NURSERY, PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN
Students attend half-day or full day Nursery and Pre-K programs and attend full day for Kindergarten. Our creative curriculum is based on the belief that early childhood learning is best lived out in small, well-defined centers where children can work at their own pace and discover things in their unique way.
At All Saints, early childhood learning is a time for exploration and discovery.
Our classrooms are arranged into small, well-defined centers where children can work at their own pace, create plans for their play and learning, and follow their own interests – all in the context of learning to be part of a larger community. When children are given the freedom to experiment, to make mistakes and then to learn from those mistakes, they are developing skills that will foster a lifetime of authentic and productive learning. Working with blocks, sand or paint lays the foundation to develop important problem-solving, reading, math and science skills.
Nursery ~ The People that Make Our Community Run
After becoming comfortable in their first classroom environment, Nursery students set out to discover what lies beyond the walls of their room. As part of their milestone project, the Nursery class conducts interviews of the teachers and staff members who make our school run.
Pre-Kindergarten ~ The All Saints Post Office
For two weeks in May, the Pre-K classes transform their classroom into the All Saints Post Office. To initiate this project, Pre-K students study the various roles of postal workers in the community and visit the Hoboken Post Office on Washington Street.
Kindergarten ~ Farm Day
The People Who Make Our Community Run
Students brainstorm with their teachers and create a list of questions to ask the members of the All Saints Community. During the interview process, they begin with simple questions such as “What is your favorite color?” or “Do you have a pet?” They also ask each interviewee about his/her favorite book and listen to the book read aloud. After a few rounds of interviews, students begin to think of new and interesting questions to ask their interviewees, including “What is your favorite food?,” “Do you have a computer?,” What are your favorite cloud shapes?” and “What is your favorite healthy food?”
After the interviews are complete, the information from each interview is recorded on a summary sheet by the teacher and is compiled into a class book that lives in the classroom library. Finally, the students create special thank you cards for each person who visited.
Pre-Kindergarten ~ The All Saints Post Office
To initiate this project, Pre-K students study the various roles of postal workers in the community and visit the Hoboken Post Office on Washington Street. After learning about how a real post office works, students work to convert the dramatic play center into a working post office. They build a mailbox for receiving mail to put in an area accessible to the school community and another mailbox to be kept in the classroom. The students also make mailbags out of paper bags to transport the mail on their routes throughout the building.
To inform the community about their school-wide service operation, students make and hang signs around the school building to let customers know of times when the post office is open. Students also design their own stamps, which sell for $.10 each. When the post office is open, the Pre-K students are able to utilize the various skills they have learned throughout the year to sort and label the mail and prepare it for distribution.
Over this two-week period, all of the students assume various responsibilities in the center. They serve their customers by selling stamps, sorting mail, and delivering mail. During business hours, the Pre-K classroom is a very busy place! To add even more meaning and purpose to the project, profits from the sale of stamps are donated to a charity of the students’ choice. The class discusses different charities that could benefit from the money and then votes to choose a charity. Subsequently, they visit the charity and present the money to a worker there.
This comprehensive milestone project is an important learning experience for the students in Pre-K. It allows them to engage in a deeper and more meaningful study of their unit on Community Helpers. This project also leads to the development of important math skills, including work with money (when selling stamps) and sorting (when receiving and distributing mail). The students also learn pre-reading and writing skills when reading envelopes and making posters. Finally, this project allows the students in the Pre-K classes to develop a sense of responsibility and teaches them the importance of working cooperatively with peers to get the job done.
As part of this study, the students learn about all aspects of the farm and take various field trips to support their studies. Early in the year, the class gets a close-up look at a real farm when then travel to a pumpkin patch. On this exciting field trip, students are able to see a variety of crops and animals, enjoy a hay ride and pick their own pumpkins. As the year continues, the Kindergarten students discuss the different jobs required on the farm and the role that farms play in society. The class takes a walking trip to a local grocery store that carries a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. From this experience, students gain a better understanding of where produce is sent and sold after it leaves the farm. This provides an interesting link between farm life and the urban life with which the students are familiar.
The classroom comes alive when the dramatic play area is transformed into a farm! Students are able to engage in imaginative play using plastic farm tools, farm animals, and a variety of plastic fruits and vegetables. The doll house is replaced by a barn, complete with animals and props. The students also have the opportunity to work on a live class garden and read farm-themed books throughout the year.
In advance of Farm Day, the students conduct a more detailed study of farm animals while also honing their technology skills. Each student is assigned one animal to research using the internet, books, and other resources. Once their research is complete, each student creates a poster about his or her animal. These posters are used as information boards during Farm Day.
The year-long study culminates in Farm Day, which occurs during Week of the Young Child in the spring. The Kindergarteners act as hosts for the event and have many jobs to ensure the day runs smoothly. They create and collect tickets, stamp the hands of visitors, help care for the visiting animals, create information boards, and conduct tours for their visitors. Kindergarten students are excited to share their knowledge of farm life with their teachers and peers.