Our Program and Curriculum
The BCNS curriculum is inquiry-based, exploratory, and child-centered. While we have overall classroom themes to help interweave the two classes together, each class (Preschool and Pre-K) explores topics and materials specifically designed for their respective developmental levels along the early childhood continuum. Because children are the heart of our curriculum, sometimes classes will redirect to different topics and/or activities based on students' specific interest or inquiries.
We believe that art and play experiences are the best way to promote young children's social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic, and physical (gross and fine motor) development. Authentic learning experiences at group times such as stories, songs, finger plays, and movement exercises help to reinforce the topics explored in the classroom. The Pre-K year adds early reading activities, objective-based math activities, and weekly science lessons that focus on the use of children's five senses. The indoor and outdoor classroom experiences work together harmoniously to develop the foundational skills that children need to be confident, autonomous, lifelong learners.
SEPTEMBER: Who am I? Where do I live?
Goal #1: Children learn that we live on Bainbridge Island which is an island in the Puget Sound. We explore topics related to the ocean and seashore using literacy, math, and science concepts to deepend our understanding of the uniqueness of our community.
Goal #2: The Pre-K class also begins to discuss emotions, strategies for working through uncomfortable feelings, and specific problem-solving strategies. This remains a common theme throughout the year.
OCTOBER: What do I eat? Where does it come from?
Goal: Children learn that we have unique foods and goods because of the climate and community in which we live. We explore how the fall season affects our local harvest. We also explore the animals that provide us with these foods. Both classes visit the Suyematsu pumpkin patch to learn more about pumpkins/gourds and explore the farm.
NOVEMBER: Who lives and works in my community? How do we get from here to there?
Goal: Children learn that there are many people in our community who work hard to keep us safe, healthy, and happy. We explore some of these jobs, as well as their respective modes of transportation. Community members, such as firefighters and policemen, come to the school to provide hands-on learning for the children. The Pre-K class often goes on a field trip to the grocery store or veterinary clinic to deepen their understanding of community helpers.
DECEMBER: How do I celebrate? How do others celebrate?
Goal: Children will learn that we all have special holiday traditions that we celebrate as a family. Other families may celebrate the same holidays, but many people around the world celebrate different holidays. How are these holidays the same and how are they different?
JANUARY: What are emotions and feelings? How do they affect my actions?
Goal #1: Children learn that we have all kinds of emotions - some are comfortable and some are uncomfortable. We review and learn specific strategies for dealing with these emotions. We also review and learn specific problem solving strategies based on the needs of our students at this time.
Goal #2: Children also explore story-telling during this month. Nursery rhymes and other familiar stories are used to teach story structure as students learn to write their own stories for our special shows at the end of the month.
FEBRUARY: Who are my friends and family?
Goal #1: Children learn that our family structures are all different and important. We celebrate the unique make ups of our family and friend structures. In preparation for our pajama day, we also explore the concept of opposites - especially day and night (what happens in/around our home during the day? during the night?) - and bears (what comforts you at night?)
Goal #2: The Pre-K class explores the art of letter writing. We write letters to our families for Valentine's Day.
MARCH: Where am I in the world? In the universe?
Goal: Children learn that we live in a home on an island (Bainbridge) in a state (Washington) in a country (United States), on a continent (North America) on the planet (Earth). We explore how these places are all interconnected. A field trip is common during this month, including a trip to Teacher Leslie's farm to see her lambs and/or a visit to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
APRIL: What animals live in my community? Why are many born in the Spring?
Goal: Children learn that Spring is a time for new life. Bainbridge Island has many unique, native animals - many of which hatch from eggs. We explore these animals within the classroom as well as outside on our nature trail. We often host chicks in the classroom for about a week so the children can observe their rapid growth.
MAY: What plants and flowers grow where I live? Why?
Goal: Children learn that warm, wet Spring weather creates new life all around us. We explore the plants, flowers, vegetables, and fruits that grow natively/easily where we live. We also explore the importance of worms in helping make this growth possible. Both classes plant seeds in the school garden and tend to their growth throughout the month. A BCNS favorite this month ... mud day!
Our ClassroomAt BCNS you will encounter a magical, light-filled space designed especially with preschoolers in mind. The intentional open design of the building, high ceilings, and numerous windows create a special feeling to our space. Each corner of the room is home to an array of items to be joyfully used and explored by our students, each with its own learning intention in mind. These areas continually change so that materials are fresh and exciting to our young learners!
* Class Pet Station - a favorite of most children
* Crayon Table - this station is always available
* Art Table - changes daily with numerous process-based art activities
*"Clock Table" - changes daily and includes sensory-based and/or fine motor activities
* Fine motor table - 6 Montessori-style work stations for children (table toys)
* Science Table - Rotates monthly for hands-on observations
* Play House - imaginative play abounds (kitchen, farmers market, space ship, veterinary clinic, post office, etc!) - rotates monthly
* Blocks - need we say more?
* Sensory Tables (2) - these rotate monthly (water, rice, beans, etc) and are theme-related
* Felt and Magnet Stations - these rotate monthly and are theme-related
* Puzzles and Letters Table
* Sand and Rock Tables in the outdoor classroom
Sequence of the Day
Children rely on their school experience to be predictable and familiar. Our classroom follows the same daily routine throughout the two-year program. Once children are established, they feel empowered in their classroom because they know what event will come next.
Arrival: Children greet teachers, wash hands, and hang up their coats.
Playtime: Free choice of activity within the classroom. Special art and science projects are set out during this time.
Clean Up: Children tidy the classroom
Group Time: Children transition to the carpeted area. Group time emphasizes oral language and vocabulary, social skills, and pre-literacy (storytelling).
Snack Time: More than just a snack, children pass the basket to one another, pour their own juice, count their crackers, and practice waiting for all to be served.
Music Time: A celebration of music, movement, and rhythm. Music Time includes an incredible variety of games, dances, movements, finger plays and songs.
Outside Time: Our play yard is a magical place! Students are eager to explore our "working" playground with play structures, swings, sandbox, tunnel, activity board, garden, and more.... Outside time is rain or shine!