Classrooms by Age

In the classrooms at Little Mud Puddles Learning Center, the children are grouped together chronologically and /or developmentally. These small groups each have a primary teacher with whom they are able to identify. The teacher supervises each child’s progress. Each of our programs incorporates important principles of guiding children to competence and independence to strengthen self-esteem.

Transition from Jr. Preschool to Preschool to Pre-Kindergarten

Our program offers many areas of learning where children are exposed to Language, Social Emotional, Self Help Skills, Cognitive, Fine and Gross Motor Skills. Each of our programs are building blocks on each other.

1. Language and Social Emotional Development

Skilled teachers help our children to communicate their needs and desires, and assist the children as they negotiate sharing and playing together. Affection, respect and sensitivity to others are encouraged. We empower our children to use words to express feelings and resolve conflicts. This is when children go from independent play to playing with other children.

2. Hygiene/Self Help Skills

Children are encouraged to do all they can for themselves. Independence is encouraged in daily living tasks by giving children the time and space to learn how to use the toilet, dress, and feed themselves, clean up and care for toys and personal possessions. The resulting sense of competence, independence and control helps to solidify and strengthen the positive self esteem so essential to all learning.

3. Cognitive Development

Our program is designed to help children work logically in both an individual and a group setting. Children learn most concepts while they are engaged in play. During clean up, children are able to sort and classify as they put materials away where they belong. During sand and water play, children are exposed to weights and measurements. As children build with blocks they are exposed to spatial relations and gravity. Teachers ask probing questions to help children think and reason. Children will then test their own abilities by engaging in both child-initiated and teacher –directed activities.

Creative arts teach our children colors, coloring mixing, shapes, how things work, problem solving, cooperation, textures, independence, eye-hand coordination and pride in a child’s work. Puzzles, manipulative toys, block-building, sand and water play teaches the children how to group objects in categories, matching and classifying, to basic introduction to size and weights, creativity & imagination, eye-hand coordination to problem solving. These are all pre math skills. Reading and story time encourages new words and increases vocabulary, listening skills, expressive language, logical thinking, reading readiness, sequence – left to right progression.

In addition to learning through play we provide educational teaching experiences to be sure our children are fully prepared for kindergarten.

4. Fine and Large Motor Development

Our environment includes developmentally appropriate inside and outside activities that provides plenty of choices and opportunities for interactive play using the body with control and efficiency. This consists of fine motor skills such as cutting with scissors, coloring and gross motor skills such as walking, climbing and balancing.

As the child moves up into the next program level we continually review the previous levels skills. The lists that are broken down below include the skills that are newly introduced within each program.

 

Jr. Preschool

2-3 Years (assist in potty training)

Activities that encourage language skills and social interaction:

  • Children participating in circle time such story time, singing, flannel board stories and finger plays.
  • Children sharing and describing their art work and activities.
  • Interacting with staff and other children.
  • Beginning stages of pretend play.

 

Activities that encourage Hygiene/Self Help Skills:

  • Eats finger foods or with spoon or fork according to the type of food.
  • Alerts teacher of personal needs. Learning to control needs for toilet use.
  • Puts on basic clothing such as jacket, socks, shoes and pants.
  • Cleans up spills and cleans after themselves with direction from teacher.
  • Follows directions in putting things away.
  • Introduction to Safety Concepts and cooperates when given instructions during fire drills and safety rules.

 

Activities that encourage Cognitive Development:

  • Creative Art. Textures and Senses.
  • Introduction of Colors, Shapes and Numbers.
  • Name Recognition. Early identification of letters.
  • Math Skills: Puzzles, Block Play, Matching and Classifying. Counting 1 -10.
  • Story Time to encourage an increase in vocabulary and pre reading skills – Left to right progression.

 

Activities that encourage Fine and Large Motor Development:

  • Large motor activities such as tricycle riding, climbing, running and jumping. Music and movement. Catching and kicking a ball.
  • Developing fine motor muscles. Playdough fun, finger painting, and shaving cream fun.
  • Scissor Skills. Able to snip.
  • Stencil Tracing.

 

Preschool

3-4 Years

Continuing to build on the skills learned in Jr. Preschool

Activities that encourage language skills and social interaction:

  • Problem solving skills. Using words to communicate needs and ideas.
  • Following teacher’s directions. Understands three step instructions that are part of normal routine.
  • Children participate in circle time, longer story time, games and songs.
  • Shows or shares what real life experience has occurred in their life.
  • Building on child’s imagination and pretend play.

 

Activities that encourage Hygiene/Self Help Skills:

  • Full Control of bathroom needs.
  • Cleans up spills and cleans up after themselves with some direction from teacher.
  • Children help in setting table for meals.
  • Children involved in more complex cooking and science projects. Following a simple recipe and step-by-step directions.
  • Understanding Safety Concepts and follows direction on their own when given instructions during fire drills and safety rules.

 

Activities that encourage Cognitive Development:

  • Recognition of Colors, Shapes and Numbers. Counting 1-10 then 1-20.
  • First and Last Name recognition.
  • Recognition of letters and beginning letter sounds.
  • More complex math Skills: Matching and classifying of objects. Number recognition.
  • Introduction to Calendar. (Days of the week and Months of the year)
  • Hooked on Phonics Letter of the Week.

 

Activities that encourage Fine and Large Motor Development:

  • Large motor activities such as tricycle riding, obstacle courses and dancing.
  • Small motor activities such as digging and constructing in the sand area to playdough fun and finger-painting
  • Hand/Eye coordination activities such as throwing basketball in hoops, catching balls and kicking a ball.
  • Tracing patterns and having proper use of pencils, crayons and markers.
  • More Refined Scissor Skills. Able to cut a line.

 

Pre-Kindergarten

4-5 Years

Continuing to build on the skills learned in Preschool.

A special component of our pre-Kindergarten program is our focus on reading. Hooked on Phonics is the classroom tool we use whereby most of our students will grow into full independent readers by the time they enter kindergarten.

Activities that encourage language skills and social interaction:

  • Problem solving skills. Using words to communicate needs.
  • Following more complex directions. Multiple directions at a time.
  • Expand language skills by expressing needs and wants with words.
  • Children participate in circle time, longer story time, games and songs. Phonics letters and peer reading.
  • Children participate in small group activity, cooperative play and interacting with each other.
  • Complex pretend play. Expressing their ideas and acting out their thoughts.

 

Activities that encourage Hygiene/Self Help Skills:

  • Cleans up spills and cleans up after themselves.
  • Children set the table for meals.
  • Children participate in more complex cooking and science projects. Following a simple recipe and step-by-step directions. Cause and Effect.
  • Communicates an understanding of Safety Concepts and responds correctly when fire drill is occurring.

 

Activities that encourage Cognitive Development:

  • Recognition of Colors, Shapes and Numbers.
  • First and Last Name recognition.
  • Recognition of all upper and lower case letters and letter sounds. Leading up to letter blends and learning site words.
  • More complex math Skills: Number Concepts. Counting 1-10, 1 -50, then 1-100.
  • Children understanding the Calendar, and Weather Concepts.
  • Hooked on Phonics Program.

 

Activities that encourage Fine and Large Motor Development:

  • Large motor activities such as tricycle riding, balance beams, obstacle courses, galloping and skipping.
  • Scissor skills: Able to change direction with scissors and follow a pattern.
  • Small motor skills: q-tip painting.
  • Tracing letters, shapes, numbers, first and last name. Leading up to writing letters and first and last name on own.