The First-grade instructional program at Villa Maria Academy Lower School is committed to helping each…
Villa Maria Academy’s Early Learning Center is a vibrant, Catholic learning environment for 3 and 4-year-old girls and boys who gain a readiness for formal learning and social engagement through play and age-appropriate academic, explorative experiences which develop pre-reading and math skills preparing them for Kindergarten. Children learn to know themselves as loved by God and to recognize that each person is special, and all are capable learners. A cooperative learning environment offers each child developmental opportunities that foster a sense of community, responsibility and leadership from an early age.
Preschool and PreKindergarten classes typically range between 10-18 children with a head-teacher and a classroom aide at all times. As the class day begins at 9:00 all children enjoy outside playground time upon arrival between 8:25 and 8:50 (weather permitting). Instruction begins with morning message, greeting classmates and prayer during circle time. In this manner all children learn a set routine for the start of each day which allows them to be independent, aware of others, and a responsible helper to keep things in order. Math and Language Arts concepts are embedded in circle time.
The theme-based curriculum for 3s class is language rich to assist in building good vocabulary. They actively engage in retelling personal experiences by creating their own version of books which includes simple pre-writing activities. Children enjoy exploring letter sounds through hands-on kinesthetic activities and use the Handwriting without Tears program to learn to form uppercase letters and shapes. Math and science concepts are woven into the circle time activities as well as individual or small group work at centers. Counting and recognizing number order is seamlessly woven throughout the day’s activities. The 3s enjoy gym and music class each week with library and Spanish bi-weekly. Children learn weekly gospel stories and are guided to make application of these lessons in their daily life in class and at home. Children celebrate each other as the “Star of the Week” and often welcome guest readers to class (when restrictions allow).
The 3s students enjoy lunch together as a family and a rest period in the afternoon.
Children in the PreKindergarten class continue the use of Handwriting without Tears program refining their early printing skills. Use of the alpha friend letter characters is used to stimulate the recognition and application of sounds as children begin the decoding of simple words. Children enjoy literature selections and consistent lessons which build phonemic and phonological awareness. Opportunities to recognize quantities and use numbers begin with calendar activities each day and is reinforced throughout the day. PreK students also enjoy time at centers which includes exploration of math, language and fun every day. The afternoon session for PreK is spent in enrichment activities that reinforce concepts of the morning session, special projects and some time for relaxing with 20-minute video of yoga enacted in colorful story form and movement. During the school day, students also enjoy Villa’s Added Value classes (AVC classes) of music, Spanish, library, gym and art (our 3s class does not attend art as a separate class).
PreK children do take a field trip accompanied by parents in both fall and spring (when restrictions allow).
Preschool and PreK children participate in the Halloween parade, Grandparents Day, Christmas concert, Pajama & Pancake Day, Donuts w/ Special Valentine, Service projects, Mother’s Day Tea and more! Several of these activities have been postponed or re-imagined this past year due to restrictions.
Dismissal for the Early Learning Center students is at 3:00 PM.
The Early Learning Center at Villa Maria Academy is well known for its dedicated teachers and staff who always have the heart of the young child in mind. Communication with parents is paramount to each child’s success. The online Seesaw platform facilitates an additional way to connect PreK families to view their child’s classroom discoveries and explorations.
Villa has a heart for your child. If you would like more information regarding the Preschool and PreKindergarten programs at Villa Maria Academy Lower School, or to reserve your child’s place in our Villa family, please contact the Admissions Office at (610) 644-4864.