The purpose of our Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Program is to provide a secure and safe environment as well as a loving and stimulating atmosphere in which children can grow socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually through developmentally age-appropriate practices. We recognize that children learn through play, and we strive to create a climate that encourages exploration, experimentation, and creativity. Special attention is given to fostering a positive self-concept in each child through creative and structured learning opportunities. Children go on field trips so they may learn through hands-on experiences.
The goal of our Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Program is to foster the early learning experiences of each child enrolled. Emphasis for the preschool class is on socialization - learning to interact appropriately with peers, resolving conflicts, and adapting to class routines. Projects and activities planned are designed to increase on-task time, develop small and large motor skills, and introduce pre-academic concepts. The pre-kindergarten classes continue with social development and increased emphasis is placed on Kindergarten readiness. Projects and activities continue to stretch the on-task time and increase the competency with small motor activities, writing, and cutting skills. Children are introduced to following teacher directions in a group setting. The overall goal is for each child to be prepared to be self-confident and have a positive experience for their later educational years.
The Early Learning Center uses Creative Curriculum which balances both teacher-directed and child- initiated learning, with an emphasis on responding to children"s learning styles and building on their strengths and interests. It is a research-based curriculum that applies the latest theory and research on best practices in teaching and learning. The curriculum clearly defines the teacher"s vital role in connecting content, teaching, and learning for preschool children. The classrooms are defined by interest areas, which include blocks, dramatic play, toys and games (manipulatives), art, library, writing, discovery, sand & water, music & movement, as well as including cooking, computers, and the outdoors.
The Early Learning Center uses Conscious Discipline which is a comprehensive classroom management program and a social-emotional curriculum. It is based on current brain research, child development information, and developmentally appropriate practices. Conscious Discipline has been specifically designed to make changes in the lives of adults first. The adults, in turn, change the lives of children.
Conscious Discipline is a way of organizing schools and classrooms around the concept of a School Family. Each member of the family—both adult and child— learns the skills needed to successfully manage life tasks such as learning, forming relationships, communicating effectively, being sensitive to others’ needs, and getting along with others.
Conscious Discipline is specifically designed to teach the following: - Anger management - Helpfulness (pro-social skills) - Assertiveness - Impulse Control - Cooperation - Empathy - and Problem Solving. Real-life conflict and challenging situations serve as character education curriculum for the Conscious Discipline classroom. Conflict is viewed as a teaching opportunity, and adults are empowered to transform it into a valuable lesson. Character education is part of everyday life, not an activity that occurs separately.
Conscious Discipline builds self-esteem by addressing children’s universal need to be generous and contributing members of a group. Each child holds a job and is responsible for the effective running of the classroom.
Conscious Discipline allows adults to teach by example. It operates on a basis of creating physical and psychological safety for children. Research shows that the brain functions optimally in a safe, stimulating environment. This principle is at the program’s core.
St. Matthew Early Learning Center is based in a religious environment. Religion is part of our program and is integrated into the daily curriculum. The Early Learning Center children attend Mass along with the grade school students at least twice a month, as well as any time the grade school celebrates a Holy Day of Obligation or special Mass.
We believe that our program is an extension of your home and your teachings. While we provide a time for Bible stories, songs, and activities, we are not and cannot be your child"s main center for religious training. We want to aid and support the family in the cultivation of your child"s spiritual development. We teach the children about God"s love by caring for one another in a loving and respectful manner.