The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards provide the framework for instruction within the program. Prairie Children Preschool adopted the Creative Curriculum, fourth edition, which is aligned to the Illinois Standards and outlines specific learning targets for three-year-old and four- year-old children. Concepts and skills related to language arts, math, science, physical growth, health and social/emotional milestones are developed through instructional units. Children will acquire these skills through a balance of teacher-directed and child-initiated learning opportunities. Children are taught in small group, large group and individualized settings which promote independence, problem solving, cooperative learning, and self-confidence.
Progress through the curriculum is monitored in order to ensure that all children are learning and acquiring skills/concepts being taught. A checklist from the Creative Curriculum is used to gauge each child’s progress. Information from the checklists is reviewed by staff and used to guide instructional planning within the classroom.
A Report Card for each child is sent home during the Fall, Winter, and Spring. In addition, early literacy, language skills, and early numeracy skills are monitored through the Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs). This general outcome measurement for preschoolers in the area of literacy includes three tasks: alliteration (matching pictures that start with the same sound), picture naming (naming pictured objects), and rhyming (matching pictured objects that rhyme). The early numeracy indicators include: counting, quantity comparison, and number identification. Staff utilizes the information from the IGDI outcomes to design and deliver instructional activities.
Social Emotional Development
At Prairie Children Preschool, we incorporate several different social-emotional evidenced based practices in order to begin teaching children lifelong skills that will create a foundation for pro social behavior that will lead to being a good student, citizen, and worker; and many different risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying, and dropout) can be prevented or reduced when multi-year, integrated efforts develop students’ social and emotional skills.
PBIS – Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
PBIS is a school-wide decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. The underlying theme is teaching behavior expectations in the same manner as any core curriculum subject. Our preschool focuses on three behavioral expectations that are positively stated and easy to remember which are: Be Ready, Be Respectful, and Be Safe. In other words, rather than telling students what not to do, the school focuses on what the expected behaviors are within the classroom. The application of this school-wide approach will then likely show a decrease in problematic behavior for students, increase academic performance, increase safety and established a positive school culture.
Check out these handouts to learn more!
Note 1 PBIS What is PBIS.pdf
Note 2 Be Ready.pdf
Note 3 Be Respectful.pdf
Note 4 Be Safe.pdf
PATHS – Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies
This is an evidenced based preschool social emotional curriculum that specifically teaches children that feelings are okay and it explores how or why people have feelings. At Prairie Children Preschool we tend to be very thoughtful and intentional about teaching literacy, cognitive, and other skills, we need to be just as intentional about teaching social-emotional skills. The program also teaches children a problem solving method of stating their feelings when they are upset or angry and what made them angry. The calming strategy of taking a deep breath and using appropriate breaths is incorporated into the program teaching the children to use their body in the process. The program teaches children what a compliment is and how to give compliments to other people. The program utilizes animal puppets and literature to help facilitate specific learning and also incorporate roleplaying into the lessons. Parents are also involved in the program with the use of take home activities that help the children generalize the lessons at home.