Children aged 3 to 5 participate in a learning program that uses international Early Years standards, and that is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach.
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy that is focused on the child’s individual needs, skills, interests and awareness of others. The belief that each child possesses solid potential to develop and grow in relationships with others is central to this approach. Respect and responsibility, to others and to ourselves, are the underpinnings of this philosophy. Exploration and discovery are also crucial.
The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy during the period of restoration after World War II. This particular time in history called for great change in educational systems. Loris Malaguzzi, who developed this philosophy, responded by declaring that the early years of development are extremely important, since this is when personalities develop. Malaguzzi described the powerful learning potential of each child through the concept that each child is endowed with “a hundred languages.”
The Reggio Emilia Approach is inspiring preschools all over the world and is characterized by child-centered learning, participation of families, cooperation within the community and strong collaboration among all staff. The learning environment is specially prepared, and the curriculum is self-guided. The International School of Krakow incorporates certain elements of this unique Reggio Emilia Approach in the international Early Years curriculum.
The Classroom/Working in Centers
Our classroom is set up for learning in different centers. A center is an area of the classroom where a variety of hands-on materials and meaningful activities are available for children to choose. The centers provide opportunities for children to be actively involved in learning and making choices. Children have many opportunities to make choices, come up with ideas, experiment, and take responsibility for their work. Here’s what you’ll see when you visit:
- Materials are on low shelves, in containers, and on hooks so children can get them and put them away independently.
- Shelves are neat and uncluttered so materials are easy to see, remove, and replace.
- Picture (and word labels) are on containers and shelves so children know where materials belong and learn to use print.
- Distinct interest centers – blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, discovery science , library, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, computers, reading/writing, listening and different play spaces outdoors – help children know what choices are available and make decisions.
- A variety of learning materials are in each center so that no matter where children choose to play, they learn.
Similar materials are grouped together to teach children to sort and classify–skills that are important to understanding and solving math problems.
The Daily Schedule
We want your child to feel secure and independent, to move from one activity to another as easily and confidently as possible. And we want to provide a variety of learning experiences for a well-rounded education. So we plan a daily schedule with these goals in mind. We follow this same schedule day after day, making small adjustments to accommodate special activities. It helps children feel secure because they know what comes next. This schedule works well for us. After a few months, children are amazingly independent. They tell us what they are supposed to do next!
When you visit your child’s classroom, you see a room full of children playing. You may wonder what we are doing to help children learn. As children play, we watch how they use materials. We observe, listen and intervene if necessary. We talk with them to find out what they are thinking and trying to do. We help children become aware of their actions, offer suggestions, and think about what materials to offer next. Then we challenge them to think further. This is how we encourage the development of skills children will need in elementary school and how we are able to meet the individual needs of each child.
- Centers-based Learning
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Native Language/English as an Additional Language
- Information Technology
- Physical Education
- Rest Time / Quiet Time
- Story Time
- Lesson with the Counselor
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’s) about ISK’s EARLY YEARS PROGRAM
How do I know that my child is ready for the Early Years Program?
Children are best ready to join the Early Years Program when they are toilet trained (not wearing diapers/nappies), have had the experience of playing with other children, are able to communicate by speaking and can separate from parents when left with another family member or babysitter.
How can I help my child prepare to be ready for a full-day program?
Parents can help prepare their children for the separation that happens at school in a number of ways. Explaining to your child what will happen during the day and reminding him/her that you will see each other after school is important. Showing enthusiasm for your child (and putting on a happy face, even if you are a bit sad to leave your child for the day) is always helpful. Reading books to your child about the fun that happens at school can help your child become more familiar about what to expect at school. If your child has not yet spent any time away from you, it is best to ease into the transition of leaving him/her at school for the whole day by arranging short play dates with other children where you leave and come back later.
I’m concerned that my child will cry when I will leave him at school. How can I help prevent this?
It is normal for children to cry during the first week or so of school. Please talk with your child about the fun he/she will have when playing with friends. Make sure to remind your child that you will always see each other after school. Being punctual when picking up your child at the end of the day is crucial in building the trust between you and your child that you will see each other again at the end of the day.
Why does the school have sleepy time / quiet time?
A child who gets enough rest is ready to learn and best prepared to control his or her own behavior. Even if your child does not fall asleep, the quiet time is calming and a necessary part of a very full day at school.
Can my child bring toys to school?
Yes! We highly encourage bringing one soft toy or personal object to help your child feel comfortable for quiet time. Any valuable toy or object should be kept at home where it will be safe.
What type of food should I be sending with my child to school?
Nutritious, fresh foods with water are the best choice. Researchers found that when kids eat better, they learn and behave better. Hearty soups, salads, fruits and sandwiches with whole grains can all be packed in insulated containers to stay hot or cold. Please avoid sending sweets for snack or lunch. Sweets make kids tired, hungry and less attentive shortly after eating.
- Sandwich or wrap with cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomato or other vegetables
- Soup in a thermos with dinner roll or croutons
- Meat roll-ups with bread sticks
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Pasta with vegetables
- Oatmeal based cookies
- Granola or oatmeal based bars
- Cheese & crackers
- Veggies with dip
To drink: juice or water. No soda please!
My child still needs help with eating, washing and dressing herself. Will someone be helping her when she is at school?
We encourage the children to learn independence, however at first the child can count on our help. We urge parents to allow enough time for their child time at home to try and practice eating, washing and dressing independently.
How should my child dress for school?
Clothes which the child can put on and take off independently are best, for example: shoes with Velcro, mittens rather than gloves, etc. Your child will get dirty, so clothes that are easily washed are recommended. Layers of clothes are more versatile than one warm piece of clothing. Accidents do happen, so a spare set of clothes (including socks and underwear) is needed.