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Why is the development of vocabulary so important?

  • Developing a rich vocabulary is essential to having good communication skills.
  • Understanding and using a wide variety of words is essential in helping a child to learn what is being taught and express the knowledge they have.
  • Vocabulary development plays a critical part in learning to read as it is one of the five building blocks of reading. (The five building blocks of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, VOCABULARY, and text comprehension).

What is Prairie Children Preschool's Core Vocabulary List?

  • Prairie Children Preschool's Core Exposure Vocabulary Lists are lists of frequently occurring words.  They are words we often use in our listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabularies.
  • Knowledge of words on these lists is important for a child to be successful in the academic setting.

What can I do at home to support vocabulary development?

  • Talk more to your babies and young children!
  • Engage in real conversations with your children, not just "business talk" such as "sit down," "come here," "stop that," or "hold still."
  • Read books! Reading is a great way to expose your children to many new words.
  • Try to keep books at home for your children to enjoy and "read" to themselves.
  • Emphasize important words like action words, descriptive words, category names, and school vocabulary such as colors, shapes and numbers.
  • Remember: Current research suggests a typical child must hear a word 35 times to learn it.  Multiple exposures to a word have a greater effect on vocabulary learning than one or two mentions of a word.
  • Have fun and enjoy your child!

Creative Curriculum

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.   

Social Emotional Learning

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!




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.


IL Standards

These are the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards used in the preschool curriculum throughout the school year.

Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards.pdf 

What can I do at home to help my child's development? Check out these activities! 





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