Oak Meadow’s Beginners program is designed to meet the developmental needs of our youngest children, ages 18 months to 3 years old.
Children develop order and routine in an engaging and well-prepared environment, designed specifically for our Beginners. This multi-year program, led by a highly trained and nurturing teacher, allows older students to enjoy stature as mentors and role models, while our younger students feel supported and gain confidence about the challenges ahead.
Our Beginners curriculum is founded on the premise that students learn by doing. The classroom design, materials and daily routine support each child’s emerging “self-regulation.”
Areas of Learning
The purpose of practical life in the Beginners program is to help the child develop fine and gross motor skills, develop independence and confidence in his/her abilities, as well as to learn to get along with others. This particular area of the Beginners’ environment is rather large as the young child is drawn to the types of activities presented. Toileting, self-dressing, grace and courtesy, setting tables, preparing food, sweeping, dish/cloth washing are only a few examples of activities children partake in. Practical life exercises aid in the growth of the child’s ability to focus visually and mentally, and also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.
The Beginners use hands-on materials for learning concrete math concepts. Children are introduced to number concepts, both quantity and symbol, explore spatial relationships such as long/short, big/small, and begin to grow an awareness of one-to-one correspondence. Finger play and songs involving math concepts are presented to the children to further support their understanding and ground these concepts in language.
Language develops at a rapid rate in the toddler years. Children learn to communicate and understand others through a variety of social situations. We work on their expressive and receptive language skills by utilizing interactions specifically designed for one-on-one and small group setting. The Language material in the Beginners program promotes listening skills and builds communication skills. Activities include books, naming objects (e.g., fruits, vegetables, animals), and beginning sound games.
In the Beginners environment children are introduced to various media, such as clay, paint, chalk, and crayons, to express creativity and to enhance fine motor skills. Language skills are further reinforced through the child’s description of the art and its personal meaning. The Beginners program provides ample opportunities to use instruments and sing songs. Children have the opportunity to move their bodies to the rhythm of music and work as a group in a social setting.
Beginners program offers children a real-world opportunity to become aware of the natural world around them. Children participate in hands-on experience with weather, plants, seashells, etc. They also have the opportunity to care for plants through seed germination to watering. Children are able to learn about their environment through the process of trial-and-error combined with observation.