As a parent, you may be looking for a Christian school curriculum guide for the preschool years. Preschool is a big step for your child. It’s often the first significant time they’ve spent in a classroom setting, and it will start preparing them for the years of school to come. You need to rest assured in knowing that your child is getting the best, most nurturing educational experience possible. Here are the key elements to expect out of your preschooler’s day:
Christian School Curriculum Guide
1. Motor skills development
A preschool curriculum will always include ample development of both fine (painting, drawing, building with blocks, etc.) and gross (running, jumping, climbing, etc.) motor skills. These skills are essential for your child’s overall development and should be incorporated into every part of the school day.
2. Social skills & emotional development
Educators will carefully shepherd students through healthy and appropriate social interaction with one another. This includes learning conflict resolution, sharing, empathy, and channeling big feelings into a healthy response.
3. Music and the arts
Students will learn and participate in painting, drawing, and craft projects. They will listen to music, sing, and experience different simple instruments. They will also be exposed to the dramatic arts,and can participate in activities like dress-up and make-believe play.
4. Academic readiness
Students will be encouraged to build skills in reading, math, writing, speaking, listening, and pattern recognition. All of these skills will prepare them for a more academically intensive format in the future. Preschoolers will receive an excellent foundation for kindergarten and beyond.
Preschoolers will begin to learn self-reliance and independence by following directions, completing tasks, and engaging in independent unstructured play. Self-reliance can be taught in many facets throughout every school day.
6. The Bible
Preschoolers will receive ample, age-appropriate Bible education during the school day. They will begin to set a foundational knowledge of God’s love and compassion for them, for others, and for the world at large.
To learn more about Fredericksburg Christian Academy’s preschool, check out our preschool page. We would love to have you visit and meet our amazing teachers!
This just in: according to the latest research, Fredericksburg Christian School is delivering exactly what parents want. Barna has reported an exhaustive study of the top needs of parents when it comes to what they are looking for in a private Christian school. Number one was safety, followed by quality teachers, academic excellence, and character development. Here’s a breakdown of what the data found, and how Fredericksburg Christian School is meeting those needs with excellence.
A Safe Environment for Your Children
Barna found that “A safe environment is the most essential feature when choosing a school for parents of both current (98% essential) and prospective (94%) Christian school students. Safety can mean anything from a toxin-free building or a padded playground to bullying prevention. However, it can also include “cultural safety,” such as feeling safe to ask questions or express doubt, learning to work through differences or a general sense of belonging and respect.” Fredericksburg Christian School prides itself on making their students’ safety their top priority. From thoroughly vetted teachers and staff to a secure campus to an environment where opinions and worldviews can be heard in a safe space, FCS is leading the charge in school safety.
Quality Teachers and Philosophy of Education
Fredericksburg Christian School only hires the exceptional, caring, and highly-educated teachers. Our educators are the shining stars of our school; they are not only great at their jobs, but they truly love teaching. Only the best, most passionate educators will do. “Teachers who really care about their students” (98%) is what ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) parents are most likely to say is essential (tied with safety at 98%), followed closely by “accessible teachers,” which slightly fewer (94%) said was a necessity.”
Of course, academic excellence is at the forefront of Fredericksburg Christian School’s priorities. Our students are prepared for college and career by the finest, most thorough education available. Our students are given the tools to excel in whatever endeavor they choose. Barna research found that “Academic excellence is a top priority for parents of both current and prospective Christian school students. Nearly all current Christian school parents (95%) say it is essential. For prospective parents, that number is slightly lower, at 88 percent.”
Character Development & Spirituality
Above all else, Fredericksburg Christian School aims to produce students who love the Lord, exude a spirit of compassion, and work hard to make the world a better place. Fostering a loving knowledge of Jesus Christ is our top priority as an institution. Barna research found that this is essential to Christian school parents as well. “Current and prospective parents both give high priority to “intentionally developing children’s character” (current: 94%, prospective: 73%). But in addition, current parents especially desire spiritual development for their children. This reinforces the above findings showing how most current Christian school parents believe that character and spiritual development are among the ultimate purposes of education.”
The numbers don’t lie. Fredericksburg Christian School is exceeding the most essential needs of parents and students in our community, and we couldn’t be more proud.
The time has come: you blinked, and now your little one is ready for an early learning center. How did this happen? While you’re busy hyperventilating, let’s try to put your mind at ease by talking about what you and your child can expect from a great pre-k program:
Learning through play.
Young children primarily learn through play, so don’t expect a hard-core academic program for your little one. A great early learning center will include play-focused learning in a variety of imaginative settings. Some examples include play domestic activities such as cooking, playing house, and cleaning). Dress-up and dramatic play, like playing with puppets. Sensory play, such as a sand and water table. And of course, creative arts. These kinds of interactive activities are very important for a young child’s development and socialization.
Expect lots and lots of reading at an early learning center! Students will have ample time to “read” independently, as well as plenty of group story times as a class. One of the most important aspects of language development for young children is being read to, so this will be a big part of an early learning center’s program structure.
Large and fine motor skills development.
An early learning center should provide carefully curated learning centers for the development of both large and fine motor skills. Large motor skills can be worked on with lots of physical activity, such as a playing with balls, climbing, crawling through tunnels, and working on balance. Fine motor skills will be sharpened with activities like stringing beads, assembling puzzles, or building towers with blocks or legos.
Ample time to play outside.
Time spent outdoors and away from screens is absolutely essential for early childhood development. A great pre-k program will ensure ample time for students to play outside, both in structured and unstructured settings. Many schools are including outdoor classroom space in their programs, making the outdoors an even more critical part of the day!
Early exposure to the sciences.
Science in an early learning center looks a bit different than microscopes and laboratories. It might include planting a garden, taking care of a class pet, examining leaves and rocks, or going on an outdoor bug hunt. Science for a young child looks like exploring the natural world. A early learning center will help nurture a sense of curiosity and a desire for exploration in your little one.
What are you looking for in an early learning center for your child?
Learn more about Preschool at Fredericksburg Christian School.
When trying to decide between daycare vs. preschool for your child, only the best will do. The selection process can seem intimidating, but rest assured, it doesn’t have to be. How can you know what environment is ideal for your unique little one? If you’re debating between daycare and preschool, ask yourself a few simple questions that can help you make a choice that both you and your child can feel great about. Read more…
Early childhood education is not just a synonym for preschool or elementary school. Early childhood education involves a collection of theories, principles, and teaching strategies that ensure children are getting the very best academic foundation from the earliest age possible. Here is a quick guide to what to look for in the ideal early childhood education program.
1. Small class sizes.
Small class sizes have been proven to provide a better educational outcome for young children than larger class sizes. The maximum student to teacher ratio should be 10 to 1, but smaller is even better. When looking into a potential early childhood education program, take careful note of the class size and how many teachers, (not volunteer parents), are present. Keep in mind that a very large class, (say, 30 students), will not benefit from the addition of more adults.
2. Consistent faculty.
Children benefit tremendously from consistency. A stable, consistent faculty will create the healthiest learning environment possible for your child. Look into faculty loyalty at the learning center of your choice, and see how much turnover they experience. Long-term faculty loyalty is a great sign. High-quality programs invest in their teachers and are always working to improve work culture, leading to more consistency and less turnover.
3. Creative learning environments.
A great early childhood education program might look a bit chaotic at first glance. The classroom should be busy, active, and creative. Young children learn through play, hands-on experience, and social interaction, and the classroom should reflect this type of controlled chaos. A setting where children are lined up in desks for long periods of time is not ideal, and may even be harmful to a young child’s learning process. Look for creative structures, fresh ideas, and lots of active and even outdoor time for students.
4. Continuity through continued education.
Does your child’s program provide a consistent learning model from preschool through elementary? Will the curriculum provide a great foundation as their education continues? This is the benefit of choosing an early childhood education center that continues until elementary school and even beyond.
5. A curriculum that looks beyond academics.
In early childhood education, play is learning and learning is play. Children learn best through first hand experiences, and play is an enormous part of that. Make sure your chosen program isn’t pushing an “academics only” approach, but maximizes the way children naturally learn through socialization and carefully-curated independent play environments.
The time a student spends at school is an investment. Aside from education, there are a set of skills students gain once they’ve left the classroom. These skills will prepare them to navigate the world.
When looking for a preschool, you must consider more than just the school’s approach to curriculum and discipline. There are big differences between your average preschool and a high-quality Christian preschool, and other qualities to look for beyond the class size and great facilities.
There are many ways to help your child be kindergarten ready. They don’t need to be reading by themselves, or capable of sitting for 8 hours, to be ready for the classroom environment! However, there are some key ideas that your little one needs to understand. Working at home or letting them develop skills in a curriculum-based preschool are both viable options for helping them grasp these concepts.
Social and Language Development
A child ready for kindergarten should have some awareness that they belong to a larger community. Their sense of citizenship, and their willingness to pitch in for the good of those around them, will help them have a better transition to a classroom setting. Encourage this concept by giving your child simple household chores, like making their bed or cleaning up after themselves. Preschool can also be a perfect way to help your child socialize and learn how to behave in a structured environment.
Language skills can be developed by identifying and writing letters and sounds. Read to them every day, and try to instill a love of reading. Ask them questions about what happened in the story so they can hone their comprehension skills.
A kindergarten ready child should be able to:
- take turns
- ask for help with a difficult task
- follow two-step directions
- listen during reading time
- identify and draw most upper and lowercase letters
Talking about nutrition (fruits/vegetables), directions (up/down, over/under), and numbers (we walked 10 steps), will help your child be cognitively ready for their next stage of learning. The grocery store or garden is a wonderful place to teach your child about fresh food and healthy eating, and counting things you see throughout the day is excellent practice.
Preschool can also be a wonderful way to get past these more challenging cognitive hurdles. Preschoolers enrolled in curriculum based preschool, such as FCS, enjoy the benefits of a program that teaches reading, writing, math and motor development in fun and purposeful ways.
A kindergarten ready child should be able to:
- write the numbers 1 – 10
- sort things by color or shape
- understand opposites, like big/little or short/tall
- make patterns with color
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Time spent in front of a computer screen detracts from a child’s ability to develop fine and gross motor skills. While interacting with an iPad can be highly educational, make sure your child is spending plenty of time with crayons and paper. Let them draw, write, and color! To work on gross motor skills, like jumping and running, give them daily outdoor play. Learning to hold a pencil correctly, or balance on a beam, are more important than you may think.
A kindergarten ready child should be able to:
- stack blocks
- cut shapes with scissors
- write their name, starting each letter from the top
- run, jump, and skip
Get creative with your child, letting them paint or do crafts. Also, imaginary play should be encouraged! Let them make believe, and occasionally join them in the world they’ve created.
A kindergarten ready child should be able to:
- recognize the colors of the rainbow, or a basic crayon box
- be inventive during craft time
How do you know if your child is kindergarten ready?
As a parent, you will likely see signs of your child’s readiness for kindergarten. If they can follow simple directions, sit still, use the bathroom by themselves, recognize some letters and numbers, and get along with other children, there is a good chance kindergarten is their next step. At Fredericksburg Christian School, we take time to assess each child to make sure they are placed in an environment where they can succeed. Learn about our admissions process, or call 540-373-5355 for more information.
The first day of kindergarten is a day your child will always remember. At Fredericksburg Christian School, YOU will remember it too, because you get to experience it with them.
Even though you’ve toured the school (if you haven’t had a tour yet, call us!), that first day at kindergarten is a special one, and children and parents alike benefit from attending together. Spending the first day together affords you both the opportunity to get to know the teacher, experience the classroom, and meet other children and their parents. “We want the first day to be a positive one for them,” says Amy Rudd, kindergarten teacher, “they have an important school year ahead of them. When the children come back the next day without their parents they feel more comfortable, and their teacher is not a stranger — they also know other children.”
Assessing A Child’s Readiness for Kindergarten
Before getting to that “first day,” Fredericksburg Christian School assesses your child to make sure they are ready for Kindergarten.
“We don’t expect the children to have all the skills when they get here,” says Amy, “We just want to make sure they are developmentally ready to learn those skills.”
In this assessment the teacher will determine if your child is able sit for a period of time and if they are able to follow directions. The assessment helps us discover how they are doing with fine and gross motor skills and whether they have some letter recognition. These are a few of the things learned through this approach. Amy shares that some parents are nervous about the assessment. “We just want them to be successful and not struggle. Sometimes the best gift you can give your child is a little more time to be ready.”
Parents Sometimes Have Concerns
The kindergarten teachers are aware of the concerns parents have when putting their child in school for the first time. For some, it is the concern of releasing them into someone else’s care and knowing that they will be loved and nurtured. “We want to do everything we can to ease their concerns and make sure they know and feel they are in a safe place.”
Some parents are also concerned about how their child will behave at school. Amy’s experience tells her that most children behave very differently at school than what their parents might expect, and there is little need for that concern. “They just need to come in with a positive attitude,” said Amy.
A Bright and Loving Classroom Environment
When asked what the environment was like in her classroom, Amy stated, “We want the children to know they are loved. We learn their names very quickly, which makes them feel comfortable. Our classrooms are fun, bright and exciting. On Orientation Day we let them know about some of things they get to do throughout the year, which helps build excitement for them.”
Sometimes the children are even sent a letter from their new teacher during the summer, so when they get to school they have already established an initial positive contact.
The Value of Chapel
One thing that sets FCS apart is their desire for the students to understand and know Christ. They hold chapels that parents are invited to attend. At chapel they sing together, listen to a short and relevant message for their age level, and then one of the classes sings for the parents.
Knowing Jesus not only comes at chapel time, but it is incorporated in all subjects so the students will build a Biblical worldview.
The Teacher’s Perspective
When Amy was asked what the one thing is that she would like everyone to know she said,
“We create lessons strategically to help the students grow academically and want to ensure that they are prepared to move forward. We work on character development and want to see them grow socially and emotionally. Our greatest desire is to see them realize that Jesus loves them and that they come to know that He is with them in every aspect of their day. We want them to be little lights that shine brightly for Him!”