The Early Childhood classroom offers 7 areas of study: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Geography, Science & Art.
Children learn daily life skills, such as how to get dressed, prepare snacks, set the table, and care for plants and animals. Practical Life exercises include lessons in grace and courtesy, care for self, and care for the environment. Children learn appropriate social interactions, such as saying please and thank-you, being kind and helpful, listening without interrupting, and resolving conflicts peacefully. In addition to teaching specific skills, Practical Life activities promote independence, and fine- and gross-motor coordination.
Children refine skills in perceiving the world through their different senses, and learn how to describe and name their experiences—for example, rough and smooth, perceived through touch. Sensorial learning helps children classify their surroundings and create order. It lays the foundation for learning by developing the ability to classify, sort, and discriminate—skills necessary in math, geometry, and language. The sensorial materials focus on visual perception, tactile impressions, auditory sense, and olfactory and taste perceptions. Activities often include matching and grading materials that isolate the sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
Through hands-on activities, children learn to identify numerals and match them to their quantity, understand place-value and the base-10 system, and practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They also explore patterns in the numbering system. With an exploratory approach, children do more than just memorize math facts; they gain a firm understanding of the meaning behind them.
Activities throughout the Early Childhood classroom teach language, help children acquire vocabulary, and develop skills needed for writing and reading. The ability to write, a precursor to reading, is taught first. Using hands-on materials, children learn letter sounds, how to combine sounds to make words, how to build sentences, and how to use a pencil. Once these skills are acquired, children spontaneously learn to read.
A wide range of subjects, including history, geography, science, art, and music, are integrated into lessons in the cultural area of the curriculum. Children learn about their own community and the world around them. Discovering similarities and differences among people and places helps them develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our world, and a respect for all living things.