Fast Track is a vibrant and colorful classroom that is set up to welcome children for an exciting day of learning. Upon entering the classroom, you will be fascinated on how spacious the room is. The room is set up with individual cubbies, age appropriate tables and chairs, and a child friendly bathroom. We have a Reading/Language, Math, Science, Social Studies, Kitchen, and Computer centers. Home work is given every night except Fridays to reinforce what is being taught. To mark the end of the week we have “Fun Fridays” where the children get to perform and display what they have learned in their class to the entire school.
Fast Track is as a blended room with children ranging between ages 2½ – 3, which makes teaching a challenge that must be met with lots of creativity. At this age children do much of their learning through imitation and play. It is the age where they begin to express their wants, needs, and emotions in words and ideas. This is also where they start fluctuating between clinging to parents and gaining their own independence. We enforce children’s independence by allowing them to take responsibilities for their personal belongings, classroom duties, and when they’re ready, working independently.
We follow a very structured schedule which consists of the following;
- Meet and Greet - Children come into class and put their belongings away after having breakfast.
- Independent Reading - Children are allowed to get a book of their choice and sit in their assigned seats and read.
- Circle Time – Teacher leads the class in discussion about the daily schedule and the weekly theme. Through songs, children review the calendar, days of the week, months of the year, weather, ABC’s, numbers, colors and shapes, for the week.
- Whole/Small Group Instruction - the focus is on the weekly theme with different activities taught in the subjects of:
- Reading/Language Development : letter recognition, phonetic sounds of letters, word wall, songs, and finger plays
- Math : counting, number recognition, shapes, colors, patterns, measurements
- Science : experiments with nature, life cycles, animals, and food
- Social Studies : communities helpers, history, cultures, and social interaction
- Art : creative projects using crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, scissors, glue, and stencils
- Nutrition/Hygiene : healthy eating habits are promoted during snack and lunch time offering a balanced and nutritious meal. Potty training is also an essential phase of the children gaining independence at this age.
- Learning Centers : Exploration in learning centers is through dramatic play, building blocks, table toys, and puzzles with theme related add-ons.
- Music and Movement : Using diverse music we allow the children to express themselves freely using different instruments and movements to strengthen their physical development.
- Dismissal - At the conclusion of the day we revisit what was learned, as the students get ready to go home.
Fast Track is on a preschool level. We set our goals based upon an informal assessment to remain on track. Alongside the primary skills taught we also focus on the basic concepts such as big and small, opposites, size order and gross/fine motor skills such as cutting, holding a pencil properly, using a paint brush, using eating utensils, jumping, and balancing. At the end of the year children will be able to:
- Identify all letters
- Distinguish between upper and lowercase
- Know the phonetic sound of all the letters
- Associate at least 3 words for each letter
- Correctly trace letters
- Identify, trace, and count forward and backward from 1-10
- Identify shapes and colors (primary and secondary)
- Be familiar with basic concepts
In Fast Track, we make real life connections to what we are teaching the children. During our outdoor activities like neighborhood/nature walks, rooftop play, going to the neighborhood park, and age appropriate field trips (usually in the summer) we relate the themes and make sure that learning is still being implemented.
Overall, we introduce the children to the basic early childhood curriculum enhanced by using weekly themes. We ensure that their social, physical, cognitive, and language development are on a “Fast Track.” We work hard, so we can play even harder!