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The Long Branch Public School integrated approach to early childhood education is built on a daily sequence of learning components. Tools of the Mind (Tools) is the program implemented for all preschool students. The central focus of “Tools” is development of both cognitive and social emotional self-regulation, taught in conjunction with academic skills. Practice in self -regulation is embedded into all activities. Teachers use strategies to help children improve the quality of their dramatic make-believe play to foster self-regulation development. Research based literature and math activities are modified to include self-regulatory components. Specific instructional activities are designed to teach self- regulation and reflective thinking. In addition, classroom management techniques maximize time productive interactions and task involvement.Below is a breakdown of the Preschool day according to scheduled activities:
Breakfast - All students are offered free breakfast.
Free Choice & Mystery Question - Each child is individually greeted and made to feel welcome for a relaxed introduction to learning. Children have the opportunity for free choice play. They are presented with an interactive problem solving “Mystery Question” designed to stimulate curiosity and inspire future learning.
Opening Group - During opening group the students review the calendar and weather. Physical self -regulation is embedded into all activities (i.e., freeze). Community building /share the news/ and message of the day are implemented during opening group.
Make Believe Play - Make believe play introduces play planning and play in child centers.
Large group Literacy - Includes buddy reading and graphics practice.
Outside Motor Play - Promotes competence and confidence in activities that require gross and fine motor skills. Activities are designed to enhance physical, cognitive, and social development through theme related movement activities.
Small Group Math/Science - Includes in depth small group math and science experiences encourage children to interact pursue problem solving strategies and reflect on their learning.
Rest & Quiet Time - Children have the opportunity to rest and gain more energy before moving on to the second half of their day.
Snack Time - Children’s health, hygiene, and interpersonal skills are enhanced with discussion, exploration and guidance. Children are guided to develop their knowledge and the skills necessary to make nutritious food choices.
Literacy Small Group - Capitalize on children’s natural and spontaneous interactions with literacy in the world around them. This time utilizes a wide variety of interesting opportunities, which allow children to make connections across the daily components of “Tools” and beyond the academic setting.
Closing Group - Provides children with the opportunity to discuss their day and learning experiences with peers, while creating a climate that values dialogue, questions, and active listening. Children are encouraged to share such experiences with their families.
For children in Kindergarten a typical day includes:
- Mystery Question;
- Calendar Math & Movement;
- Social Studies/Science with a thematic focus;
- Opening Group:
- Community Building/Share The news
- Message of the Day
- Embedding ELA components;
- Comprehension (skills & strategy)
- High Frequency Words
- Oral Vocabulary
- Phonemic Awareness/Phonics
- Guided Reading
- Outside Gross Motor Play;
- Writing & Grammar;
- Specials —Gym/Music/Dance/ Instrumental/Art;
- Exploration stations (integration of science & social studies);
- Buddy reading & Rhymes/Poetry and;
Reflection/ Closing Group/homework
Families at the Joseph M. Ferraina Early Childhood Learning Center are encouraged to stay actively involved in their children’s learning. The home school connection resources, include but are not limited to, district and teacher web pages, home visits, book clubs, class celebrations, lending library, weekly theme activities, and informative parent workshops. These aspects of our program help keep families informed of their children’s school experiences so family members can support their learning.
The Early Learning Center has a comprehensive staff consisting of certified teachers, instructional assistants, PIRT Team, special education teachers, in-class support teachers, speech/language specialists, occupational and physical therapists, student advisers, master teacher, school nurse, safe school environment personnel and a building principal. The comprehensive educational atmosphere allows all children to begin a lifetime of learning.