best meet their needs. These assessments are sent home and parent conferences are scheduled as well so that we can share with you how your child is performing academically, socially and behaviorally.
All of our classes also participate in developing their faith formation through chapel time with Pastor Jenny twice a month.
*** Each of the program descriptions provides general outcomes for the age group. Please know that we make every effort to meet the developing needs of each student. Children enter preschool at various stages of development. For example, a student in the Three's class may certainly be ready for more advanced skills that may be introduced in the Four's class. On the other hand, some children in the K-prep program may still need extra attention spent on alphabet recognition. This is where the assessments play an integral part in the teachers developing their lessons and working with children in small groups and/or one on one.
Learn and Play Class (available at Mount Carmel only)
In our Learn and Play class, the children will learn and move through kinesthetic play. This class is located upstairs in our Great Room (gym) instead of the traditional classroom setting. The teacher will have free play and circle time, snack and gross motor play. During the morning, academics will be woven into the circle time and gross motor play with exposure to the ABC’s, number through 10, name recognition, colors and shapes. Social emotional development and fine arts will also be explored.
Two-year old program (available at Mount Carmel only)
In our two’s classroom, we provide an environment that is welcoming and engaging for our first-year students. Our learning centers encourage imagination with blocks, creative art, dramatic play, a science table and lots of books. During circle time, the children will engage in stories, songs and counting that will promote the development of language skills and social growth. Everyone will have the opportunity, each day, to create a unique art activity that will help the children increase their knowledge of colors and shapes, while advancing fine motor development. We will incorporate different types of media to persuade our little ones to participate in our daily art activities. Also, each day, we will have time to run, jump and play and work on our gross motor skills. If not on our wonderful outdoor playground, we can always go to our large gymnasium where we can play with things like balls, hula hoops, and even a parachute! We are aware that each child progresses at differing abilities and we work to customize your child’s experience and encourage them to love school as much as we love having them here at Hope.
Three-year old program
Thematic units are designed that are interesting, challenging, educational and fun. Math skills are taught through a “hands-on” approach in which children manipulate objects to help them count, sort, make patterns, sets and begin simple addition/subtraction skills. Pre-reading skills and concepts of print are developed through shared reading experiences. Children begin to learn more about print concepts which will help them to become successful readers and writers. Alphabet recognition, rhyming, writing their name, beginning sounds, etc. are taught as teachers develop their lesson plans. Through writing, children can dictate sentences to express their thoughts and ideas. Poetry is used as well to help them learn to read. Arts and crafts lessons continue to be intertwined through the lessons, so the children continue to develop their fine motor skills through cutting, pasting, coloring and drawing. Personal and social development continues to be of focus. Teachers model problem solving for the children and teach them how to resolve conflicts.
Four-year old program
Children in the fours and K-Prep are provided with a strong foundation to help prepare them for Kindergarten. The Common Core Standards are used as a tool to complete our lesson planning so that the children are receiving the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten. There is a strong focus on academics as well as a time for socialization and play. Language Arts and Reading Foundational Skills continue to be developed through alphabet recognition, associating names of the letters with their sounds, phonological awareness activities as well as word families, sight words, and environmental print. Students will acquire and use new vocabulary and will develop comprehension skills to lead them to a deeper level of understanding of various texts. The writing program supports the students as they recognize that thoughts and ideas can be represented in drawing and writing and that writing conveys meaning. Students will practice writing their name and will use phonetic principles to begin to write things on their own. Math skills include recognizing numerals 0-10, rote count to 10, recognizing that the last number said tells the number of objects counted, comparing groups of objects using more than, less than, or equal to, exploring addition and subtraction, comparing objects by attribute such as length or weight, and matching and sorting three dimensional objects. Social studies lessons are used to teach the development of skills and attitudes necessary to become responsible citizens and how people are alike and different. Science lessons will focus on using scientific skills and processes.
Kindergarten Prep program
The Kindergarten Prep Class seeks to expand on skills taught in the fours class and examine them in greater detail. The class is longer than the traditional fours class and meets an additional two days a week. In addition to the Language Arts skills introduced in the fours class, K-Prep will focus on identifying the author and illustrator of a story, left-to-right tracking of print and using a title and picture clues to make predictions about a story. Children will learn to identify the elements of literature including the characters, setting, problem and solution of a story. Children in K-Prep will practice sequencing and retelling of stories in a variety of ways and will compare and contrast different characters and versions of a tale. After Fall assessments, simple reading groups are introduced into the classroom using Scholastic readers. The groups meet with the teacher during center time. Instruction varies based on individual needs and readiness and focuses on specific sight words each week.
Phonetically, the K-Prep class seeks to go beyond letter/sound identification and move toward blending of words and introduction of simple word families. Stretch spelling and sight words will be introduced according to the FCPS Curriculum for Kindergarten readiness. Special focus is placed on pencil/scissor grip and encouraging as much pre-writing and writing as possible. Elements from the Handwriting Without Tears program are incorporated into K-Prep Lessons. As the year progresses, children also practice “writing around the room”, using clipboards to move around and practice writing classmate’s names, words from our Word Wall and other environmental print.
These skill sets are taught in tandem with thematic units in the K-Prep Curriculum. Many children at Hope matriculate from fours classes into Kindergarten Prep because their birthdates do not make them eligible to begin Kindergarten with FCPS. Therefore, the thematic units and author studies in K-Prep vary from the traditional fours classes.