La Paz Preschool

Philosophy

La Paz is committed to the importance of early childhood education for its proven benefits in brain development as well as preparation for the rigors of primary school and beyond. The La Paz Preschool Program will integrate aspects of “Tools of the Mind” which is an early childhood education program designed to assist children in the regulation of their own emotional and social behavior. Believed to be an important foundational skill set, this curriculum is based on the work of psychologist Lev Vygotsky.

Curriculum:

(From the website http://www.mscd.edu/extendedcampus/toolsofthemind) Instructional strategies used in Tools of the Mind are a combination of:

Child-initiated activities- Children choose their area to play in and decide what they are going to play in that center. They organize and create the pretend scenario on their own, they make their own props.”

Cooperative paired learning- Children work in cooperative pairs where each child has a different role in the completion of the activity. For example, in Buddy Reading, children take turns reading.”

Teacher scaffolding and explicit instruction- For example, if a child needs support to remember to begin writing from left to right, a mediator (such as an asterisk) is placed on the page to remind the child of where to start. Once the child starts in the right place, the asterisk is removed.”

Individualization through multiple levels of scaffolding-For example, in Graphics Practice, all of the children are drawing circles to music, but one child may be working on just holding the marker with sufficient stability to make a mark, another child is practicing making a continuous line that has a bend in it, another child is practicing making a circle that closes, another child is practicing making a circle starting from the top and holding the marker in a 3-point grasp and still another is practicing making the circles the same size.”

On-going use of assessment data to tailor interactions to meet individual needs- teachers take observational notes and give frequent assessments to check for understanding and plan appropriate lessons.

Personnel:

  • 1 Certified Native English Classroom Teacher
  • 1 Certified Native Spanish Classroom Teacher
  • 1 Bilingual Assistant

A Day at La Paz Preschool:

Hours 8am-1pm (1/2 Spanish, 1/2 English)

Sample Schedule:

8-8:15 Bilingual enter/play time
8:15 English class meeting/songs
8:30 English activities/centers (see above Tools of the Mind Instructional Strategies for details)
9:15 snack/recess
9:45 English Leading Activity – Vygotsky describes the Leading Activity as the activity during which most development occurs. The Leading Activity for preschool is mature, intentional make-believe play.
10:30-11:00 rest/quiet time
11-11:15 Spanish class meeting/songs
11:15-11:45 Spanish activities/centers (see above Tools of the Mind Instructional Strategies for details)
11:45am -12:15pm lunch – As proper nutrition is one of the most essential elements of childhood brain development, students will have the option to purchase healthy, homemade, balanced lunches on a daily basis.
12:15-1pm Spanish Leading Activity