We have four classrooms grouped by age, and a large motor classroom (the STAR room). Our classrooms are filled with art created by students. Each classroom is divided into learning centers where the children may choose from a variety of activities designed to extend the child’s awareness and understanding of his/her environment and community. Click on a learning center below to find out what skills children are developing in each. The learning centers include:

STAR Room

STAR stands for Stop, Take A Deep Breath and Relax. This classroom is a safe place where children can go to calm their bodies and then get back to the business of learning, because sometimes we need more space for large body movement or sometimes we need more calming quiet space than the regular classroom can offer. The STAR room is a different kind of supportive environment where kids can take a “brain break”.

It Looks Like Play...

Each of our learning centers have been carefully crafted to “look like play,” when the children are actually developing important skills:

Art Center

Through art materials, a child:

 

  • Exercises imagination and creativity
  • Enjoys the sensory experiences of seeing and feeling
  • Has outlets for emotional tension, frustration, and excitement
  • Enjoys manipulation through rolling, squeezing, pounding, pushing, pulling, stroking
  • Experiences the process usually more than the product!
  • Experiments with color, techniques, and design
  • Learns an acceptable way to make a mess and enjoy the company of others at work nearby
  • Sees/distinguishes shapes & colors against and next to each other
  • Learns about color, shape, size, length, texture, and negative space
  • Develops small and large muscle coordination

Block Center

Through blocks, a child:

 

  • Has opportunities for using large muscles to lift, carry, and stack
  • Chooses, compares, contrasts, sizes, and shapes to reinforce mathematical skills
  • Learns to make decisions
  • Engages in conversations
  • Works with others
  • Recognizes the rights of others
  • Experiments with concepts of geometry and physics
  • Exercises creativity and imagination

Books/Reading/ Listening Center

When looking at books and listening to stories, a child:

 

  • Learns that pictures help tell stories
  • Becomes aware that there is meaning in print
  • Increases interest in learning to read
  • Enjoys good literature and illustrations
  • Increases vocabulary
  • Practices language skills
  • Learns new ideas and relates them to previous experiences
  • Will begin to recognize and read familiar words (especially own name!)
  • Exercise imagination
  • Begin to develop the understanding of the relationship between words and print, letters, and sounds
  • Learns to follow the development of thoughts and ideas in the plot of a story
In the listening center, a child:
 
  • Extends attention span
  • Increases auditory skills
  • Learns and enjoys listening to literature and music
  • Increases vocabulary
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Tracks left to right following pictures and words in books

Writing Center

In the writing center, a child:

 

  • Experiments with a variety of writing tools and materials
  • Develops small muscle and eye-hand coordination
  • Uses imagination in writing and illustrating
  • Develops literacy concepts of reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • Creates written products (letters, lists, stories, and illustrations)
  • Develops concepts of size, shape, direction, and location
  • Exercises creativity and imagination

Dramatic Play

Through dramatic play, a child learns to:

 

  • Be flexible in his/her thinking
  • Express self and ideas with words
  • Experiment with adult roles
  • Solve social problems through negotiation with peers
  • Sort and organize play things
  • Make decisions
  • Improvise and use objects in a symbolic way
  • Have an object represent something else (abstract thinking)
  • Carry out own ideas with the cooperation of others
  • Role-play—learn to understand how it feels to be someone else
  • Exercise imagination and creativity

Science Center

Through science, a child:

 

  • Follows curiosity to explore and discover the wonders of the world
  • Enjoys the sensory experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting
  • Becomes aware of responsibility for caring for earth and nature
  • Learns to care for plants and animals
  • Develops tenderness and sympathy through association with pets
  • Develops cause and effect relationships
  • Observes similarities and differences
  • Increases vocabulary

Sensory Table

Through sensory activities, a child:

 

  • Works on independent play skills
  • Uses math skills (capacity)
  • Explores the 5 senses
  • Practices life skills (pouring, scooping, transferring)
  • Builds fine motor skills
  • Exercises tactile skills
  • Develops self-control

Cozy Corner/Safe Place

When using the safe place, a child:

 

  • Is guided through calming techniques
  • Works on identifying emotions
  • Processes solutions
  • Changes their inner state from upset to composed
  • Learns self-regulation
  • Has the opportunity for time alone

Manipulatives

In the manipulatives/math center, a child:

 

  • Develops small muscle and hand-eye coordination
  • Explores spatial relationships
  • Uses creative, critical, and logical reasoning to solve problems
  • Experiences counting and number concepts
  • Develops concepts of size, shape, quantity, position, and symmetry
  • Develops concepts of like and different when sorting
  • Experiments with reproducing and creating patterns
  • Practices and learns one-to-one correspondence
  • Develops the concept of addition and subtraction

Circle/Group Center

When participating in circle time, a child:

 

  • Learns the concept of time through a routine
  • Improves listening skills
  • Has additional opportunities to socialize
  • Engages in activities that help improve coordination, rhythm, dexterity & agility
  • Participates in class meetings to problem solve and explore solutions
  • Develops awareness of their responsibilities toward others and themselves
  • Establishes trust
  • Strengthens the relationship between the teachers and the class

In order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Colorado, St. James Preschool will align with the metro area school districts and remain closed for the rest of the school year.