Curriculum

Fostering Your Child’s Educational and Emotional Growth

Overview

The curriculum at the Secret Garden is diverse and rich in content and includes art, science, math, reading, literature, music, foreign language, dance, journaling, and much more with the intention of fostering social interactions, independent play, exploration, and creativity. The school is committed to a hands-on approach; children are encouraged to explore and use their imaginations with all of our equipment and materials.

Daily class schedules are designed to give the students the opportunity to engage in independent or child-directed play/activities as well as in teacher-led group activities that build community spirit, cooperation, and social skills (sharing, listening, sharing thoughts with friends.) Typically, each class consists of the following basic components: choice time/free play, circle time, group activities (art, science, literature, dance, singing, etc.), snack, outdoor play, clean-up, journal time, and a closure circle.

Academically, the school program is designed to help children learn basic skills in math (counting, number recognition, patterns, classification skills, etc.), pre-reading (letter and sound recognition, journaling activities, etc.) and science (exploration, observation, nature collecting, hands-on experiments, cooking, etc.). These concepts are presented in all classes in developmentally-appropriate, fun, and creative ways. Art is an important tool in teaching all of these concepts; it also promotes self-expression, self-esteem, and respect for others.

Learning Objectives

Twos / Threes Classes

GOALS FOR TWOS / THREES CLASS (ages 2 1/2 +)
An introduction to a community/school

  • Respect for others
  • Respect for shared space
  • Being a part of a group
  • Social interaction and problem-solving
  • Values such as empathy, friendship, and giving are stressed

Achieved through: all activities, teacher role modeling

Language Development

  • Increase in vocabulary
  • Putting feelings/desires into words

Achieved through: stories, circle time activities, free play, encouragement and language use from teachers, singing songs, reciting children’s rhymes and fingerplays

Discovery

  • Asking questions
  • Exploring the world
  • Using all five senses

Achieved through: art tables, sensory bins, block play, outdoor play, nature tables

Confidence and Positive Self-Esteem

  • Sense of worth
  • Sense of belonging
  • Making simple choices and decisions

Achieved through: specific words of recognition from teachers (You did it!, Now the room is all clean!), choice of activities during free play, sharing thoughts and ideas at circle time, actively participating in singing and dance classes

Large and Small Motor Development

  • Exercising large muscles in legs, arms, and back
  • Using fingers and hands

Achieved through: art/drawing tables, playdough/gak, outdoor play, dance class, large motor skill equipment in the downstairs classroom, fingerplays at circle time

Self-Help Skills

  • Developing the skills to put on coats, shoes, and other outerwear
  • Taking care of some personal needs in the bathroom (washing hands, we support potty training!!)

Achieved through: encouragement and help from teachers, modeling peers who are skilled at it, lots of patience, practice and praise, parental support at home.

Fours

GOALS FOR FOURS CLASS (ages 3 +)

Creating a caring community of learners

  • Respect for others
  • Respect for shared space
  • Being a part of a group
  • Social interaction and problem-solving
  • Values such as empathy, friendship and giving are stressed

Achieved through: all activities, teacher role modeling, group and individual discussions, community service projects (food drives, fundraisers)

Language Development

  • Increase in vocabulary
  • Putting feelings/desires into words

Achieved through: stories, circle time activities, free play, encouragement and language use from teachers, singing songs, reciting children’s rhymes and fingerplays, journal activities (putting words/stories to their drawings, paintings, and other creations)

Discovery

  • Asking questions
  • Exploring the world
  • Using all five senses

Achieved through: art tables, sensory bins, block play, outdoor play, nature tables, cooking and science activities, participation in field trips and special community events

Confidence and Positive Self-Esteem

  • Sense of worth
  • Sense of belonging
  • Making simple choices and decisions
  • Sense of independence and control in projects (encouragement of open-ended projects that are self-designed and constructed)

Achieved through: specific words of recognition from teachers (You did it!, Now the room is all clean!), choice of activities during free play, sharing thoughts and ideas at circle time, actively participating in singing and dance classes, independent use of art and building type materials

Large and Small Motor Development

  • Exercising large muscles in legs, arms, and back
  • Using fingers and hands

Achieved through: art/drawing tables, playdough/gak, outdoor play, dance class, large motor skill equipment in the downstairs classroom, fingerplays at circle time, cooking and science activities

Cognitive/Academic Development

  • Recognition of letters of the alphabet (upper case letters)
  • Recognition of one’s own name (possibly other names of significance, i.e., Mom, Dad, etc.)
  • Increase in counting, sorting, matching skills, counting up to 10
  • Recognition of shapes, colors, and patterns
  • Introduction to the idea of self-portraits

Achieved through: circle time activities, journal time, games, songs, rhymes, felt board activities, art activities, themed monthly units (ie. bugs, farm animals, harvest)

Self-Help Skills

  • Further developing the skills to put on own coats, shoes and other articles of clothing
  • Taking care of personal needs in the bathroom (washing hands, using toilet if applicable, we support potty training)

Achieved through: encouragement and assistance from teachers, modeling peers who are skilled at it, lots of patience, practice and praise, parental support at home

Personal Awareness

  • Knows first and last name
  • Knows how old he/she is

Achieved through: peer and teacher interaction and parental support at homes

 

 

 

Pre-K

GOALS FOR PRE-K CLASS (ages 4 +)

Creating a caring community of learners

  • Respect for others
  • Respect for shared space
  • Being a part of a group
  • Social interaction and problem-solving
  • Values such as empathy, friendship, and giving are stressed
  • Social accountability and responsibility

Achieved through: all activities, classroom job responsibilities, teacher role modeling, group and individual discussions, community service projects (food drives, fundraising for global organizations, visits to senior centers, children’s homes)

Language Development

  • Increase in vocabulary
  • Putting feelings/desires into words

Achieved through: stories, circle time activities, free play, encouragement and language use from teachers, singing songs, writing center activities, "author's chair" (oral presentations of drawings/stories), reciting children’s rhymes and fingerplays, acting out stories and performing puppet shows, journal activities (putting words/stories to their drawings, paintings, and other creations)

Discovery

  • Asking questions
  • Exploring the world
  • Using all five senses

Achieved through: art tables, sensory bins, block play, outdoor play, nature tables, cooking and science activities, participation in field trips and special community events

Confidence and Positive Self-Esteem

  • Sense of worth
  • Sense of belonging
  • Making choices and decisions
  • Sense of independence and control in projects (encouragement of open-handed projects that are self-designed and constructed)

Achieved through: specific words of recognition from teachers, choice of activities during free play, sharing thoughts and ideas at circle time, actively participating in singing and dance classes, independent use of art and building type materials

Large and Small Motor Development

  • Exercising large muscles in legs, arms, and back
  • using fingers and hands
  • Making choices and decisions
  • Sense of independence and control in projects (encouragement of open-handed projects that are self-designed and constructed)

Achieved through: art/drawing tables, playdough/gak, outdoor play, dance class, large motor skill equipment in the downstairs classroom, fingerplays at circle time,

cooking and science activities

Cognitive/Academic Development

  • Recognition of letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case letters)
  • Recognition of the sounds of the letters for pre-reading skills development
  • Recognition of one’s own name (possibly other names of significance, i.e., Mom, Dad, etc.)
  • Recognition of numerals 1 through 100, counting by 1's, 5's, and 10's
  • Increase in counting, sorting, matching skills
  • Recognition of shapes, colors, and patterns
  • Continuation of "journaling" activity (storytelling and drawing)
  • Introduction to the idea of self-portraits
  • Ability to write first (possibly last) name and also small words that are personally important to them
  • Ability to draw stick figures to represent people

Achieved through: circle time activities including "name of the week" and "letter bags", journal time, games, songs, rhymes, alphabet bag activity, felt board activities art activities, calendar activities, "thematic books" (a book about space, the human body, etc. that is a take-home reminder of our discoveries, thoughts, drawings, etc. somewhat like a journal a personal journal with a theme)

Self-Help Skills

  • Further developing the skills to put on own coats, shoes, and other articles of clothing
  • Taking care of personal needs in the bathroom (washing hands, using toilet)

Achieved through: encouragement and assistance from teachers, modeling peers who are skilled at it, lots of patience, practice and praise, parental support at home

Personal Awareness

  • Knows first and last name
  • Knows how old he/she is
  • Knows birth date
  • Knows address and phone number (usually something mastered in kindergarten)

Achieved through: peer and teacher interactions and conversations and parental support at home

FAQs

What is the student to teacher ratio and how many children are in each class?

It depends on which class you are enrolled in but in general, each classroom has two teachers. In our twos / threes classes, we have up to 12 children (ratio of 1:6), in our fours classes, we have up to 12 children (ratio of 1:6), and in our Pre-K classes, we have up to 16 children (ratio of 1:8).

Does my child need to be potty trained?

Your child does not need to be potty trained to enroll at the Secret Garden Preschool. Our teachers are well-versed in helping with this area of development and will work with you to complete the process. We do ask that you keep your child’s cubby stocked with wipes and pull-ups.

What enrichment classes do you offer?

We are so proud to offer a program rich in both science and the arts. Because of our director’s strong science background, our curriculum, especially at the Pre-K level, includes many science-related activities. In addition, starting with the twos / threes classes, we bring in dance and music specialists once a week. Beginning with the fours classes and continuing into Pre-K, we have dance, music, and foreign language specialists each week.

Do you have a flex schedule where we can choose which days/hours our child attends?

Our days and times are set in order to provide a rich curriculum for all of our children. Each week’s plan is created with a balance of activities that is accomplished by having a predictable schedule for the teachers to follow. Check out our class schedules under the "Enrollment" tab.

How much outdoor time do the kids have?

The teachers often use the outdoor areas to transition between activities so the kids are outside at least one time each day. On nicer days, the teachers incorporate more outdoor time either as free play or as part of the curriculum.

What is your philosophy on discipline and how do you handle difficult situations?

The disciplinary method that we employ at our school is based on the “Positive Discipline” books written by Jane Nelsen. Basically, it involves teaching children how to be respectful and responsible members of a community. Since so much of a preschool child’s development hinges on their social and emotional growth, one of the most important jobs as a teacher at the Secret Garden is to model and teach behaviors that are kind and respectful to all.

Our teachers use kind but clear examples of respectful and compassionate behaviors to help children learn these important social skills. We also use lots of positive encouragement and praise as our students practice and ultimately acquire these important social skills. A key component of this philosophy is that all children feel that they are important and contributing members of our community which is accomplished by encouraging children to listen to and express their feelings with each other so that they can resolve conflicts in a compassionate way through dialogs and cooperation.

What is your overall philosophy on teaching?

Our teaching philosophy focuses on social and emotional development. You can read more about our philosophy here.

What kind of credentials or characteristics do you look for in your teachers?

First and foremost, each teacher must be able to engage and inspire our students in a safe and supportive manner. We expect our teachers to have a BA, preferably in a child-related area. In addition, they must show an interest in early childhood development. Many of our teachers are graduate students studying child counseling or child psychology or students studying to be teachers.

What type of child thrives in your program?

Children this age are generally curious and excited to learn new things. We provide lots of hands-on activities and child-directed play to meet those needs. Many different types of children thrive in our program and we encourage parents to ask questions and inform us about their child’s specific needs.

What is your Covid-19 Policy?

The Secret Garden refers to the King County, WA guidelines for early learning and child learning centers to help keep our community safe and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.