ANN AND NATE LEVINE ACADEMY EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER CURRICULUM GUIDE
CURRICULUM The early childhood program at Levine Academy celebrates the uniqueness of every child. The learning process is emphasized through carefully planned learning centers and interest areas that invite children to make choices, to explore, to create, and to develop a life-long love of learning. The comprehensive and developmentally appropriate curriculum is designed to promote each child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth. Small class-sizes enable the faculty to support and facilitate individualized attention and the ability to adapt curriculum to fit the needs of the students. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT In order to facilitate cognitive development, emphasis is placed on developing self-motivation and active investigation through questioning, exploring and observing, as well as through thinking and problem-solving. Children are immersed in classrooms complete with rich literacy activities and materials: books, environment print, and phonetic and whole language programs. Special weekly classes such as Jewish studies, Hebrew language, gym, library, music, and social skills are included to stimulate cognitive development and round-out the curriculum. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Socialization, the process by which children learn the values and behaviors accepted by society, is crucial to the social/emotional development of a child. Whether it be through organized activities or self-initiated play, the curriculum guides students on a path of growing independence, self- confidence, and responsible behavior. Children are given the tools needed to work independently, to work cooperatively with one child or in a group, and to develop solid relationships with one another. Teachers reinforce the importance of communicating with language, respecting the rights of others, problem solving, and developing feelings of empathy and acceptance. Levine Academy activities encourage and enable the students to express their feelings in a constructive and appropriate manner. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT Physical activity and movement are designed to develop both gross and fine motor skills, as well as to integrate physical activity in the child’s day-to-day life. Children are provided a myriad of opportunities to develop gross motor skills through physical education classes, movement activities, and outdoor play. Fine motor skills are integrated into every classroom activity, focusing on dexterity and eye-hand coordination. Organized physical activities are integrated into the curriculum with every age group attending a gym class once a week and a teacher-led movement class once a week. JEWISH LEARNING Children are provided a strong and positive orientation toward Jewish learning. Weekly Havdalah, Torah and Kabbalat Shabbat Services, holiday study, Jewish symbols, rituals, Torah stories, prayer and Hebrew language are present every day as a joyful way of life. As part of a Jewish day school, children benefit from being able to see themselves as an integral part of our Jewish community.
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INFANTS 3- 12 MONTHS OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Because it is often a child’s first experience in school, great care is taken to create a warm and safe environment which allows for students to easily transition from home to school. Each child is special and develops at his or her own pace. Teachers plan and executed lessons focusing on social/emotional, physical, cognitive, language, and creative skills. COGNITIVE/BEGINNING LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT The most important tools for cognitive and language development are the materials and experiences in the children’s environment. Teachers place great emphasis on verbal communication and expand the students’ vocabulary through the use of repetitive words, labels on toys and items in the classroom, storytelling, rhymes, and flannel board stories. Teachers also promote cognitive language development by providing a rich sensory experience for their students. This is done by encouraging them to play with objects of various colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. SOCIAL\EMOTIONAL A caring, affectionate, and secure environment is created to allow our students to easily transition from home to school. Teachers provide opportunities and tools for play and, facilitate familiarity and comfort. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT Great attention is placed on the students’ emergent fine and gross motor skills. The curriculum allows for children to reinforce their developing skills such as crawling, grasping objects, and learning to stand. JEWISH LEARNING Our students begin to develop a sense of Jewish identity as Jewish rituals, songs, holiday celebrations, and Hebrew language are integrated into the curriculum each day. Through classroom centered activities and weekly religious services, students learn songs and melodies.
TODDLERS: 12-24 MONTHS OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Children learn best when their experiences enable them to engage all of their senses. Toddlers learn about themselves and the world around them through well-planned and executed lessons focusing on social/emotional, physical, cognitive, language, and creative skills.
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COGNITIVE/LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Teachers use visual and auditory cues to provide guidance for children to anticipate daily routines, follow two-step directives, and practice following directions. Teachers set the stage for learning by selecting manipulatives for children to identify colors, shapes, and matching like-objects. Teachers organize and label materials in each learning center to develop a sense of order and independence for the children. Students find themselves in a rich environment for literacy development. Through the use of stories, rhymes, signs, conversation, and writing materials they become aware that print is an important means of communication. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Teachers provide a positive social and emotional climate by their direct interaction with children. By setting clear limits, guiding children’s behaviors, and teaching what is acceptable behavior, children feel safe and learn self-control. Social and emotional skills are attributes that are cultivated and nurtured through the students’ ongoing interactions with their peers and teachers. PHYSICAL As toddlers begin to explore and master the movements of their own bodies, they are provided with activities that introduce basic gross motor skills such as walking on tiptoes, walking backwards, jumping and, pushing and pulling toys while walking. Children also engage in a variety of fine motor skill activities which help develop the dexterity needed to perform basic tasks such as picking up small objects, holding a spoon, turning pages in a book, or using a crayon to draw. Throughout the day, students participate in such activities as placing and removing pegs from pegboard, using crayons and markers, stringing large beads, and building with Play Dough. JEWISH LEARNING Toddlers begin to develop a sense of Jewish identity as Jewish rituals, song, foods, role play, holiday celebrations, and Hebrew language are integrated into the curriculum each day. Through classroom centered activities and weekly religious services, students learn songs and melodies, basic Hebrew words, and holiday study.
TWO-YEAR-OLDS OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
Through an integrated curriculum combining academic and developmental skills, the two-year-olds discover a world that is filled with wonder and excitement as they grow from dependent toddlers to independent young children. COGNITIVE/LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Great emphasis is placed on developing the students’ emerging language and math skills. Teachers employ a multi-pronged approach that integrates both the written and spoken word. Stories, poetry,
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flannel board, puppets, interactive communication, labels, and alphabet displays reinforce language development, and provide opportunities for writing and creative expression. Math skills are developed with teachers creating real-life situations and experiences allowing the students to acquire a sense of numbers and problem-solving skills. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Teachers provide a positive social and emotional climate through modeling and reinforcement of socially acceptable behavior. By setting clear limits, guiding children’s actions, and teaching what is appropriate conduct, children feel safe and learn self-control. Teachers encourage their students to express their emotions in a constructive manner, and to accept and recognize emotions in others. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT The students work on their fine and gross motor skills through activities that serve to develop finger strength and dexterity, eye/hand coordination, and body awareness. Throughout the day, the children have opportunities to build with large blocks, cut with scissors, manipulate small objects, follow body movement directions, and play running and jumping games, among others. JEWISH LEARNING Two-year-olds begin to develop a sense of Jewish identity as Jewish rituals, songs, foods, roleplay, holiday celebrations, and Hebrew language are integrated into the curriculum each day. Through classroom centered activities and weekly religious services, students learn songs and melodies, basic Hebrew words, and holiday study. Focus is placed on refining language abilities that help the three-year-old develop more complex social interactions with others, expand cognitive capacity, and develop a sense of self-control. COGNITIVE/LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT Along with building on the skills developed in the previous school year, the nationally acclaimed program Handwriting Without Tears ® is integrated into the three-year-old curriculum. This program introduces school readiness activities for the students at all ability levels. Through music, movement, building, coloring, and multi-sensory activities, children have fun as they develop important language proficiency, color and shape awareness, fine and gross motor control, letter and number recognition, and counting skills. Three-year-olds use Growing With Numbers and Math Their Way to provide hands-on learning activities to build the student’s understanding of mathematical concepts. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Teachers continue to create a positive social and emotional climate throughmodeling and reinforcement of socially acceptable behavior. By setting clear limits, guiding children’s actions, and teaching what THREE-YEAR-OLDS OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
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is appropriate conduct, children feel safe and learn self-control. Teachers encourage their students to express their emotions in a constructive manner, and to accept and recognize emotions in others. Greater emphasis is put on problem solving, allowing the students to use their analytical abilities to generate solutions to their problems. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT Complex gross motor skills activities such as jumping, hopping on two feet, and balancing are introduced. Because the three-year-olds begin to exhibit more agility in their fine motor skills and can better control their hands and feet, teachers create more complex activities using such tools as stringing beads, working puzzles and cutting with scissors. JEWISH LEARNING Three-year-olds are introduced to more advanced information and concepts in Torah, Bible stories, and Mitzvot. This program develops the student’s ability to connect Hebrew language to every day practical situations at home and in school. They also learn Hebrew songs, role play holiday stories using ritual and symbols associated with these stories; lead blessings and prayer; and incorporate Jewish ideas through art. TECHNOLOGY Three-year-olds are introduced to technology through the use of SMART Tables. The children use instinctive finger gestures to manipulate objects. The lessons are structured to enable the students to collaborate and promote problem-solving, matching, and categorizing as they play and work on interactive learning activities. The Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) curriculum centers around building upon and expanding previously learned knowledge, while introducing new concepts essential for development of thought processes needed for a successful learner. The curriculum is designed to ensure a successful academic and social transition to Kindergarten. COGNITIVE/LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT The Pre-K students carry on using Handwriting Without Tears ® which takes a multi-sensory approach regarding directional skills, listening skills, fine motor activities, and letter formation. Through discussion, finger play, stories and songs, teachers use concrete or manipulative materials for explorations to sort, classify, build, count, measure, and create designs and patterns. Like the alphabet, number symbols and pictorial explanations are accessible to the children. To complement that program, Growing with Mathematics, a language-based mathematics curriculum that uses hands-on activities, is used to help build and reinforce the student’s understanding of math concepts. Differentiated PRE-KINDERGARTEN OVERVIEW OF GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
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instruction is used as the program provides a range of activities to ensure children are discussing, representing and reasoning mathematically. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT Teachers place great emphasis on the development of the student’s essential life skills: decision-making; acceptance of responsibility for choices and actions; ownership of learning, risk-taking, empathy and compassion for others; and negotiation and mediation skills. They are expected to approach a task with flexibility and inventiveness, complete a task, seek help when encountering a problem, and play and work cooperatively with others. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT The Pre-K curriculum emphasizes learning to play well together while exploring and expanding the students’ physical capacity learning how to control their bodies in group games and team sports. Children engage in activities, in the classroom, on the playground, or in gym class, that help them with control, balance, strength, and coordination in gross-motor tasks, as well as coordination, strength and refinement in fine-motor tasks. They will continue to build with small blocks, string beads, work with pegboards and work 15 or more piece puzzles. In preparation for Kindergarten, correct pencil grip will be reinforced and handwriting skills will be practiced. JEWISH LEARNING Pre-K students participate in Jewish Studies and a formal Hebrew language immersion program called Chalav U’devash. This program imparts a basic knowledge of spoken Hebrew and provides a foundation for future study of the language; develops the student’s ability to communicate in Hebrew from the first lesson; connects Hebrew to every day situations related to home and school; integrates themes of Israel, Shabbat and the festivals; and makes Hebrew a source of pleasure for children and for the entire family. In addition, the teachers continue to reinforce the students’ skills in reciting blessings and prayers, and leading Shabbat, Torah and Havdalah services. They also actively learn Jewish values by doing mitzvot and giving tzedakah . TECHNOLOGY Pre-K students are introduced to technology. The children use instinctive finger gestures to manipulate objects. The lessons are structured to enable the students to collaborate to promote problem-solving, matching, and categorizing as they play and work on interactive learning activities. The Pre-K students learn phonetic sounds and mathematical concepts by customized games that the teacher creates to expand the readiness curriculum.
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TRANSITION INTO LOWER SCHOOL COLLABORATIVE CURRICULUM Levine Academy believes that a child’s smooth transition to Lower School is vital to the academic and developmental success of that child. That is why program continuity is of utmost importance in the Levine Academy Early Childhood Center. Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers, along with their respective director/principal, collaborate on curriculum and continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the programmatic continuum. By the time the student leaves Pre-K, he or she has a familiarity with the concepts, programs and expectations of Kindergarten. THE PROGRAMMATIC CONTINUUM FROM PRE-K TO KINDERGARTEN Social/Emotional Development Second Step Program used in Pre-K and Kindergarten, builds critical social and school-readiness skills that can help young children achieve more and get along with others. • Children work on developing essential life skills. • Children engage in decision-making and learn acceptance of responsibility for choices. • Children gain an understanding of empathy and compassion for others. • Children develop impulse control skills. • Children begin to express interests and self-direction in learning. • Children begin to show increased self-control by following classroom rules. • Children begin to respond to the suggestions of others. • Children begin to share and cooperate with others in group activities. Language and Communication Development A phonemic language program is used in Pre-K and Kindergarten. • Children are exposed to the richness of language through experiential media. • Children discover the importance of the written word to express thoughts. • Programs are used to ignite the children's’ interest in reading. • Children develop the ability to listen with increasing attention span. • Children experiment with new language. • Children use increased new vocabulary when relating to others. • Children gain confidence as speakers. Literacy and Writing Development HandwritingWithout Tears ® used in Pre-K and Kindergarten uses fun, entertaining, and educationally sound instructional methods to teach handwriting to all students. It has proven successful in making legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill for all students. • Children attempt to write messages in the form of a play activity. • Children use known letters to represent written language.
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• Children develop phonemic awareness –rhyme, pattern and letter/sound relationship.
Mathematics Three math programs are used in both Pre-K and Kindergarten: Everyday Math ® (a comprehensive mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School of Mathematics Project); Math Their Way (a hands-on, problem solving introduction to mathematics); and Growing With Mathematics (an activity-based, integrated, and problem-solving approach to learning mathematics which incorporates computation and skill development). • Children use manipulatives for hands-on learning to reinforce concepts and skills that relate to real life experiences. Science and Social Studies • Children learn about the basic human needs of all people for food, clothing and shelter. • Children identify similarities among people as well as differences in cultures. • Children begin to relate to time lines and history. • Children develop an understanding of the environment. • Children engage in experimentation using the scientific process. Jewish Studies and Hebrew Language • Children’s natural curiosity of the world is enhanced. Jewish Studies/Hebrew Language Chalav U’dvash, a Hebrew language immersion program, is used in Pre-K and Kindergarten. • Children understand, appreciate and form a strong Jewish identity through:
º Blessings º Tzedakah º Mitzvot º Torah º Shabbat º Holidays º Art º Songs
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KINDERGARTEN OVERVIEW In Kindergarten, it is our goal to provide a stimulating, nurturing learning environment where children are encouraged to work toward being independent. They are encouraged to develop self-awareness, interpersonal skills and responsible behaviors, which will enable them to be successful in school and life. LITERACY The students develop literacy skills that enable them to progress in reading, comprehension, and writing. Early in the year, the main focus is on phonological awareness and phonemic instruction. Once these early reading skills have been mastered, the reading instruction is student-centered through small groups using the Collaborative Classroom Curriculum. As a student’s reading fluency develops, they shift their attention to comprehension and making inferences. During this literacy block, the students are working independently on Word Work and Writing, including sight words and rule- based spelling. In kindergarten, the students are introduced to Writers Workshop. They learn the beginning aspects of writing, including how-to, informational, and fiction writing. MATHEMATICS Levine Academy’s Beck Lower School has adopted the Everyday Math Fourth Edition program. This comprehensive program teaches basic math skills in a real world context, encouraging learners to think conceptually and mathematically. Students are encouraged to reason through problems and engage themselves in a wide variety of math related activities. The curriculum includes diverse concepts such as number sense, introduction to number stories, non-standard units of measure, 3-D shapes, addition, and subtraction. The program itself provides opportunities for differentiation at every level while still teaching within the range of one concept or skill. The Kindergarten thematic units are social studies and science-based, with a variety of topics that interest kindergarten aged children. These units of study range from historical characters to life science. During these units, the students participate in read aloud books, informational technology and hands- on projects to help them develop a deeper understanding of the subject. Additionally, kindergarteners visit the lower school science lab twice a week and have instruction with our lower school science teacher. Kindergarten is a year of exponential growth and maturity. While academics is a big focus, it is just as important to teach the students skills that will help them be successful throughout their school careers. Each child is encouraged to be the best version of themselves as we learn to problem solve and show compassion in our relationships. SCIENCE The science curriculum in kindergarten is developed around the three main areas of natural sciences: physical, earth, and life. The students attend science class twice weekly. In the science lab kindergarten grade students use the knowledge gained during class to develop skills to plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the core ideas introduced.
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JEWISH STUDIES/HEBREW Chalav U’Dvash program imparts basic knowledge of spoken Hebrew that will also build a foundation for future study of the language. The program develops children’s ability to communicate in Hebrew, by providing them with a variety of opportunities and incentives to use the linguistic patterns and vocabulary acquired in the program, connects Hebrew to everyday social situations related to the children’s experiences in the home, at school, in encounters with friends and holiday celebrations, makes Hebrew a source of pleasure for the children and involves the entire family in the learning experience. JEWISH HOLIDAYS Art projects, songs, stories, class celebrations and cooking experiences will help give your child an understanding and appreciation of the stories and symbols of each of the major Jewish holidays. TORAH The students will learn Jewish values through Biblical Stories from creation to the giving of the Torah at Sinai and explore them during class discussions and dramatic play. PRAYERS The students will be introduced to many of the basic prayers of the daily morning service and Friday evening Shabbat service.
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18011 Hillcrest Road Dallas, TX 75252 972-248-3032 phone 972-248-0695 fax www.levineacademy.orgPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12
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