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Preschool Program

3 to 5 years

Boosting children’s curiosity and critical learning skills while having fun!

With an emphasis on social-emotional development and problem-solving skills, children at Big and Tiny engage in hands-on, meaningful learning experiences that promote critical thinking, creative solutions, and collaboration. Children’s curiosity is combined with a guided investigative approach to immerse children in the process and joy for learning and discovery.

Program Objectives

Teaching students how to think critically

Through inquiry-based learning, students build their comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills. Continuous use of their cognitive skills helps not only in class, but in day-to-day life. Our pedagogy allows young learners to take ownership of their learning, engage with the material and deepen their understanding of topics. With constant, individualized support from their teachers, students explore and discover to develop greater mastery of skills and concepts.

  • Understanding the relationships between ideas, to grasp the process of cause and effect and improving their analytical skills

  • Following the Inquiry-based learning steps: Observe, question, investigate, conclude, share and reflect

  • Developing problem-solving skills and critical thinking

  • Matching, comparing, sorting, and organizing skills

Cognitive Development

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At this age, learners’ vocabulary expands quickly. Our goal is to help children solve problems and learn fundamental concepts. Through open-ended questions and visual thinking strategies, children develop conversational skills, their own ideas, and opinions as well as their own narratives and explanations.

  • Increasing their vocabulary through the use of longer and more complex sentences

  • Having conversations with each other through a variety of activities

  • Responding to open-ended questions about their observations, actions, interests, events, or feelings

  • Recognizing letters and some words

  • Developing their writing skills

  • Sharing stories about their own personal experiences

  • Asking questions to foster learning

Language
& Communication

With an emphasis on social emotional development, students at Big and Tiny will form long lasting friendships, learn to communicate emotions, and to deal with challenges. Strong, positive relationships will allow children to develop trust, empathy, compassion and understanding the emotions of others. 

  • Taking turns in conversations and games

  • Showing affection, empathy and a wide range of emotions

  • Identifying and expressing feelings

  • Cooperating and playing with other children

  • Developing autonomy and independence

Social-Emotional
Growth

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Cognitive Development

Fine & Gross Motor
Skill Development

Preschoolers at Big and Tiny will continue to develop gross motor skills and larger and stronger muscles through multiple activities including yoga, dance, walking, running, climbing and balance. Children refine fine motor skills and improve their artistic and writing abilities. Continued refinement of fine motor skills, such as being able to unbutton or button clothing without help.

  • Improving artistic abilities, such as drawing, painting, sculpting and other art forms

  • Drawing large letters and numbers

  • Manipulating a wide range of supplies and materials to create art projects

  • Developing more independence in their daily activities (dressing for instance)

A day in Preschool

Let’s say hello! – Arrival

When children first arrive at Big and Tiny, they sign in for attendance, store their belongings in their cubby, remove their shoes, say goodbye to their grown-ups for the day and greet their friends. Then children review the job list that includes the responsibilities for the day (feed the pets or take care of the plants for instance) and get ready for the morning meeting.

Let’s meet! – Day group meeting 

Children gather as a whole group to build a responsive classroom in which they contribute to the expectations and plans for the day. During the meeting, new topics, issues and questions are presented and proposed for further discovery and exploration.

Let’s work! – Discovery and exploration about selected topics.

During this time children have the opportunity to work in small groups or independently on topics previously chosen. Workstations with a variety of materials are provided to allow students to work on their own projects: art, music, writing, reading materials, etc. Children can then share their findings and thoughts to the rest of the group through projects or presentations practicing their communication, confidence, reading and writing skills.

 

Let’s eat! – Snack and story

Let’s read and share! – Read-a-loud

Book sharing among students and teachers take place at different times of the day. These books are selected according to the topics that the children are working on.

Visual Thinking Strategies allow students to develop critical thinking by describing, analyzing, and interpreting imagery and information through observing and discussing visual art. Interactive story time is led by the Master Teaching Artist in residence.

 

Let’s eat! – Snack/lunch & socialization

Children come together for a nutritious meal. They are encouraged to discuss their various meals with each other, sparking thoughtful conversations about health and sustainability.

 

Let’s play and learn! – Outdoor play & active learning

Children develop large motor functions through group games, outdoor play, dancing, and community walks around the neighborhood. Appreciation for the natural world is developed through gardening, observation of seasonal changes, and exploration of living things. This time includes right brain / left-brain exercises, literacy development, and social-emotional growth.

 

Let’s explore! – Student-driven observations

Everyday, Big and Tiny educators stage thoughtful centers around the learning space as proposals for concepts of exploration, which children are free to explore and decide independently what they would like to focus on and discover. Experiences include art, sensory, science, math, literacy, blocks, sand, and water. During this time, teachers assess, observe, and document each student’s progress and interactions.

 

Let’s reflect! – End-of-day reflections

Group gathering to reflect on their work and possibilities for the next day. Time to share connections, questions, and ideas. This time often incorporates an exercise in mindfulness, gratitude, and guided movement.

 

Let’s say goodbye! – Dismissal routines

To transition to go home at the close of the day, children work together to tidy up, change their shoes, gather their belongings and say goodbye. Children are encouraged to share what they are looking forward to when they return to school.

Program available

from coast to coast


 

The program runs Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm in all our locations. 8 am to 5 pm extended day options available. 

OCEAN PARK, SANTA MONICA, LA

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BATTERY PARK, NY

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SANTA MONICA PLACE, LA

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