Classes at Bright Start
All our classes at Bright Start are using a non-denominational, developmentally appropriate curriculum that emphasizes readiness and interpersonal skills. Our goal is to foster self-esteem and independence, giving our students the confidence to conquer the world outside our school.
Classrooms are organized by "centers" that promote the various skills necessary for the room's age group. Children are able to explore these centers throughout the day, developing the specific skill for each area throughout the day. These centers may include:
Dramatic play to develop their social and communication skills
Arts and crafts to explore their creative sides and work on their fine motor skills
Building (an important STEM skill) to develop their counting, sorting, and reasoning skills, along with strengthening their gross and fine motor muscles!
Reading to allow children to look through books and practice their early literacy skills.
STEM (including, but not limited to, computer time) to develop reasoning skills that will have a real-life application when they finish their schooling. These might include a sand table, a magnet toy set, building manipulatives, sorting trays, bug or animal sets, et cetera.
Puzzles to encourage fine motor development and eye-hand coordination. Additionally, students develop higher-order thinking skills that can be applied in the math and sciences.
Our classrooms also emphasize project-based learning, rather than a firm focus on worksheets. Children are more motivated to learn when the final project is something they built on their own in a creative and engaging way. Students are proud of the work they accomplish and want to show it off, creating self-esteem in a way worksheets just cannot. Not to mention, it's more fun!
The “Little Ones”
This class is structured to look like an in-home program, with a small teacher to child ratio. The Little Ones Class provides physical activities that will support large and small muscle development. We will provide a safe and attractive environment for the children by arranging the classroom to stimulate their learning skills and explore the world around them.
Specific goals we have for this age group include:
Story Skills: Children explore simple board books, gaining exposure to new words for their burgeoning vocabularies.
Academic Skills: Age-appropriate activities include introducing them to colors and shapes.
Communication Skills: Toddlers begin to use simple words to express needs, wants, people, and objects.
Gross Motor Skills: Children learn to navigate their body through their classroom, practicing crawling, pulling themselves up, and walking.
Social/Emotional Skills: Children forge relationships with their classmates and caretakers, learning to feel safe in an environment away from their parents.
Fine Motor and Self-Care Skills: When they are ready, children will begin feeding themselves simple finger foods using their hands or utensils, depending on their age.
Click here to see what we do with the Little Ones!
Two and a Half Year Olds
The Two and a half-year-old room is filled with art, music, dance, books, and play. The children are introduced to their colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. The class has various themes throughout the year, including books, seasons, and holidays.
Specific goals we have for this age group include:
Story Skills: In this class, the children listen to stories on our rug and act out finger plays.
Letter Skills: Children at this class begin singing their ABCs and identifying their first letters.
Name: We work on identifying our specific names.
Cutting: At this age, we emphasize building cutting skills by using play dough and scissors. As they gain proficiency, they will start snipping into paper.
Writing: Our children begin their writing journey by learning to hold a crayon and scribbling to make marks on a piece of paper.
Communication Skills: Children at this age are just starting to build their vocabulary. They learn their first words and make their first sentences. If they are "having a problem", we work on expressing that through words.
Math Skills: Children begin to work on their one-to-one correspondence, identifying their shapes, and comparing the sizes of objects.
STEAM Skills: Children have their first experiences with STEM by using blocks and other building manipulatives. They explore and interact with their immediate environment. They start using simple tools to learn cause and effect, like a shovel and bucket in the sandbox.
Gross Motor Skills: Children just learning to walk will also begin exploring the other things their body can do like throwing, running, and jumping.
Social/Emotional Skills: Children gain confidence in their first inter-peer relationships.
Self-Care Skills: Children practice feeding themselves using child-safe forks and spoons. Many children will potty train during this class. All children begin washing their own hands under the supervision of their teacher.
Click here to see what happens in the Two and a Half Year Old Class!
Three Year Olds
The Three-year-old room emphasizes learning through play, fostering a strong sense of self-esteem. The room is filled with kids crafting, using play dough, crayons, scissors, glue, and paints. Students explore puzzles and manipulative toys. Children take turns, play, and share with one another. Using our words to effectively communicate is stressed. Circle Time activities include the days of the week and the calendar, reinforcing colors, shapes, letters, numbers, singing, dancing, and story time.
Specific goals for this class include:
Story Skills: Children retell simple stories read to them. They also start engaging with higher level stories during Circle Time. They sit and listen quietly to stories. The can recall specific details. Letter Skills: Children start recognizing both upper and lower case letters.
Name: Children begin writing their first names with a capital letter and lowercase letters to follow.
Cutting: Children cut simple objects independently with the teacher's guidance.Writing: Children's writing becomes more "recognizable" as you'll notice simple shapes showing up in their scribbles.
Communication Skills: Their vocabularies are expanding, and they are using language to more effectively communicate their needs. Children articulate their needs and emotions in sentences. They also begin forging their first real relationships with their peers. They learn to communicate during play by negotiating over toys. We introduce dramatic play situations for the children to further build their vocabulary through acting out roles. Students are learning to take turns when speaking.
Math Skills: Students practice sequencing and sorting skills, counting items up to ten, recognizing numbers, and identifying why a group of items are the same and why they might be different.
STEAM Skills: Children "engineer" structures using a variety of building manipulatives, like bristle blocks, Legos, and wooden blocks. The engage in hands-on scientific exploration when we plant seeds and bake bread.
Gross Motor Skills: Students continue to learn what their big muscles are capable by practicing new skills like balancing on one foot, hopping, and throwing/kicking balls.
Social/Emotional Skills: Children start solving their own interpersonal problems using words and sharing strategies like taking turns.
Self-Care Skills: Children feed themselves, take care of their own business in the potty, and zipper their own coats.
Click here to see what happens in the Three-Year-Old Class!
The goal of the pre-kindergarten class is to adequately prepare the children for the following academic year. The two teachers work in tandem teaching Language Arts and Mathematics through small-group instruction based on each child's individually achieved academic milestones.
Students will learn about a variety of Science and Social Studies topics throughout the school year, including Earth Science, Astronomy, the United States, Cultural Diversity, the Human Body, Plants and Animals, Artists and Musicians, and Dinosaurs.
Lastly, we hope to foster independence and good self-esteem in our students by teaching them to take care of their basic needs in the bathroom and in dressing, along with classroom skills like sitting for Circle Time and unpacking their lunches, and routines for working in whole and small group instruction. These are the “little things” that prepare our students for elementary school.
Specific goals for this class include:
Story Skills: Students are retelling stories read at Circle Time in their own words. They also can sequence simple three- and four-part stories. They can identify story elements, like characters, the setting, basic plot points, predict something coming up in the story, and read the emotional state of a character at a single point in the story.
Letter Skills: Students identify both upper and lower case letters, along with their sounds. We use the Wilson's Fundations drill cards to teach this, just like the surrounding school districts.
Name: Students learn to write their first (and often their last) name using standard lowercase letters from memory.
Cutting: Students refine and build on the skills learned in the Three-Year-Old class by cutting more intricate shapes out. We also work a lot with play dough scissors so we can build the important hand strength needed to wield a writing utensil successfully when we begin writing.
Writing: Students begin writing letters using the Handwriting Without Tears program. Once we master that, we begin writing using the four Fundations lines, the sky, plane, grass, and worm lines. Pre-K students will also maintain a journal throughout the year. We practice constructing our first names from our letters, then writing them, before moving onto our last names.
Communication Skills: Students are better able to articulate their needs and emotions. They also use more advanced interpersonal strategies when interacting with their peers.
Math Skills: Students can identify numbers from 0-30+ and can often count much higher once they learn the numbers’ “pattern”. We practice "skip counting" by tens. Students work together to make class graphs. They gain proficiency in pre-math skills like patterning, sequencing, and sorting. This class also explores measurement in greater detail, studying concepts of volume and temperature, in addition to length, height, and weight. Students will also begin writing numbers 0-9 and the difference between 2D and 3D shapes. Students are introduced to the “ten-frame” they will see throughout their Kindergarten year, even using it to understand the concepts of “one or two more” and “one or two less”, a form of early addition and subtraction.
STEAM Skills: Students begin working with even smaller building manipulatives than the Three-Year-Old class. The classroom is also stocked with engineering-specific sets like our marble run, magnet sets, and letter/number construction kits. Our students explore new modes of technology like microscopes, magnifying glasses, and weight balances.
Gross Motor Skills: Students learn even more advanced gross motor skills, like climbing play equipment and swinging from bars. They will also refine their skills during their gym and dance classes.
Social/Emotional Skills: Students work on controlling their emotions and using more advanced methods of dealing with issues that arise during the school day. They are better at sharing and taking turns. Instead of asking for a teacher's help negotiating their problems, they are often successful in managing disputes on their own.
Self-Care Skills: Students are independent in the bathroom. They dress themselves entirely, from the snaps on their pants, the velcro on their shoes, and the zipper on their coats. They unpack their own lunch boxes and feed themselves, practicing for the elementary school cafeterias that are in their near future!
Click here to see examples of the educational work we do in the Pre-K classroom!