Wonder and Speculation
Children learn through their interaction with peers, adults, the world around them. The My School environment & program invites children to partake in that process by offering small and large group investigations of interests such as the study of the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly, or how and why apples grow in New Hampshire. Children share what they notice, what they wonder, and speculations of what they think will happen in any number of short and/or long term “projects”.
Interest and Curiosity
Teachers often refer to this style of teaching as one of “playing catch”: Children express an interest or curiosity about a topic; teachers provoke their thinking with questions, books, images, or real objects; children respond with more questions or information; teachers, in return, provide experiences and materials to further children’s understanding by inviting and encouraging them to represent what they are learning through the arts, music, language, science and/or physical activities.
Throughout this process teachers are continually documenting what children are saying and doing through written conversations, anecdotal records, and photographs. This documentation acts as a guide that staff reviews and studies to develop curriculum plans on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Developmentally appropriate skills and concepts are continually integrated into project studies.
Children as ‘Communicators’
We see children as ‘communicators’ and, therefore, understand the importance of fostering their intellectual development through a methodical system that includes a developmental program of language and math; arts, including movement, music, dance, drawing painting, sculpturing, shadow play and puppetry; communication skills; science; and physical development. Teachers are partners in the learning process. On a weekly basis our staff meets to pursue the documentation and development of projects and children’s needs.
Family and Community Partnership
Equally important are the child’s interactions with their peers and adults, and with a family/community partnership. One of a child’s greatest learning tools will be through their social interactions at home, at school and in the world. Our open door and family partnership style program encourages parents and relatives to share ideas and skills, or come in for just a cup of tea! Family involvement includes events such as our Harvest Fest, Art Show, discussions of what projects we are working on or, perhaps, special classroom presentations.
Family Style Meals
Art is a Language for Learning
Our youngest preschool program emphasizes socialization and sensory development. Developmentally, these children are transitioning from an egocentric view of the world into a more empathetic understanding of others. Activities are presented which encourage children to interact with others in the classroom environment, school, and community. Hands-on experiences in the activity centered environment focus on sensory areas such as water, sand, play dough, blocks, and dramatic play. The children are exposed to cognitive skills in language, math, sciences through play and project work. Songs, finger plays, and movement are also a major part of this program. These activities are integrated into daily routines. Teachers spend time role modelling, observing, and taking notes all in an effort to learn more about each child. With this knowledge, teachers can then design learning activities and the environment to help scaffold children’s thinking and learning.
With continued emphasis on socialization and sensory development in this older preschool class, a stronger emphasis on mathematical and language concepts takes place. Children continue cognitive skill development through their investigations in project work. Concept development in all areas (language, math, science) is integrated through both long and short term studies of interest areas. Specific games, activities, and materials are presented at learning centers throughout the classroom to encourage children to explore. Teachers work along with the children assisting them in their investigations by offering new experiences and opportunities to find answers to their thoughts and questions. Children are encouraged through role modeling, storytelling, and dramatic play to be kind and respectful of others’ ideas and abilities.
Art & Music Connection
Developing Respectful Relationships
The Sunshine class focuses more on skill development in the primary areas of the curriculum. Through project work, children are investigating topics that they are curious about and are relevant to them. Children pose questions about a topic and, in collaboration with the teacher, investigate these topics. Children at this level may be showing pre-writing or reading skills. It is important at this stage to provide an individualized approach to literacy development. Through large & small group activities, teachers can tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of each child. Teachers are constantly observing and challenging children with questions and suggestions or offering provocations to further ideas. All our programs have specific goals and objectives that are in accordance with Developmentally Appropriate Practices.
In the classroom, children engage in a variety of activities that teach and reinforce these objectives and develop important skills for cognitive, social, and physical development. Sunshines are invited to examine, probe, and consider the many materials and tools made available. Children may then use these resources in ways that represent what they are learning.
As children enter the elementary years, their continued need for imaginative play is balanced with focused instruction time targeting the main content areas: math, literacy, science & technology, social studies & history, arts, music & movement. Curriculum is still driven by children’s interests; however, grade level skills are introduced at appropriate times throughout the school year. There is a continued focus on children’s social/emotional growth with equal emphasis on interpersonal and intrapersonal communication, conflict resolution, empathy, and citizenship. Through open-ended, in-depth explorations of relevant topics, critical thinking skills are developed. The Reggio Approach, when applied to the elementary grades, creates an environment which strengthens children’s intrinsic motivation and creative thinking abilities, both essential for developing children’s capabilities and confidence. Our commitment to individualized instruction nurtures a lifelong love for learning.
Children are now representational and need specific cognitive tools to help them express what they are learning. Our language program covers oral, written, listening and reading skill development with phonemic awareness as it’s focal point. Teachers incorporate activities to assist in whole language development such as:
- group and individual language experience stories
- daily writing time in journals
- silent and oral reading periods
- shared reading
- games and materials teaching specific concepts and skills
- research projects
My School’s approach to mathematics is age appropriate and developmental based on the “Mathematics Their Way” program. Our goal is to introduce and incorporate the following concepts into everyday experiences and project work:
- number writing & numeracy
- sorting & classifying
- data collection & interpreting
- place value (money included)
- adding & subtracting
- division & multiplication (fractions)
Our science program involves investigations and research related to our project work. In order for children to investigate and comprehend their complex world, we have attempted to organize and group our skill/concept learning into small units. Major concepts studied will include:
- simple machines
- light, heat, electricity and magnets
- characteristics of organisms & the life cycle
- properties of earth materials
- personal health
The visual, dramatic and musical arts are a fabric entwined in everything we do. Songs related to projects, concepts, seasons, or interest areas are learned or created by the children and used as a “language” representing what they are learning. Musical instruments accompany songs. The visual arts may include wood, wire, clay, painting or any other media to create objects that assist in expressing concept development.
We are an approved non-public school by the NH Department of Education. We follow NAEYC’s recommendations for developmentally appropriate practices with regard to facilitating children’s learning.
Our journey of learning is ongoing and involves readings, conferences, workshops, and collaborative discussions and presentations. While studying at the Reggio Emilia Inspired Institute in St. Louis, Mo. in 2002, members of our staff speculated about the possibility of opening our own Atelier or Art Studio. Each school in Reggio Emilia, Italy has their own Art Studio where children spend time working on short and long term projects related to their class work or past experiences.
Art is seen as a vital language for expressing one’s knowledge, feelings, and current understanding. It gives us a “snapshot” of where children are in the learning process. We were inspired by this idea of art as one of The Hundred Languages of children. It lead us to a yearlong, intensive study of the possibilities for us committing to using art as an educational tool.
In 2003 My School established the Art Studio, centrally located in the heart of the school. Classes visit the studio on a regular basis with scheduled studies of art techniques and materials including line- still life sketching, pastels, chalk; sculpturing- recycled materials, clay, wire; painting- watercolor, tempera, acrylic; color mixing- warm & cool colors, primary & secondary colors. This environment acts as a third teacher by offering a wealth of materials and equipment for children to investigate and explore. We believe that this exposure offers children endless ways to communicate their thoughts and ideas.
Literature related materials are shared with children exposing them to famous artists and their works. Prints, sculptures, and clay works are displayed to reinforce a particular artist’s work or type of work we might be studying. The artillerist or art studio teacher consults and works with classroom teachers discussing project work on a regular basis. Art Studio visits compliment the work that is being studied in each classroom’s mini-atelier or art area.
Children’s works are displayed on shelves and bulletin areas as a way of showing respect for their work. A collection of children’s compositions are saved and displayed at our annual Art Show in the spring. We invite parents, friends, and relatives to share their interests and talents with us.
My School provides a quality extended day program for its students in the morning from 7:30am to 9am and in the afternoon from 12-5:30pm. This program is a mixed age grouping with special activities and outside play. After the morning preschool & pre-K program ends at 12noon, children wash hands and enjoy a family style lunch followed by a rest period. Children rest quietly on mats and, if not sleeping after a half hour, may have a small toy or book for the remainder of rest time. (Rest time is required by state licensing for any child in care longer than 5 hours.) After rest time, children who are awake put their belongings away and are provided quiet activities until it’s time to wash hands for afternoon snack.
Our afternoon program includes a variety of activities for children to choose from. It is consistent with our morning program but with a more relaxed schedule. Various topics and projects are explored and includes activities such as art, science experiments, sensory activities, and creative dramatics. Documentation will inform you about activities and projects children are working on.
12:30pm: Clean Up
Wash hands, and get ready for lunch (preschool & pre-K)
1:00pm: Rest Time
2:00pm – 2:45pm: Quiet Activities
(as children wake)
2:45pm: Afternoon Snack
K/Grade 1 join Extended Day at 3pm
3:30pm – 4:30pm: Recess/Welcome After School Friends
4:30pm – 5:15: Activity Time
5:30: School Closes
All children must be picked up by this time
After School (5-8yrs)
Our After School Program takes place each day 3:30-5:30. We are a stop on the Dover Public School bus route. Children arrive to outdoor play time. Our spacious playground has much to offer! There is time allotted for snack, active play, quiet time, and homework time (if requested by parent). In addition to outside play, children who attend after school have access to the Art Studio and various open-ended activities within the classroom.
ART/NATURE SUMMER PROGRAM
serving children 2.8yrs – 8yrs
My School offers a mixed age Art & Nature summer program each summer. All activities are developmentally appropriate,
hands-on, child-focused, and FUN! Children will love exploring nature, having picnic lunches in the sunshine, cooling off in our air-conditioned Art Studio, growing vegetables in our garden, and even walking downtown to watch the Cochecho Arts Festival-Children’s Series performances, to the Dover Public Library, or to the Children’s Museum!
Your child will: Be immersed in a full Art Studio experience both inside & outside ;Use science skills to explore nature & create art from found materials; Write and recite poetry; Engage in finger plays, puppet shows & other dramatic arts; Plant, care for, & harvest our garden; Take walking trips to the Children’s Museum, parks, library, & Cocheco Arts Festival summer children series
8 One Week Sessions
Register for 2, 3, or 5 days (2 weeks Minimum)
Week 1: June 25th – June 29th
Week 2: July 2nd – July 6th (Closed Wednesday for July 4th Holiday)
Week 3: July 9th – July 13th
Week 4: July 16th – July 20th
Week 5: July 23rd – July 27th
Week 6: July 30th – Aug. 3rd
Week 7: Aug. 6th – Aug. 10th
Week 8: Aug. 13th – Aug. 17th
Drop-In Service Available, 24 hour call ahead required (registered families only)