PS-4 Readiness

Play is the underpinning foundation of all learning in preschool. Teachers set up an environment of purposeful learning centers and activities. For young children, play is their work. Each Readiness class is taught by a certified early childhood teacher and an assistant. Additional certified specialists instruct students in music and French. Art, physical education, and technology experiences are offered daily in the classroom, in the courtyard, and on the playground. Music, French, and math specialists work with teachers and students to enrich the learning experience. There is a half day or full day option with carpool pickups at noon and 3:00 p.m. The Southfield Extended Day program is available until 5:30 p.m. and early drop-off is available beginning at 7:30 a.m. Readiness students who use the Extended Day Program remain with familiar teachers and friends. They continue the Readiness experience throughout the afternoon.

Language Arts
The Readiness Language Arts program expands upon the goals of the curriculum and includes instruction in all areas of communication: listening, speaking, writing and reading. Children develop an interest in and curiosity for reading and enjoy practicing skills needed for both oral and written communication. Children hear stories many times daily and participate in varied writing experiences, as well as contributing to classroom language experience books. Weekly library time is part of the Readiness experience. The reading readiness program, “Happily Ever After,” part of the Rowland Reading Program, teaches early literacy skills through a hands-on approach.

Readiness classes use the preschool component of the school-wide University of Chicago Everyday Math Curriculum. It provides an age-appropriate, exciting, and hands-on introduction to mathematical skills in numeration, operations, patterns, functions, geometry, measurement, money, clocks, and data collection. In addtion to classroom instruction a Southfield Math Specialist visits classrooms weekly to provide engaging and challenging math activities for students. She also teaches students in whole group and small group settings and provides curriculum support.

The Readiness Science curriculum evolves from the curiosity of young children and develops from the integration of science concepts with units or themes of study in other subject areas. Teachers encourage children to learn by discovery, experimentation, and using their senses. Children explore concepts such as magnetism, temperature, states of matter, health, weather, and plant and animal life.

Social Studies
The Readiness Social Studies curriculum focuses on the study of one’s self, the family, and the world around them. Thematic units incorporate art, music, drama, and cooking to provide fun and meaningful experiences. Children prepare and act out the First Thanksgiving Feast, study Native Americans, construct Pueblo villages, and enjoy rotating dramatic play areas in their classrooms. They participate in monthly school-wide Flag Ceremonies and the Southfield Civilization Fair.

Technology is applied to learning in the Readiness classrooms partly through the student use of science equipment such as balances, magnets, and scales. Children also use multimedia equipment such as audio players as well as iPads. Use of passive media such as television and DVDs is extremely rare and limited to developmentally appropriate programming. Teachers are purposeful with technology experiences and encourage children to enjoy these opportunities with friends so that they build both cognitive and social skills.

Readiness children visit a certified music specialist each day and enjoy opportunities to learn about a variety of forms of music in a program that nurtures creativity, expression of feelings, self-esteem, and the ability to cooperate with others. Their musical experience includes singing, movement, playing instruments, folk dance, listening skills, and music appreciation. The program integrates music and classroom instruction to support primary curriculum themes. Additionally, the school’s orchestra director visits the classes for a “composer of the month” study of classical composers.

Readiness students use classroom centers and experiences to explore dramatic roles in play and learn cooperation skills. Children participate in holiday programs and in the school-wide Civilization Fair. In May, their year culminates with a traditional Maypole performance which blends music, dance, and poetry recitation.

Readiness students receive instruction in French twice weekly from a certified French teacher. This content-based program centers upon the use of stories and music as contexts for language acquisition. Children learn greetings, responses, simple commands, weather words, and other basic conversational French.

Art in the Readiness classrooms is integrated into every curriculum area and focuses more on process than product. Children delight in a variety of artful experiences each day involving varied media such as tempera, watercolor, clay, dough, glue, paper, and markers. They experiment with forms of collage, drawing, printing, and construction. Immersion in the art experience through hands-on activities develops improved motor skills, enthusiasm, and an appreciation for art.

Physical Education

Physical Education for the Readiness child is on-going throughout each school day. Children develop motor ability and skills of cooperation during daily outdoor play times, in courtyard play, in music-movement activities, and in daily classroom activities designed to promote balance, flexibility, endurance, and small motor strength. Children are enthusiastic as they develop competence in motor ability, fitness, and personal social interaction.