Top 5 Questions Asked About the Vancouver Start Smart Preschool Program….
How does the Fine Arts component fit into the scope of the preschool day?
Our Visual Art is done during our “open play” segment. Our music, dance/movement and drama are done in a specific 20 to 30 minute segment on corresponding days.
What does the Fine Arts curriculum consist of?
We teach Visual Art, Music, Dance and Movement, as well as Drama to preschoolers.
- Visual Art is a daily experience and comes during the “open play” segment of the day. Children have the opportunity to experience various artistic mediums ranging from different kinds of paint, clay works, collage materials, fabric, wire and papers etc.! Their creations are done either as a group or as individuals.
- Music: “The Little Mozart’s” series is a specific music curriculum developed for the preschool age child. The program is taught with the several “puppet friends” including Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear. The program was designed to address national music learning standards for children aged 3 to 6. Children develop listening skills, singing skills and play instruments. They learn music theory naturally through game and the curriculum’s playful experiences!
- Dance/Movement focuses on the children’s gross motor skills in relationship to music. Children learn body awareness and grow and gain strength in the way their bodies move. This gives them great confidence in their personal body’s ability as well as their own creative development in participating as an individual or within a group to create meaningful dance and movement experiences
- Drama: In our drama experience we bring music, dance and movement together and also use props and costume. We focus on our preschool “topic” which is discussed during playtime, circle and story time as well as during visual arts. Drama time is when children’s literacy skills are being developed age appropriately through the “telling” of story dramatically.
My child is “shy” to try new things…will a Fine Arts program help or hinder?
Many children are “shy” to try something new. In our experience we find that children often view other children doing the various activities and though they are shy they want to participate, even if it’s only in a small way! What some children can handle quickly, others need to have time to let the “possibility” grow inside of them before they take the actual first step of participation—and this is normal and O.K. In the long run we find that every child who comes to us in the end as an increases in self-confidence, experiences pride in achievement and a sense of acceptance and satisfaction as they develop self-respect. Invariably these aspects of development actually transfer to other situations and areas of their lives!
What does a ‘Fine Arts/Learning through Play’ classroom look like?
We consider the classroom as the property of the children. It is their space to create. Hence, you will not see a lot of premade educational materials on our walls! Instead, the children will have their own artistic creations displayed, creating their own scenes featuring group work as well as individual works.
When the walls are the property of the children they become involved in ongoing open dialogue about their creations…they have questions that need to be answered and options that need to be explored! Thus, the walls in the classroom become the “third teacher”. This “third teacher” embraces the student as well as the other teachers in the learning process.
Other areas of play in the classroom are Dramatic play, Blocks, Library, manipulative toys for small motor skills, carpet toys (trains, farms, castles etc.), sand and water to name a few! We change and rotate items according to class interest! Often times, one learning center in the classroom will cross over to another. Example: When in dramatic play some children dressed up as Kings and Queens during our learning about Rapunzel, suddenly blocks had to make a castle…other kinds of blocks were brought in to make a throne and a third kind of block made rooms in the castle! This was left for the next class to see what (if anything) would develop further! Once again, we consider the classroom the child’s space.
How does the preschool staff view themselves as they work within the ‘Fine Arts/Learning through Play’ setting?
Without a teacher, children still learn through their play! Play is always the way children learn. Further, play is the age appropriate way children learn.
With this in mind, we as teachers view ourselves as facilitators to the learning process of play.
What does that mean? It means that we ask questions about what the children are doing in their play. We might…through our questioning…cause children to explore options in their play differently. We may watch from a distance and simply encourage the play they are initiating on their own, positively! We play with them, on their level, being what they need us to be in the moment!
Children thrive with this kind of self-expression and creativity as it encourages their imaginations and moves them to having greater confidence. The end result is that they will be ultimately Kindergarten ready, preparing and enabling them to take on new aspects of the learning experience.