about the program:
Meet our Director Beth Zechman,
and her family: Aaron, Maya, Macie and Madelyn
Beth graduated from Elizabethtown College with a degree
in Elementary Education. She has been the director of
Graceful Beginnings Pre-K since 2004.
Philosophy of the Program
Graceful Beginnings Pre-Kindergarten is a church-based preschool for children ages 3-5 who are planning to enter kindergarten. This school seeks to prepare children to begin elementary school by advancing skills in the areas of social and interpersonal skills, self-help skills and independence, academics, spiritual life, learning readiness, language, aesthetics, and motor development. We believe that all children, especially those of the preschool age, learn best through experiencing and manipulating materials, so our goal is a child-centered, hands-on curriculum. Students will be actively engaged in activities to teach letters, numbers, colors, shapes, basic reading skills, and name recognition through the use of centers and manipulatives.
Each week, we will focus our learning around a specific theme, usually one that integrates science, social studies, or the Bible. Within this, students will have opportunities to learn math and basic reading skills. Graceful Beginnings will use a “Plan-Do-Review” system, where students will be responsible for discussing and setting forth plans for their center and play time, engaging in those activities that they choose, and reviewing what was learned and discovered during that time. This keeps students accountable for their choices, which we feel is vital.
What we expect of parents…
Get/remain involved in your child’s development in the classroom and at home
Meet and develop relationships with teachers and maintain contact with them about your child
Trust that we are providing the education we feel is best for your child
Consistency in your child’s attendance
Provide a healthy snack for both classes about every other month
What you can expect from us…
The most attention and the best education we can provide for your child
Feedback about your child’s growth and progress
An environment where your child will interact with other students, learn more about him/herself, and begin to understand what it means to be a student
A predictable schedule each day that includes most or all of the following: morning circle, math and literacy centers, music, crafts, snack, physical activity, and journal time.
Goals and Objectives of Graceful Beginnings Curriculum
Our vision is to “build solid foundations” for children as they enter their educational career that will last, at least, for the next 13 years! We want children to learn letters, numbers, shapes, and how to color inside the lines, but we also want them to have a desire for learning, enjoy school, get along with others, and be kids! Our philosophy is that children learn best when engaging all of their senses, so we do our best to teach by having the children watch/see, hear, move, and touch. If we are learning the letter Ss, rather than complete a worksheet, we will skip while singing words that begin with the letter Ss. We will slither like snakes while saying the /s/ sound. We will write the letter S in sand. All of these activities teach the letter Ss while keeping the kids moving, allowing them to be creative, and using multisensory (more than one sense) strategies.
We also use a variety of group strategies to reinforce concepts, so children will learn in a large group environment (circle time, story time, shared reading) as well as small groups or individually (centers, math games, kidwriting, etc). While new concepts are taught by a teacher, many of our centers and games are child-directed, so children will be exploring and learning on their own or with a buddy.
Listed are some of the goals that we want children to reach before they enter kindergarten. While all children develop at different rates, we will do our best to facilitate learning in each child. Do not be alarmed if you see less progress in your child than in others; many of the skills focused on at this age are very much developmental, so your child may not be physically or mentally ready for a particular skill.
Social and Interpersonal Skills
Students will develop good relationships with peers and teachers by sharing, using kind words, and working together.
Students will focus more on others by helping teachers and peers and displaying caring attitudes.
Self-Help Skills and Independence
Students will gain independence by learning to complete tasks independently and help others.
Students will make choices about how to spend their time and explain why.
Students will participate in the passing out, collecting, and organizing of materials.
Students will develop and implement problem-solving skills.
o Students will identify and write most letters of the alphabet and say their sounds.
o Students will become familiar with a wide range of books.
o Students will recognize, write, and spell their names.
o Students will recognize up to 15 words, including names.
o Students will participate in kidwriting, where they will begin to learn the mechanics of writing (left to right, top to bottom, spaces between words, punctuation, etc) and listen for sounds in words.
o Students will identify shapes and numbers and write or draw them.
o Students will count to 30.
o Students will engage in activities that involve collecting, building, counting, comparing, and sorting.
o Students will learn the meanings of position words such as under, over, and behind.
o Students will complete patterns with two pictures (AB and AABB) and three pictures (ABC)
o Students will engage in activities based around a theme for each week. Students will learn about themselves, their families, and their friends, as well as their senses and bodies.
Students will learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit through Bible lessons and music.
Students will pray before snack, thanking God for their food and other blessings.
Students will follow directions, learn to work cooperatively and independently, develop an attention span, develop self-control, and stay on a task until it is completed.
Students will enjoy school, have fun, and develop a desire to learn new things.
Students will verbally communicate with teachers, parents, and peers.
Students will increase their vocabularies.
Students will sing songs and recite nursery rhymes, poems, and fingerplays in order to improve speech, fluency, and vocabulary.
Students will use a variety of materials (markers, paint, crayons, etc.) to create original work.
Students will participate in music activities, such as singing, playing instruments, or doing finger-plays.
Students will participate in dramatic play activities.
Students will respond to music through physical movement.
Students will improve gross motor skills such as hopping on one foot, running, climbing, swinging, and ball handling.
Students will improve fine motor skills such as writing, cutting, and pasting.
Ways we accomplish those goals…
Letter of the week—recognizing and naming the letter, producing its sound, writing it
Shape of the week/Number of the week—recognizing and naming the shape or number and writing or drawing it
Calendar time—counting, number recognition, patterns, reading left to right
Nursery Rhyme of the month—rhymes, speech and language, letters, prereading skills, art, music…(I could go on and on about how much can be taught through nursery rhymes!)
Journals/Kidwriting—learning to draw “parts” of things (Ex.—a person has a head, body, arms, legs, face, etc.), drawing pictures, using a variety of colors, drawing the setting and characters, listening for sounds in words, spelling words by listening for sounds and matching letters to those sounds.
Crafts—expressing ourselves, learning to use art supplies such as markers, paints, crayons, glue sticks, glue bottles, scissors, and glitter.
Games—learning all of our skills and concepts while moving and getting our whole bodies involved in the process!
And many, many more ways! Everything we do has a PURPOSE!