LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
The F. B. Meekins curriculum is an open ended, discovery based program in which children learn through play. Our goals are to encourage discovery, exploration, problem solving, communication and socialization. Children develop an ability to work together, plan and make positive use of their time. Through play, children test ideas and experiment with the world around them. They discover cause and effect, and develop language and social skills. They develop a sense of competence as well as control over themselves and their environment. The teachers’ role at Meekins is to support and encourage children as they grow. Teachers provide a hands-on, developmentally appropriate, theme-based program in order to allow each child to grow as an individual—socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
Science and math are running themes in the preschool day. Cooking projects and sensory experiences contribute to sensory motor, perceptual and cognitive development. Classroom pets are a source of pride and enjoyment while fostering a respect for living things.
Here is what you can expect for your child through each year at Meekins:
The main focus in the 2-year-old class is on the social and emotional development of the very young child. Through a variety of activities and nurturing guidance the children are free to explore and create. Verbal skills advance, and pre-science and math concepts are introduced.
3-year-olds continue to develop positive social skills as the world opens up for them and peers become more important. Dramatic play becomes a central element of the school day. Beginning math skills and the printed word are incorporated into daily activities.
Blues and Reds Classes (Age 4 and 5)
Older preschoolers continue to develop their verbal skills through cooperative play, negotiation and problem solving. Dramatic play becomes more elaborate as a result of their increased social and community experiences. As awareness of the printed word increases, children experiment with writing and reading. At this age, the child is working toward being an independent person. He/she easily navigates his/her school and home environments. The adult can be seen more as a facilitator than as an active participant in a particular activity or event. The 4- and 5-year-olds enjoy socializing and will be seen making more sophisticated choices and friendships. This is the beginning of the school-age experience.
Weekly themes are at the center of our curriculum. Following are some of the themes that we use at Meekins. The list changes according to the interests of the children.
Family and friends
Transportation – trains, jets, cars, trucks, space vehicles
Grocery store – healthy foods
Olden days (Colonial times)
Community helpers – fire station, police
Health and safety
Farm and farm market
Nature center – insects and butterflies
Paleontologists’ research lab
Garden center, flower shop
Animals in winter
Holiday themes from different cultures represented in our school and the surrounding community
The Meekins preschool program is enriched through planned field trips that are a vital component of the preschooler's experience. Your child will start going on field trips in the M3 class. Field trips increase a child's interest in his community, and greatly add to his imagination, vocabulary and overall learning. Field trips open up the world to your child. Children learn that there are adults who do all sorts of important jobs. They learn that there are other adults besides their parents and teachers who truly care about their well being and educational experiences. They see other adults who truly enjoy being with them. Experiences are then integrated into classroom themes so that children can explore and experiment with the things they have seen and done. The use of props and materials in the classroom enhance the dramatic play through which they learn to apply new concepts. Adults engage children in discussions about the people they have met and the service they provide to the community. Field trips are not only those in which the children travel, they also involve in-house visitors, events and special displays.
Once a week, each class is visited by our music specialist who brings the world of music and movement to your preschooler. The class allows your child to enjoy and explore at his/her own pace and interest. Music/movement can be easily enjoyed by the observer or the participant. Each child brings his/her own experiences to the class and takes what is important and meaningful from the particular session.
One to two times a month, our art education teacher visits the Blues and Reds classes. Each month, the children are exposed to a different artist and a different genre. The genres that the children are exposed to are: portrait, self-portrait, still life, photography, sculpture and landscape. After the introductory lesson, the children dabble with different media using the artist and genre as a frame of reference. The culminating activity is a guided and hands-on tour of the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. In addition, art is practiced daily in each of the classes as the children paint, draw and sculpt; cut, paste and assemble; and often find new and imaginative ways to express themselves through their creations.