At My School, our environments are organized, beautiful, warm, and homelike; offering a wealth of materials and equipment designed specifically to stimulate and provoke investigation. In our explorations and studies we have recognized the importance of the environment as the “third teacher”. It is the design and use of space that encourages, communicates, and relates to children’s natural curiosity and preparedness to learn.
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.
Preschool Program (3yrs) 2.8yrs(potty trained) – 4yrs
The three/four year old 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 three year olds 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.
Preschool Program (4yrs) 4yrs – 5yrs
With continued emphasis on socialization and sensory development in the four year old 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.
Kindergarten – 1st Grade 4.5yrs – 6yrs
The Sunshine class focuses more on skill development in the primary areas of the curriculum. 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 its focal point. Teachers incorporate
a number of activities in the classroom that will 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 mathematics program is an age appropriate, developmental
program following the concepts below. Our goal is to introduce and
incorporate these concepts into everyday experiences and project work.
• number writing
• sorting & classifying
• measuring & comparing
• 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:
• properties of objects and materials
• position and motion of objects
• light, heat, electricity and magnets
• characteristics of organisms
• properties of earth materials
• personal health
The visual and musical arts are a fabric entwined in everything we do. Songs
related to projects, concepts, seasons, & interest areas are learned or written
by the children to use as a “language” representing what they are learning.
Musical instruments accompany songs. The visual arts may include wood,
wire, clay, painting or any other number of media to create objects that
assist in expressing concept development.
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 from 7:30am to 9am and 12-5:30pm. This program is a mixed age grouping with special activities and outside play. After the morning program ends at 12noon, children wash hands and enjoy a family style lunch followed by brief recess time and 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 rest (3 & 4yr olds) or recess
1:00pm: Rest Time
2:00pm – 2:45pm: Quiet Activities
(For awake children)
2:45pm: Afternoon Snack
Sunshines join Extended Care 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 before 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, andhomework 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 childres 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, the Dover Public Library, & the Children’s Museum!
Your child will: Be immersed in a full Art Studio experience both inside & outside ;Use science skills to explore a natural site & 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
7 One Week Sessions
Register for 2,3, or 5 days
Week 1: June 26th – June 30th
Week 2: Program Closed for July 4th Holiday
Week 3: July 10th – July 14th
Week 1: July 17th – July 12st
Week 1: July 24th – Aug. 4th
Week 1: Aug. 7th – Aug. 11th
Week 1: Aug. 14th – Aug. 18th
Drop-In Service Available. 24 hour call ahead required. (registered families only)
Additional Offerings and Spaces
This year, and in conjunction with our 45th anniversary we are pleased to offer a cooking studio, available to all teachers and students weekly, as well as piano lessons for those who are interested. Piano lessons are 30 minutes each. You child only needs to know their ABC’s and 123’s to get started. Schedule and fee for Piano lessons to be announced soon!