What is Kids Play Today?
Kids Play Today is a Scaffold School. This means that our preschool classes have been created in a way that allows children to practice and learn those skills that will prepare them for success when they transition to each new classroom and finally to Kindergarten. Although age plays a role in placement, time is set aside daily for children to participate in learning activities that are not based on age, so that varied age groups can learn with and from each other.
Every classroom has a curriculum and follows daily plans to meet student goals. However, what is valued in each classroom are the developmental skills that are appropriate for each child based on age and ability. For example, our 2 year old classroom completes a daily craft activity. It is based on the theme of the week and demonstrates science and math skills. However, what is valued when students are making the craft is squeezing the glue bottle, sitting at the table for 2 minutes, cleaning their hands, asking for help, and transitioning to the next activity because these are the developmentally appropriate skills for a 2 year old. In addition, those that can sit longer are encouraged to, those that squeeze excess glue on a project are allowed, and if a child is “done” after one minute even with gentle encouragement, they are allowed to be done with their project of gluing black and white feathers on a penguin.
What Scaffolding allows us to do is deliver a rich curriculum of science, math, reading and writing to children in ways that they are ready for and that will prepare them for tomorrow!
How does Kids Play Today teach?
At Kids Play Today, we believe that a true education provides children with the opportunity to think, play, discover, and experiment with all aspects of their world in a safe and healthy environment. Children in our classes work at their own pace to achieve individual goals set by our staff. That means we provide the activity, materials, setting, enthusiasm and encouragement so that curious children are excited to investigate and learn.
We provide exposure to an array of materials to stimulate the development of the whole child. This approach gives children the opportunity to learn using their own personal learning style. From circle time to craft, from free play to educational centers, children are encouraged to explore, experiment and observe as they work toward their daily goals.
Since all children learn in different ways and may exhibit strengths in different types of intelligences, our activities are presented using a variety of stimuli and modalities including:
- Visual: Using a print rich environment and bright, colorful materials, toys, pictures and books, are all important for visual learning.
- Tactile: Sand, beans, dirt, snow and ice are used in a variety of ways for those who may learn best through touch.
- Auditory: Read-Alouds, sing-alongs and participating in social conversations are ways to gain knowledge for auditory learning.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: Some children benefit from using their bodies to learn. Pretending to grow like a flower, wiggling like a worm in the dirt or expressive dance to music provides these children with valuable experiences.
Each class includes a developmentally based craft, circle time, singing, movement, free play, story time, snack and the following educational centers:
What curriculum does Kids Play Today follow?
Kids Play Today follows the Essentials curriculum. Essentials is a total curriculum created by Rosemarie Schoepp. Its philosophy is based on the findings of leading early childhood theorists such as Jean Piaget (Theory of developmental stages and process of assimilating new experiences with prior knowledge ), Lev Vygotsky, (Theory that the formation of individual abilities takes place through relations with others and that it is socially meaningful activity that shapes an individual’s makeup) Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligence theory where children learn through a variety of methods, though they may excel in only a few of his eight modalities) Maria Montessori (Theory showing the importance of including sensorial materials and practical life activities in the preschool environment) and contemporary Lilian Katz ( Proponent of the Project Approach to early childhood education which incorporates project work as an important part of the larger curriculum.)
The Essentials content is based on a combination of leading preschool curriculums that focus on the importance of play, curiosity, self pacing, social interactions, core knowledge and research driven projects.
Its appeal is based on the leading experts in fun– The children of Pike, Wayne, Sussex and Montague counties!!
How does the Essentials curriculum work?
The Essentials curriculum uses weekly themes to practice developmental skills, while introducing academic topics, and it is all disguised as fun! The following is an example of a lesson that might be used in our 2 year old class:
Theme of Spring Flowers
Developmental Skill: Developing imagination and exploring dramatic play- flower costumes are placed in the dramatic play center after practicing as a class how a flower can start as a seed, grow roots and a stem, form a bulb and bloom.
Science: Plants and flowers- life cycles- seeds to blooms and blooms to seeds.
Math: Counting- collect and count flowers during movement or “picking” flowers “planted” in the sandbox.
Reading: The words “sun” and “sunny” said verbally and identified in print during center weather time and then pointed out in the story during reading time.
Writing: Drawing stems on each flower created during craft.
Project: Create a flower store where the children plant seeds to grow flowers and “build” a flower store to sell them. It will include the drawings, printed words, counted flowers and seeds and flower costumes used in lessons in addition to lots of creativity and imagination.
Why does Essentials focus so much time on academics for such young children?
Our weekly themes are the vehicle we use to get children ready for Kindergarten, but they are also developmentally appropriate and introduce our students to those concepts they will learn in elementary school. Every theme has a required science, math, reading and writing element. This means for example, that although Pre K students might not be able to define the term chemical change this year, they will be able to later recall the chemical change they heard about and observed when they baked cupcakes. And, it is this recognition that will help to erase boredom and difficulty when learning about Chemistry in the future.
What are the specifics of the Essentials curriculum?
Developmental skills –These are the skills that are valued and targeted for all activities as the children are exposed to the math, science topics in our curriculum.
Academic Topics and Goals – that are in line with those topics found in Elementary School Curriculums.
Projects – Selected by the teachers when the children demonstrate curiosity about topics presented in the class.
What about playtime?
Experts agree that growing children need playtime for proper development. At Kids Play Today we believe that playtime comes in many categories. That is why our programs were designed to incorporate many kinds of play. Each class at Kids Play Today offers children the opportunity to engage in:
- Physical play during dance, movement and obstacle courses
- Educational play during teacher facilitated circle time
- Creative play during music and art time
- Imaginative play during free time
- Dramatic Play using puppets, costumes, and child sized play things
Our extended class time allows us to provide children with a wide variety of stimulating play during each session.
The Essentials curriculum basics:
Toddler- (Approximately) 12 to 24 months
- Imitating and responding to the words and actions of others
- Identifying and naming familiar items
- Following simple directions and asking questions
- Interacting with picture books, puppets, and photo cards
- Listening to stories, songs, rhymes, and finger plays
- Learning to understand and express emotions appropriately
- Interacting with peers in a group setting
- Exploring self expression through creative arts and play
- Learning about body parts through songs and rhymes
- Crawling, jumping, running, kicking, and tossing
- Gaining enhanced eye-hand coordination through puzzles, games and bubble play
- Coordinating body movements through music and dance
- Learning and responding to own name
- Learning cause and effect through trial and error with blocks, ramps and musical instruments
- Experimenting with the concepts of size and shapes
The Essentials curriculum basics:
Young Preschoolers-(Approximately) Ages 2 to 3
- Practicing conversation skills during story time, snack time and lunch
- Starting to play alongside others rather than alone
- Imitating the actions of classmates and teachers
- Learning to share and cooperate
- Engaging in conversations using pictures and puppets
- Identifying own feelings and those of others
- Expressing creativity through art and music
- Developing imagination and exploring dramatic play
- Developing strong listening skills through storytelling
- Galloping , running, side-stepping, tossing, kicking, stretching, and jumping
- Increasing balance skills using bean bags and balance beams
- Developing fine-motor skills by pouring, cutting, drawing, and stringing
- Practicing self-help skills such as hand washing and dressing
- Learning new vocabulary and repeating short and full sentences
- Identifying numbers and counting
- Identifying and naming colors and shapes
- Problem solving and making predictions
- Numbers 1-5, Colors, Open/ close, up/ down, Where is, hello, my name is, how are you/ very well, thank you, please
- Animal habitats
- Plants and flowers
- Lights and shadows
- Simple machines
- Creepy crawlies
- Life cycles
- Living things
- Problem solving
- Recognizing child’s own name
- Recognizing weather words: sunny, rainy, snowy, cloudy, cold, warm
- Identifying color words
- Identifying shape words
- Drawing a vertical line, horizontal line, intersecting lines and a circle
- Free drawing using crayons
The Essentials curriculum basics:
Older Preschoolers – (Approximately) ages 3 – 4
- Cooperating as a group and making group decisions
- Understanding social concepts such as using manners, sharing, taking turns and teamwork
- Helping in the classroom with watering plants, setting up snacks and cleaning up after activities
- Playing together and friendship building
- Expanding the mind by trying new things
- Gaining confidence from success
- Strengthening balance and coordination
- Running, jumping, galloping, skipping, and throwing
- Strengthening fine motor ability through cutting, drawing and dough play.
- Recognizing and writing letters and names using capital and lower case letters
- Participating in read-aloud exercises
- Identifying numbers, counting, and estimating items
- Exploring physical properties such in water, sand, and paper play
- Prisms and rainbows
- Outer space
- Fruits and vegetables
- Plants and flowers
- Our Earth
- Sun, sky and space
- Amazing animals
- My wonderful body
- Learn with my senses
- Problem solving
- Recognizing the names of classmates
- Identifying the names of the rooms (classroom, bathroom, closet etc.)
- Identifying the days of the week
- Drawing a circle, square and X
- Drawing a free form body shape
- Tracing straight, wavy and curved lines
- Begin writing first name
Pre K Those entering Kindergarten in the coming school year.
- Cooperating, negotiating, and problem-solving with peers
- Recognizing emotions in others
- Identifying safety procedures and limits in the classroom
- Making personal choices
- Sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings with the group
- Recognizing and controlling emotions
- Demonstrating pride in achievement and persistence to succeed
- Gaining large muscle development through obstacle courses, dance and tumbling
- Dressing independently including zippers, buttons and laces
- Gaining spatial awareness by moving to music and using musical tools such as ribbons, scarves and hoops
- Asking and answering open-ended questions
- Understanding a sequence of events
- Grasping spatial relationships and the concept of time
- Recognizing numbers and counting
- Spelling and writing first and last name the “Pre K” way (Capital first letter and the rest in lower case)
- Using reasoning skills to solve problems
- Hello, friends, family, please, thank you, daily living skills, The Pledge of Allegiance and more
- Social Studies
- Work in full group, individually and in pairs
- Solar system
- Changes of matter
- Coral reef, Desert, Tundra, Tropical Rain Forest
- Earth rocks
- Forces and motion
- Keep myself healthy
- Science Detective
- Saving our planet
- Problem solving
- Telling time
- Geometric figures
- Square numbers
- Hundreds square
- Recognizing upper and lower case letters of the alphabet
- Recognizing number 1 to 20
- Identifying days of the week
- Identifying months of the year
- Review of shape and color words
- Introduce sight words to those that show a curiosity
- Demonstrate the correct pincer grasp of a regular sized pencil
- Writing first and last name the “Pre K” way.
- Tracing words related to themes
- Demonstrating the correct formation of upper and lower case letters
Learning in preschool is fun and beneficial. However, taking children on trips allows them to practice the skills and knowledge that they learn daily in school and also allows them to learn about their community in a hands on manner. This is why we plan several school trips throughout the year. Parents, grandparents siblings and relatives are welcome on our trips, making them a true family experience.
In fact, Kids Play Today offers many opportunities for the entire family to come together to make friends and celebrate the wonders of our children. Several activities are planned throughout the year for families. The list below describes some of them:
School Time Activities:
Our visit to the Dingmans Ferry Library introduces the children to the world of books. They learn the basics of the library: reading, book location (the toddler room), borrowing books and library cards. The children are always amazed at the size of the room filled with books just for them! They also go on a walk through the adult side of the library which is great fun, but also allows them to see that books are available for older children and for parents.
Our trip to the pumpkin field is a most fulfilling venture. We meet at Ideal Farms in New Jersey, about 30 minutes from the school. The day starts with a hay ride out to the “patch” where the children hunt for that perfect pumpkin. They run and jump as cameras snap everywhere. After the hayride back, the children are treated to fresh made cider doughnuts, apple cider and a shiny apple! (KPT treats the parents to some doughnuts and cider as well!) Next the children can run through the hay maze, visit the Haunted House or take pictures in the land of photo boards (you know the kind that you step behind and put your face into, for fun pictures). Last, families can visit the fruit and vegetable stands and the gift shop before heading home.
Country Ark Farms:
Located just off Log Tavern Road Country Ark Farms is a wonderful, non profit, local entity that exists to teach children about animals. We visit the farm each year just after learning about farm animals. Families tour the farm and meet “characters” like Spookie the horse and Isabella the goat. The children have the chance to learn about the animals, pet and hold some smaller animals and even feed a few hungry ones!
One of our newest school trips will be our adventure to Village Pizza in Milford. The families will be getting a tour and learning the basics in Pizza making. Then, each child will get their own ingredients to make a pizza masterpiece! The great staff at Village Pizza will bake those one of kind pizzas, to create a perfect lunch. I’m hungry already!
Field Day is held in June at Roham Park in Shohola, on Twin Lakes Road just past the Township building. Field day is a celebration of a successful year. It is open to all family members and is all about fun. Stations of crafts, activities, and face painting are set up, but the children really enjoy being able to run in the big, open field. This is especially fun for our graduating class who come dressed in their senior shirts! There is a new playground area for us this year as well. However, I think the highlight of day is when the children hear the screaming fire engines as Shohola Volunteer Fire and Rescue bring the trucks down for the kids to “check out”. The volunteers let the children sit in the truck, wear a helmet and even hold the nozzle of the hose for once in a lifetime pictures.
Here at KPT we have so many things to be thankful for. But at the top of the list are the great families that we have the pleasure to work with. To celebrate the day of thanks, each year we set the table (enter link to n1_lg.jpg) with over 50 place settings. Then all our families come in to share in the most wonderful Thanksgiving feast in the world. The only thing better that the spread of food and desserts is the generosity and support of the parents-moms, dads, and grandparents too- who cook, help set up, clean up and make the day fantastic. It is as memorable for the staff as it is for the children and their families.
Each year, KPT holds a Scholastic book fair. This week long book fair displays age appropriate books for parents to purchase on the spot. Volunteers from the KPT PTA help to make this a successful event which allows us to choose books and educational supplies for our classrooms for free.
How else can you commemorate a great year, but with a fabulous professional photo? There is no better photographer for the job than Thomas Duncan! Each year, Thomas Duncan Photography comes to our school to take individual, class, and graduation pictures. Reasonably priced packages are displayed for the families to purchase and I can say that every package printed last year was sold! Thomas has a way of capturing great, natural smiles from even the toughest customers! Look for information in April.
After School Activities:
If there’s one party not to miss it’s this one. The KPT Halloween Party has become quite famous. The children come in costume and participate in fun the whole party long. Scavenger skeleton hunts, pumpkin races (did you know you could roll a pumpkin with your nose), witch’s broomstick limbo, pumpkin and cupcake decorating and our very own haunted house piñata!! Yes, for all those first timers out there, beware! We fill our entire movement room with real hay. The children run, jump, throw and play in the hay. We roll pumpkins, and have hay fights too. The kids love it and the staff, well, let’s just say that we pick up hay for about the rest of the year!
We take Christmas very seriously at KPT. While it is a holiday that it celebrated along with other winter holidays in the classes, KPT holds several extra-curricular Christmas events that families can participate in. First is our Christmas Party. Similar to Halloween, children come ready for fun activities and that is just what we give them. “Snow ball fights”, a reindeer craft, and make your own gingerbread house is just the beginning. Each child visits Miss JoAnnes’s Christmas shop to pick and wrap a special gift for mom and one for dad for Christmas. Then, it is a visit form Santa himself! Santa takes pictures with each child and always has a book for them to take home!
Just for Parents:
Christmas Cookie Exchange:
Each holiday season brings out the baker out in all of us. So each year we bake several dozen of our best cookies and exchange them with friends. That way, everyone leaves with a great assortment of holiday cookies to share during the holidays. We also bring a dozen to share at the exchange- you know just to make sure they are good! Some of this year’s contributions: Red Velvet, Coconut Macaroons, Pumpkin Cookies, Pizzelles, Chocolate Mint, Gingerbread, Butter Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies………
Moms Night out:
Where does it say the kids get to have all the fun. Come join us for a relaxed get together at KPT for all those Moms that work so hard and sacrifice so much. An informal gathering to make new friends, share some thoughts, and most important have an adult conversation!
Our before and after school care program is perfect for children ages 5 through 10. With busing to and from Shohola Elementary School which is provided from the DVSD, children are provided with morning and afternoon snacks, daily organized crafts, homework assistance, and a very dedicated staff who make the program fun.
We are the first and only school age program to offer parents flexibility in scheduling. Children can come as few as 1 day per week or as many as 5 days. Parents will enjoy a reduced price for morning or afternoon only care.
Let your children join the best School Age Program in town!!