Westside School welcomes three and four-year-old students for a full-day preschool and pre-Kindergarten experience. Our emergent curriculum is play-based, focused on experiential learning and is designed to foster the social-emotional foundations for academic learning.
With a long history of early childhood education, Westside is pleased to offer an enriched environment. Our students are empowered to take an active role in their learning. Teachers observe the spontaneous interests of students and guide them to projects and learning that reflect their natural curiosity.
Classroom learning stations, and whole and small group times serve as an avenue for each child’s social and academic development. In addition to their daily classroom experience, students will participate in physical education, performing arts, visual arts, and world languages.
In preschool and pre-Kindergarten at Westside, Play is learning. They are not separate activities but intertwined. What looks like play to us is actually our youngest students learning to make sense of the world around them, building social and cognitive skills, and constructing knowledge that they will use as they move into Kindergarten and all the way through 8th grade.
After Morning Meeting to start the day (and morning yoga for our pre-Kindergarteners!), recess, and snack, worktime begins as children begin engaging with open-ended materials and interacting with their peers.
During work time, there are many options for play set up around the classroom. Each is designed to be fun and help students learn and practice different skills. Read more about some of our play areas here:
In dramatic play, it isn’t uncommon to see students dressing up, cooking a meal for their friends in our kitchen area, and creating all sorts of fun scenarios, like packing up and boarding a plane for a trip to Hawaii!
In Dramatic Play Children Learn and Practice: Social-Emotional Skills- self-regulation of emotions and actions, compromise and conflict resolution skills, Allows them to process emotions and personal experiences
Cognitive Skills- coordinate a plan and assign and accept roles, build abstract thinking skills,
Literacy- Build expressive and receptive language skills, build vocabulary, explore oral language
In the Block area, students work together or on their own to create large structures, complete with ramps, windows, and doors. As they work, they share ideas about their plan, what the structure will end up being, and the blocks that they need to build it. Block building is not only fun, but supports problem-solving, dramatic play, social-emotional intelligence, as well as concepts of math and science through play.
“I try to build a police station in the block area. I use some curves and some triangles and some squares. I stable my building on the flat floor so it can stand and get tall. You have to make police stations tall so it has to be super stable.”
Through Block Play Children learn: Problem-solving- a child may have a specific idea or structure in mind and have to figure out how to build it, what shapes to use and how to make it stable.
Mathematics- concepts such as measurement, comparison, counting, fractions, estimation, symmetry, patterning, and shapes are all practiced during black play.
Science- they test their hypotheses and experiment with cause and effect, making predictions, stability and balance, gravity, and the relationship between materials.
Social-Emotional Skills- block play supports children in taking turns, sharing ideas, compromising, conflict resolution, cooperate with others, increases attention span, and builds self-esteem.
Process Art is a big part of the Pre-K Curriculum. Process Art is less about the final product and more about the experiences and observations the children have while engaging with the materials.
At the art table, children create beautiful, swirly designs of glue on black paper. After creating the design, they sprinkle salt on top and shake off the excess. The final step in this art exploration is to paint the salt with liquid watercolor. As the first drop of paint hits the dry salt, a student exclaims “Look! The salt is sucking it up!” the student next to them exclaims “Oh my gosh the paint is moving. The salt is making it move! Let’s do another color!” as they quickly dip their brushes into another color and paint.
Through Process Art Children Learn: Social-Emotional Skills-Children relax, focus, feel successful, and can express their feelings
Language and Literacy-Children may choose to discuss their art and add print to it (on their own or by dictating to a teacher)
Cognitive Skills-Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve
Physical Skills-Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages
Science- they test their hypotheses and experiment with cause and effect, making predictions
Westside School has a few remaining spots available in kindergarten and preschool for the 2023-2024 school year! Contact Director of Admission, Ted Holmes, at email@example.com for more information.