Second Presbyterian Preschool is designed to meet the developmental needs of infants and young children. We provide experiences that enrich and enhance each child’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, physical, creative, and faith development. Each child will have daily opportunities to create, explore, problem-solve, interact, and learn new concepts through first-hand, hands-on experiences. Staff provides care that is supportive, nurturing, warm and responsive to each child’s individual needs. We believe parents, as the most important caregivers and nurturers, and teachers should become partners in children’s care and education.
The classroom is divided in learning centers which support the development of skills in such areas as language, math, science, blocks, music, art, sensory experiences, gross and fine motor, and dramatic play. Each area contains materials and equipment appropriate to the children’s development levels. The teacher’s guide and encourage children to explore and learn in each of these areas while implementing the curriculum through meaningful play. As teachers facilitate and participate in children’s play, the children achieve specific learning outcomes, develop problem solving strategies and enhance their curiosity and sense of discovery.
The goal in the classroom is to help children develop their potential socially, emotionally, and intellectually. In accordance with the philosophy and curriculum goals of the school, the staff provides carefully planned activities in each learning center as well as at large and small group times. Both the materials and activities in the environment are designed to:
- Develop children’s ability to solve, follow directions, develop and increase their attention span, encourage interest in both fine and gross motor skills, use imagination, assert their wishes, demonstrate appropriate social and emotional responses, and enjoy exploring and expanding their curiosity.
- Prepare children for their Kindergarten year, using developmental appropriate practices while fostering independence, critical thinking, cooperative learning and social skills.
- Prepare children for their Kindergarten year using a designed curriculum that combines advanced pre-kindergarten concepts with introductory kindergarten standards. This supports each child as they develop emerging skills in the areas of language and literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, creative exploration, and technology, while fostering social and emotional growth.
Second Presbyterian Preschool follows the guidelines of the Early Childhood Standards of Quality developed by the Department of Education in the state of Arkansas as well as the standards of NAEYC when developing its curriculum.
Second Presbyterian Preschool is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We adhere to all of the NAEYC guidelines which include ten standards and over 400 criteria. Our program is among the select few in the state who have undergone this comprehensive process of internal study and self-improvement. Second Presbyterian Preschool is also licensed by the state of Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and exceeds all state requirements.
Our teaching staff consists of educators with degrees in early childhood education, child development, or other related fields of education. All are trained in the best practices of early education and have extensive experience working with young children. In addition to their academic training, the staff also participates in ongoing professional training and development. Teachers attend monthly planning meetings, professional conferences, and are encouraged to visit and observe other programs and early childhood centers. Staff members are CPR and First Aid certified.
As a licensed center, we are governed by the Licensing Rules for Child Care Centers set by the State of Arkansas, Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS establishes child/teacher ratio requirements. Second Presbyterian Preschool sets ratios below the state requirement, to ensure optimal learning opportunities for the children in our programs:
- Infants: One (1) teacher for every 4 infants.
- Toddlers and Twos: One (1) teacher for every 6 children.
- Preschool: One (1) teacher for every 9 children.
Second Presbyterian Preschool considers discipline to be part of the educational experience for the child. We believe that each child needs to develop the skills to be self-disciplined. The teachers provide children with consistency, choices with safe boundaries, and skills and language to express needs, feelings, and emotions through appropriate behavior in a safe, nurturing, and positive environment. Positive methods of discipline are used to encourage self-direction, and cooperation. Teachers use redirection, logical consequences, and conversation with the child to help achieve the acceptable behaviors. Second Presbyterian Preschool does not allow, under any circumstances, punitive and/or physical punishment administered to any child and does not use “time-out”.
Second Presbyterian Preschool partners with Dr. Becky Bailey’s approach, “Conscious Discipline” as a comprehensive classroom management tool and to guide social/emotional curriculum. This research based program is based on current brain research, child development information, and developmentally appropriate practices.
During each session in preschool and pre-kindergarten, the children come together for large group to share experiences and participate in music, movement, Spanish, chapel and story. In addition, the schedule includes small group times with a focus on specifically designed to introduce new materials and/or concepts, assess development levels, and reinforce existing skills.
Each of the programs at Second Presbyterian Preschool provides nutritious snacks for children during both the morning and afternoon sessions. The snack period encourages children to build independent skills and supports good nutrition.
We are a NUT RESTRICTED snack/lunch environment and ensure that the dietary needs of the children in our school are met.
Lunch is provided by the parents for their children so that each child is eating familiar foods, encouraging a comfortable environment.
The safety of your child is a high priority at Second Presbyterian Preschool. Systems are in place to ensure that only persons authorized by the parents in writing or listed on the emergency card will be allowed to sign-out a child from school. We require that a photo I.D. be shown by any person that a staff member is not familiar with. In addition, safety plans for all emergency situations have been established. Drills are practiced as required by the Department of Human Services (DHS), licensing for early childhood centers, so that both staff and children are aware of and familiar with procedures. All classrooms and playgrounds are secure and continually monitored by staff and security cameras.
As required by DHS, thorough background and reference checks are performed on all staff prior to hiring. All teaching staff is trained in CPR, First Aid, and emergency procedures.
Communication with families is an important part of the practices developed at Second Presbyterian Preschool. Each school year begins with a parent orientation. During the school year, monthly calendars are provided to the parents with information specific to curriculum, program events, and general school information about your child’s classroom. Teachers will provide information to parents regarding the development of their child at least once a week through verbal communication, short written notes or email.
Conferences are scheduled annually in January. During the conference, parents and teachers will discuss developmental progress, set goals, and develop ways to support each child. Parents are also encouraged to visit the classroom and participate in special events.
Our website, www.spplr.org, provides parents and potential families with program information, monthly calendars and other useful information.
All staff recognizes separation anxiety as part of appropriate development. In order to build upon existing trust, parents/guardians are encouraged to tell their child that they are leaving but will return. Lingering “good-byes” can be emotionally painful for the child so it is helpful if the time spent separating is short but supportive. After departure, parents are encouraged to contact the school and speak with a staff member to ensure their child is beginning to adjust. If the staff feel that the child is stressed, recommendations will be made to make the separation easier. Most children begin to feel more comfortable with increased attendance, as trust and familiarity with their new environment and teachers become part of the routine.
Toilet training is a normal developmental part of the preschool program and therefore children are required to be toilet trained in all 3 and 4 year old classrooms. Our teachers support parents during the child’s period of toilet training and handle this time in the classroom in a natural and positive manner, taking the lead from the child. Children are checked regularly and encouraged whenever they appear to need to use the toilet.
Communication with and by children is often done in a non-verbal manner. Children demonstrate their needs through facial expressions and other non-verbal cues, such as hand gestures and hand movements. In turn, our teaching staff is very skilled and experienced at supporting children through this type of communication.
Studies indicate that children most easily acquire a second language between birth and age six. At Second Presbyterian Preschool, children quickly learn English through peer/teacher interactions, activities such as songs and stories, and planned curriculum.