Each classroom, from toddlers to our oldest Pre-K classroom is prepared with learning centers. These centers include:
Art Area: In the art area children are given the opportunities to learn important art concepts and creativity as well as to practice decision making, learn about cause and effect, identify colors and shapes, refine hand-eye coordination, develop small and large muscle skills, express feelings, practice sharing, experience pride, and much more!
Block and Building Area: In the Block & Building are children have the opportunity to develop many cognitive skills as they experiment with the size, shape, color, number, and volume of the materials in this area. They test physics principles when they build skyscrapers and bridges carefully balancing each block they add to their design. They practice social skills when they share, negotiate for materials, and collaborate with other children. Symbolic thinking is developed as they create models of architectural elements from their world. Vocabularies expand and literacy learning is enhanced when children talk and write about their creations. So much learning can take place in one little area.
Dramatic Play Area: The dramatic play area is an area that allows children to participate in different role-play scenarios and engage in a variety of literacy rich experiences. As children plan, implement, and construct their play they have the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas with language. Through the use of language they learn social skills, negotiating skills, and conflict resolution techniques as they engage in play with other children and teachers. They draw on past experiences to try to solve problems and construct their understanding of new concepts, which are important skills for reading comprehension. Children see different types of environmental print in this area and they will attempt to read it, connecting the idea that print has meaning. A variety of printed reading materials are available to the children to explore so they begin to understand that reading is important and beneficial to them. Tools and materials are available to them so they can participate in functional uses of print and emergent writing.
Science/Discovery Area: This is a very hands-on area. It provides materials for children to discover, explore, evaluate and draw conclusions. In the science/discovery area children are able to explore new topics of interest, learn about the world around them, and develop their problem solving skills. They get to WONDER about things! They practice observation skills using their five senses, learn about cause and effect, making predictions, and begin to learn some basic science concepts.
Puzzles, Games and Manipulative Area: Puzzles, games, and manipulatives offer children lots of practice with fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and logical thinking skills. These all help promote language, literacy, and fine motor development.
Math and Number Area: The Math and Number Concepts Area encourages exploration of a concepts related to math, as well as, literacy. During exploration with toys, games, and other tools found in this area, children are opening themselves up for many literacy rich activities. They are able to practice counting, sequencing, matching, sorting, and classifying, all of which support their literacy development as they sharpen their visual discrimination skills, and build their understanding of important concepts used for comprehension and reading. Children are exposed to print and use language when they manipulate a range of different games, toys, and puzzles found in this area.
Language and Literacy Area: Activities in the literacy area support children’s imagination and creativity. They learn about the importance of print as a means for communicating and gaining information. They are exposed to new ideas and experiences when they read and explore different literary genres, including stories, poems, fairytales, and informational text. In the literacy area children have the opportunity to develop core literacy concepts such as oral language, phonemic awareness, concepts of print, concepts of books, and alphabet knowledge. They spend time exploring emergent reading and writing activities Listening and thinking skills are enhanced as they listen and tell and retell stories. When children participate in activities in the literacy area they are developing a love for books and stories, which will support their learning throughout their lives.
Maple Tree Day School boasts an original nature inspired outdoor play area. We have designed a Natural Play Space for the children to play on, play in and explore.
Our outdoor environments help enhance concentration, inspire creativity, relieve stress, and develop imagination. Each day, the children engage in the following activities among Maple Tree Day School’s native grasses, flowers and plants: Gardening in our raised garden beds, playing in our wooden row boat, climbing on our natural log balance beam and tree logs, building with tree cookies and tree blocks, playing instruments in our outdoor music area, operating the buckets and pulleys, hauling loose materials around in small wheelbarrows, reading books underneath the Maple Tree, and playing on the slides, in the tunnel and vine canopies.