Parents and Guardians
This guide provides an overview of what your child will be learning in Preschool. Our curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Frameworks and the Preschool Early Learning Guidelines. These academic standards, and the curricular approaches adopted by Somerville Public Schools are important as they support kindergarten readiness and life-long learning for our children. The detailed Frameworks and Guidelines are available at: www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks and www.eec.state.ma.us/docs1/curriculum/20030401_preschool_early_learning_guidelines.pdf
Our goal is to ensure that children are engaged in challenging, interesting, joyful, play-based experiences as well as structures and routines that create community and a safe place to learn. Our two preschool programs – SMILE and the Early Childhood Intervention Program – support every child in preparing for kindergarten. Teachers develop day-to-day classroom instruction based on individual student needs and interests.
Preschool classrooms include:
- Large and small group meeting spaces
- Block building spaces
- Dramatic play spaces
- Library spaces
- Drawing and writing spaces
- Sensory and fine motor spaces
- Math spaces
- Science spaces
- Art spaces
- Cozy quiet spaces
How can I support my child's learning at home?
- Engage your child in conversation about school, family activities, the world around you. Visit the Family Talk campaign webpage for ideas.
- “Tell me about something special you did today.”
- “What center did you work in today?”
- “Who did you play with today?”
- Read with your child in your home language, or multiple languages, every day.
- Talk about family experiences, histories, stories.
- Spend time playing with your child – drawing, building, pretending.
- Invite your child to help with home tasks such as table setting and preparing meals.
- Contact your child's teacher with any questions or concerns.
- Attend Parent Teacher Conferences.
- Check your child's folder each day.
English Language Arts
Somerville Public Schools uses a Balanced Literacy Approach to address the needs of all students. “Balance” means teachers draw from multiple resources and activities tailored to children's diverse learning needs throughout the day and year. Balance also means children are engaged in whole group and small group work with teachers, and can independently choose from a range of activities from the classroom writing center. Learn more at the Language and Literacy Section of the Somerville Early Education website
During Preschool, children will:
- Listen to stories.
- Respond to Questions about stories .(http://somervilleearlyeducation.blogspot.com/2017/10/dialogic-reading.html)
- Play with sounds.
- Learn the names of letters and sounds that go with them.
- Match sounds/letters to objects or pictures.
- Mark make, scribble, draw, and attempt writing letters, their name, and words.
- Develop hand strength and fine motor dexterity.
- Hold a writing tool.
- Communicate through messages.
- Tell stories.
- Journal by drawing, dictating a story, and labeling pictures.
- Begin sounding out and writing words using invented spelling (for ex., dg=dog).
How can I support my child's literacy learning at home?
- Read to your child daily and talk about the pictures and the story.
- Sing songs and play with rhyming words in your home language.
- Make sure you have paper, pencils, crayons – little notebooks are great too.
- Encourage your child to tell you a story and write it down for them.
- Write words to go with your child’s drawings.
- Encourage your child to write a message, thank you note, make a shopping list.
- Limit screen time and offer real books.
Somerville uses the Building Blocks math curriculum. Children experience math daily by counting things in the environment, going on a shape walk, trips to the grocery store, sorting socks, and counting out Cheerios. All of this is “doing mathematics”. At school, children engage in real world experiences like figuring out how many blocks it takes to go across the classroom or graphing which kind of apples people in the class like. Learn more at the Math Section of the Somerville Early Ed Math website.
During Preschool, children will:
- Sort and classify collections of objects.
- Learn to count things, identifying numerals.
- Identify and make patterns.
- Identify and play with shapes.
- Measure things in the classroom using common objects such as cubes or paper clips.
- Read and create graphs and surveys to collect information.
- Join/add numbers together to create bigger quantities, counting on from one number to a higher number.
How can I support my child's mathematical thinking at home?
- Count things around the home (silverware, socks, food, common objects).
- Ask, “How many…?” “How long…?”
- Count things during trips to the grocery store.
- Find shapes and patterns when in the bus, car, and on walks.
This is what ‘doing math’ looks like!
Somerville Public Schools supports the social and emotional learning of all students with the Second Step curriculum. Social and emotional learning is primary to building long-term school success.
During Preschool, children will:
- Develop independence and self-help skills such as cleaning up and putting on coats and backpacks.
- Care for their classroom.
- Learn to follow classroom routines and norms.
- Listen to adults and friends.
- Remember and follow directions.
- Make friends and learn to join social groups.
- Recognize and manage emotions.
- Solve social problems.
- Ask for help appropriately.
- Practice self-regulation and focus.
How can I support my child’s social and emotional development at home?
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep.
- Provide your child with opportunities for sharing and playing.
- Ask your child to follow simple one and two step directions.
- Teach your child self help skills such as dressing.
- Identify emotions (“I know you are sad because we can’t go to the playground, but we will go another time. Today we will play at home.”)
- Communicate directly with your child’s teacher if your child experiences changes to their home life or routines and/or if your child reports social challenges at school.
Arts, Social Studies, Science, Technology, and Engineering
Young children learn best through an integrated approach that supports the development of the whole child. Teachers engage children through questions and activities that are designed to support wonder, discovery, and exploration of Big Ideas.
During Preschool children:
- Ask questions.
- Test out ideas.
- Gather information.
- Explore materials and experimenting.
- Draw, talk, and write about what they discover.
- Share ideas with others.
- Use hands-on materials and resources to explore Big Ideas and concepts such as:
- What makes things move?
- How can we change the speed or direction of an object?
- What makes things (plants, our bodies) grow and change?
- How do colors change?
- What makes a shadow?
- Who is in our community?
- How do people get to school, to different places?
There are many forms of assessing children’s learning. Teachers interact with children and observe children carefully to learn about what children know and are able to do. In addition, Somerville preschoolers have two report cards, in January and June, and teachers assess children using various tools leading up to the report periods. Prior to or at the beginning of preschool entry, all children are screened using a simple, fun screening tool called the Early Screening Inventory. Classroom assessment tools and the preschool report card are on our curriculum website. www.somervilleearlyed.com/documentation