Every child deserves to be known and loved, and our small class sizes and low student/teacher ratios empower us to live this value every day. BCD Preschool is a unique learning environment where teachers can build meaningful relationships with each student, nurture their strengths, and help them meet goals through focused, individualized attention.
Preschool is all about learning how to be kind and thoughtful, be a good friend, and give back. That’s why our motto—Respect yourself. Respect others. Take responsibility for your actions.—is emphasized throughout the school, and character development is an important part of each day. Conflict resolution skills are taught on a daily basis as teachers model appropriate communication, behaviors, words, and strategies for expressing emotion.
Our classrooms and routines are structured and follow a general “flow” each day. However, our routines are flexible and maintain a balance in all that we do. We challenge our students to reach their highest potential by using research-based curriculum and differentiated teaching practices.
Our faculty is the heart and soul of BCD, and every member of our preschool teaching staff is committed and passionate about early childhood. Preschool lead teachers have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in early childhood or elementary education (or a degree in a different field and coursework in early childhood education). Preschool assistant teachers are all qualified early childhood teachers in the State of Colorado. BCD encourages professional growth by providing our faculty opportunities to engage in ongoing professional development and continuing education.
Our beautiful BCD campus is a safe and secure place for young minds to begin their educational journeys. What’s more, being part of a bigger school means our outstanding facilities are unmatched by any other preschool in the area.
BCD’s preschool program welcomes students starting at age 2 1/2 and runs through Pre-Kindergarten.
3 days until 1:00pm
3 days until 3:00pm
5 days until 1:00pm
5 days until 3:00pm
Our curriculum uses language arts and literacy as its framework. Our method of teaching incorporates best practices in education while supporting major objectives in language arts and literacy, number concepts, science, social studies, self-help skills, fine and gross motor skills, and character development.
Promoting language arts and literacy skills is an important part of BCD’s preschool program. We believe in the importance of exposing children to upper and lowercase letters, letter-sound relationships, and phonemic awareness. Beginning reading and writing skills are fostered as teachers actively engage in building children’s conceptual understanding of the printed word in relation to spoken language.
In addition, BCD’s preschool program promotes children’s beginning understanding of mathematics, numeric and science concepts. Children engage in math and science daily - using age appropriate and hands-on, experiential learning activities that connect to and support their everyday world and experiences. Furthermore, preschool children attend a special science class in our science lab every other week.
Social studies is highlighted as children discover the world in which we live in connection with their families, neighborhoods and communities. Respect for people and the world are daily focal points and problem solving, character education, and conflict resolution skills are intentionally fostered.
In addition to our strong academics, Boulder Country Day’s preschool program incorporates a “Specials” curriculum that includes instruction in world language (French and Spanish), movement, music, and library skills, science, and technology. Our specials curriculum helps to ensure that every preschool child begins to discover his/her excellence.
We believe that it is a privilege to educate your child and that your child will have the opportunity to discover his or her own excellence at Boulder Country Day.
My thoughts here are kind of boring. But, that's intentional…
Many of us often hear our children declare, “I’m bored!” As parents, we actively work to prevent boredom and fill up children’s time with activities: swim lessons, gymnastics, art classes, karate… The list goes on and on. We believe that children need to be engaged – all the time. However, new research is showing that having nothing to do can be good for our children. And, as it turns out, being bored is anything but boring. In fact, being bored actually increases our ability to think creatively.
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing many parents coming and going from their parent and teacher conferences and heard many comment on the depth in which our teachers knew their child: their strengths, challenges, and opportunities for growth.
Winter is here in full-force. Perhaps not -72 polar-vortex force… However, zippers, laces, buckles, sleeves, snow pant straps, and finger sections in gloves provide their own kind of vortex. They also provide copious opportunities for teaching, reteaching and practicing self-help skills. I often joke that we’ll spend 45 minutes getting ready for 15 minutes in the snow… But, really, it’s the truth. And, in some cases, classes will repeat this process for a second or even third recess. That’s a lot time spent on clothing navigation…
Emma Kertesz, an assistant teacher in our preschool program who teaches with Gemma Fagan, ran California International Marathon. Emma finished in 2:44:22. This is an average pace of 6:14/minute… for 26.2 miles! Emma’s accomplishment got me thinking about the importance learning “stick-to-itiveness.”
Each week I have the privilege of cooking with the children. This is always a highlight of my day and I’ve built it into my schedule. I see the preschool classes on most Mondays and the prekindergarten classes on a rotating Friday schedule. Cooking in the classroom truly is a recipe for intentional teaching and playful learning.
Of all the skills we encourage our children to develop, social intelligence may be the most essential for predicting a fulfilling, successful life. Social intelligence is the ability to effectively negotiate interpersonal interactions and complex social environments. It involves effective communication skills, the ability to read non-verbal cues into how other people are feeling and virtues such as empathy and consideration.
Children learn appropriate behaviors by emulating adults. The easiest way to help your child learn qualities such as patience, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and gentleness is to model these qualities in your day-to-day interactions with other people and with your children.
Preschoolers are social creatures, generally very interested in other and quick to notice and adopt social norms. They're becoming more able to control themselves, and more able to verbalize their feelings, opening up a host of options beyond for communicating and problem solving. The preschool years are a perfect opportunity to teach social habits and skills that will help them throughout their lifetime. If you would like to read a fascinating article that was recently in the New York Times about how work places are really just like preschool, click here.
It is completely natural for preschoolers to experience conflicts. Children this age usually want to have things go their way and yet have other children to play with. The ability to negotiate and compromise is honed through the conflicts that arise between toddlers. Be close by but do not intervene in a conflict until you feel that you absolutely need to. Even when you do intervene, make sure that instead of simply telling everyone what they should do, you help them empathize with each other and understand why they should behave in a particular way.
Some ways you can support the development of social intelligence in your child include:
Support their friendships. Honor and reinforce your child's developing friendships. Talk about them, remember them, create opportunities to play. Remember that children get aggravated with each other, just as adults do. It doesn't mean the end of a friendship, necessarily, just that they need help to work through the issues that come up.
Model respectful relating. Remember that your child will treat others as you treat her. Show your child respect, be tactful in the ways you talk to your child about how they are treating others, and help them work out difficulties when they play together.
Teach your child that people are important. Teach your child consideration for others. Model it for him early on, praise it, help him brainstorm to solve peer problems, and don't let your child intentionally or unintentionally disrespect another person.
Teach kids to express their needs and wants without attacking the other person. For instance:
"I don't like it when you push in front of me like that" instead of "You're mean!"
"I need a turn, too!" instead of "You're not letting me have the ball."
Help your child learn how to repair rifts in relationships. When we think about repairing relationships, we usually focus on apologizing. Giving children a chance to cool down first always works better and then ask them 'How can you fix it?'. Be sure to model apologies to your children and scaffold this process for them.
Remember, that teaching and modeling social skills is a process that takes time and patience. Stick to it - we promise you will see the results.
Recently we participated in a process that is commonly known as the Plan-Do-Review cycle. The High/Scope educational approach revolves around children choosing their activities and making their plan, participating in that activity before moving on to another one - the doing component - and then reviewing and evaluating their work or experience. The point of the review is to assess whether or not the child successfully followed through with their plan. Sometimes there is an end product, but a plan can be as simple as going to the block area to make a specific structure.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents”, Jane Hull
At BCD we strive to create an environment that is welcoming to all our families. In any grade, we love to invite people into our rooms to share their passions, their skills, their knowledge, and their culture. These visits are so much fun and ultimately help us create a better understanding of who we are as a community, recognizing and celebrating the cultural and linguistic diversity of our school.
During the school day, we often discuss how independent the children can be, whether changing their own water while they paint, clearing the table after lunch, setting up their own art projects, or simply putting on their snow gear.
Every few weeks we change the theme of the dramatic play area…we may or may not also change the layout of the classroom because of it. When I was in preschool (yes, I still remember it) the dramatic play space was an area that resembled a play kitchen, had some dress up clothes, and a few fancy hats. I remember having fun in that area, but it never changed. When my younger sister entered that classroom, it was still the same kitchen, with the same dress up clothes, and a bunch of hats that used to be fancy. Our classroom will most likely have 8 to 10 different themes this year, please feel free to help with an area if you are so inclined. We have already had a baby care center and a sandwich shop. Ideas that we have used in the past include an art studio, grocery store, bakery, juice, bar, farmers market, spaceship, campsite, entomology lab, submarine, and a flower shop.
Regardless of the props, the underlying beauty of a dramatic play area is still the same: It is a safe place for children to experiment with the social and emotional roles of everyday life; And,it is a place where children can be creative and use their imaginations, not confined by the structure of a teacher initiated idea or activity. The children are learning to interact with their peers and the world around them, pulling knowledge from things they have personally experienced, things they have seen in books or on TV, and conversations they have had or merely just overheard. There is often “drama,” heated phone calls, and sometimes a life or death situation…but in the end, there is always a happy ending!
Reading with a pre-K class teaches us many things. For starters, it is a lesson in patience, for everyone. At this age, we are still learning the rules of listening and speaking, and listening to a story in a large group can look very different to listening to a story in the lap of your parents. We have to learn to “hold our thoughts in our head” until we reach the appropriate time to talk, and then we have to learn when that appropriate time to talk is. We are also learning the difference between a comment and a question, not an easy feat at this age.
I could tell you what we learn about the rules of print – how the letters and words flow from left to right, and how the pages all turn in the same direction. I could explain how we begin to comprehend the concepts of beginning, middle, end and understand the meaning of words like plot, characters, and setting. I could tell you that we are working on logical thinking, problem solving, picking up on visual cues, reading character’s expressions, understanding the nuances of conversation, and even listening for tone…but really, I just want to convey that we love books, and we love to read, and we get a great deal of our community spirit from this activity each day.
While we read we are building relationships, creating connections with each other, recognizing things we have in common, as well as things that we don’t. We learn about what different people have done, where they have been, what they have experienced, and what they would like to do in the future. During longer stories we use sign language for “me too” to show that we have a connection without disrupting the flow of the story. Sometimes I may ask the children directly if they identify with the character with a quick “put your finger on your nose if you have been to New York City too.” Sometimes we have to clarify the difference between fantasy and reality. :)
So, if you have a moment and would like to share a favorite story from your own childhood, come on in…any day…any time…and we will stop what we are doing and join together for a magical moment with you and your book!
Multisensory learning is learning that involves two or more of the senses within the same activity: auditory (through their ears), visual (through their eyes), tactile (through touch), kinesthetic (through body movements). Sensory experiences are sticky, slippery, gooey, heavy, bumpy etc. Children learn best by having hands on experiences with materials so sensory materials are vital to your children's learning. Through sensory tubs like those in our 'Witch's Kitchen' the children are manipulating materials and learning to understand concepts such as more/less, full/empty, cause and effect, liquids and solids. Sensory experiences are also exciting which leads to children utilizing their language skills to express themselves and because they are often open ended activities children are able to use their own creative thinking skills to decide how they wish to use the materials. Such activities set the children on a path of discovery, working with each others to investigate and observe.
Sorting is a beginning math skill. It helps children to organize their world and differentiate properties of objects. It is also a building block to numerical concepts, which later require children to group “sets” of objects in math computation such as multiplication and division. The more complicated the sorting is, the more high-level understanding is involved. As adults, it is important to keep in perspective that what we may see as a simple activity of sorting a pile of shapes into red circles and red squares is really the beginning of a child’s mathematical discovery.
Through guided discovery, we introduced the children to ‘Loose Parts’ this week and as a stimulus used the book ‘Let’s Make Faces’. What are loose parts and why do we use loose parts with young children? Loose parts are materials that can be moved, combined, lined up, redesigned, taken apart and put back together again in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set directions enabling the children to use their imagination and creativity through open ended learning. I have included some photos of the ‘Loose Parts’ faces that the children made this week.