The most important task of a pre-school facility is to provide the ideal learning environment for its students. A safe, warm, caring, nurturing and stimulating environment best facilitates the learning process. Within safety and warmth, children can explore their limitless potential without fear, and with the knowledge that their achievement will be recognized as valuable.
Although children need ample space and time to assure autonomy and foster a sense of freedom, boundaries are just as important to them in maintaining a sense of safety and stability.
Consequently, a fine balance between freedom and structure must be met to achieve the ideal learning environment. Open spaces and free choices stimulate creativity, while structure provides safety and orderliness for both mind and body. A structured environment need not be a stifling one. Instead, it helps generate sound reasoning, clear thought processes and academic achievement. Academic readiness is accomplished through the mastery of social interaction, gross motor coordination and fine motor coordination, and the synthesis of these three major skills.
Through outdoor play children are encouraged socially and physically to explore their environment. Nature is exhilarating and stimulating; its presence is richly motivating to the pre-school child. Its absence is sorely felt and detrimental to the learning process. Running, jumping, dancing, etc., are integral parts of the preschooler’s daily routine, and these needs should be addressed in the pre-school program.
As important to learning as gross motor skills are, fine motor skills are precursors to reading readiness. Eye-hand coordination, manipulating fine objects such as scissors, glue sticks, chalk, crayons and clay contribute greatly to reading readiness.
Music adds a sense of joy and well-being to young children’s school day. The musical activity is one that becomes integrated within their home life. Hearing songs at home sung in school previously adds positive reinforcement to the entire school experience. Music is another way to practice gross motor skills and fine motor skills, as well as social skills. In playing with various rhythm instruments and engaging in various musical experiences a child’s world is thoroughly enriched. Songs also play a unique role in teaching and reinforcing subject matters:
counting songs, nature songs, circle songs (encouraging social interaction).
Aside from the aesthetic value music and art provide, they are functions of the right side of the brain. Where language and other skills are function of the left brain, in providing rich experiences in music and art, we are enabling youngsters to develop their entire brain. At such a young age, this plays a key role in allowing the right brain to compensate for deficiencies in left brain functioning (such as speech and language, and cognitive skills) should trauma occur to that hemisphere.
In all, the creative arts are most valuable in serving as a media through which infinite learning can take place. It also provides an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, which helps facilitate a warm and friendly learning environment.
It is the obligation of a capable and dedicated teaching staff to provide the students with a warm and caring environment, a stimulating and motivating academic program, and a well-rounded exposure to all of the creative arts.