Young Fives:  4 ½--5 years
Overall, Young Fives represent an enthusiastic, curious, and imaginative age group that deserves our very best in terms of preparing them for the future.  Educational theorists and professionals have recognized this period of time as being vitally important in children’s development, especially that last bit of time (4 to 5 years) just before formal education begins.

Our Young Fives program is designed to make the most of this time when significant growth and learning take place—in all areas of functioning—physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language.  To accomplish these goals, each day’s schedule and the classroom environment is intentionally planned to provide many opportunities for children to learn and grow.

We also strive to develop positive and caring relationships with our preschoolers and their families because this provides the optimal conditions for growth to take place.  In this way, our program promotes the development and enhances the learning of each child who attends.  With these goals in mind, we hope to enrich each child’s learning and ensure that we achieve all that we can during this last critical year before formal education begins.  

Communication:
Each child receives a folder to be sent home on a daily basis for transporting classroom announcements and events, plus samples of each child’s work, and perhaps suggestions for activities to be done at home with your child.

In addition, each month the lead teacher sends home a newsletter which outlines what they will be focusing on with the High Reach Curriculum, as well as sharing words to songs and fingerplays with parents.  Other information pertinent to the program is shared also.

Besides the Growing Years Parent Handbook, parents will also receive a Welcome Packet for the Young Fives classroom which outlines information specific to that program.

Teachers may be reached any time during the day by calling the school at 989-792-8670 or by e-mailing us at info@growingyearspreschool.com

Daily Schedule:
Although children at the Young Fives level still need a lot of flexibility in their day, they also enjoy and need some structure and routine as well.  Having a routine of events throughout the day gives our Young Fives a sense of security. They can begin to anticipate the order of events while becoming familiar with how those routines are carried out, such as group time, eating time, center time, and going outdoors, etc. 

A typical day in the Young Fives classroom might look like this:
Time Activity
6:30—7:00am: Children begin arriving and are greeted by staff.  Belongings are placed in cubbies.  Any special information for each child is shared with teachers and notated.
7:00—8:30am: Growing Years breakfast is served each day.  Breakfast and lunch menus are sent home and posted each month for parents.
8:45—9:00am:

Journal time:  Children practice writing in their journals each day using journaling prompts provided by the teacher.

9:00—9:30am: Morning large group time.  Teachers introduce new concepts from the High Reach curriculum for Young Fives.  They also engage in other activities such as songs, finger plays, and stories.  Teachers explain what they will find at the center areas that day.
9:30-10:50am: Young Fives move freely about the room engaging in interest area activities, such as writing, reading, sand and water play, dramatic play, blocks, manipulatives, and art exploration.   Open snack is also offered at this time as a center choice.
10:50—11:00am: Small group time.
11:00—11:35am: Children are taken outdoors daily as long as weather permits.  It is important for children to get fresh air and explore the outside world each day.  Growing Years has a separate playground for this age group that is full of fun, developmentally appropriate equipment.
11:15—11:30pm:

Children are encouraged to use the potty, wash up, and prepare for lunch.

11:30—12:10pm: Lunchtime!  Children go to the library for lunch time. Teachers sit and enjoy eating with the children. Then children are encouraged to clean-up together.
12:10—12:30pm: Show and Tell time or games, songs, and a story.
1:00—2:45pm: After lunch and bathroom time, children lay down on mats for nap time and teachers pat children’s backs until they fall asleep.  Soft music is also played to comfort children during nap time.
2:45—3:00pm: Children awake from nap and prepare for going outdoors.
3:00—3:30pm: Outdoor recess time.  It is important for children to get fresh air and explore the outside world each day.  Growing Years has a separate playground for this age group that is full of fun, developmentally appropriate equipment.
3:30—4:30pm: Young Fives are engaged in small groups with teachers and other children for activities such as singing, reading books, or doing an art or sensory activity together.
After small group time, children move freely throughout the room where teachers have structured interest activities involving small motor development (puzzles, etc.) or large motor development, as well as opportunities for creative expression through dramatic play, building with blocks, and socializing with other young five year old friends!
4:30—5:00pm: Large group, story time, and songs.
5:00—6:00pm: Children engage in individual activities with teachers as they await pick-up by parents.  Upon pick-up, teachers share news of the day’s activities for each child and chat with parents.

Curriculum:
The part time Young Fives class meets Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; however other children stay all day.  The Young Fives program uses the comprehensive High Reach Learning curriculum, which is designed to teach all the basics: reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Lessons include phonemic awareness, sight words, number concepts, cause and effect, addition, and much more. This theme-based approach to learning will help prepare your child academically, behaviorally, and socially for Kindergarten.

Butterfly Program Themes
Month: Theme:
September I’m Special
October My Home and Neighbors
November Off We Go!
December Let’s Pretend
January Eating Healthy, Growing Strong
February Let’s Go To Work!
March How Does Your Garden Grow?
April Animals, Animals, Animals
May Bugs, Butterflies, and Spiders

Colors: Shapes: Numbers: Letters:
Red, orange, brown, green, blue, pink, yellow, purple, and white. Circle, triangle, heart, square, rectangle, heart, diamond, oval, pentagon, octagon, sphere, cube, cylinder, and cone. 0-20, addition and subtraction A-Z, review and sight words

Weekly Bible lessons:
Each week the classroom teacher presents a new Bible lesson to our Young Fives.  Our Christian curriculum is non-denominational and geared towards building strong character, love and consideration for others, and making wise moral choices.  Each lesson from either the Old or New Testament is shared in an attempt to make it relevant to the age group involved.  To help with reinforcement of the concepts, each lesson is followed by a creative art idea.

In addition to the classroom lessons, Mrs. Anita Collins, the owner/director of Growing Years, meets with the Young Fives in the library each week to help reinforce Christian concepts using flannel board stories/characters, puppets, books, songs, and fingerplays.

Peddlesfoots Character Education Curriculum:
Each week the Young Fives class participates in a character education program featuring a family of rabbits named the Peddlesfoots.  Through the stories of their many antics and trials, children learn about the importance of becoming children of good character. The stories have been combined with exciting lesson plans and activities for teachers to extend the concepts of trustworthiness, respect, perseverance, caring, citizenship, fairness, self-discipline, responsibility, and courage.  Besides the stories, children also enjoy the song CD, read-a-long CD, and Peddlesfoots puppets.

This series was written by Anita Collins, the owner/director of Growing Years, along with her son, Matthew Hill, and daughter, Lisa Workman, who are also teachers.  In 2006, the Peddlesfoots curriculum was selected as the centerpiece of a federally funded grant—Partnerships in Character Education—that was awarded to the Saginaw Intermediate School District.  After being rigorously researched for 4 years, the Peddlesfoots curriculum demonstrated significant increases in children’s pro-social behavior as well as improved academic achievement in literacy.  Separate levels of curriculum were developed for preschool, kindergarten, and first grades.

If you would like more information about our character education program, we have a website at www.peddlesfoots.com or visit www.truesaginaw.org.

Special Holiday Programs:
Believe it or not, the Young Fives also put on 4 programs throughout the school year for parents and other family members to enjoy! 
  1. Children learn about the first Thanksgiving and celebrate by wearing costumes and 
    entertaining you with songs, fingerplays, and a delightful menu of snacks.
  2. Children learn about the first Christmas and celebrate by wearing costumes, 
    re-enacting parts of the story through songs and fingerplays, sharing cookies and 
    punch, and  then being surprised by a visit from Santa!
  3. Mother’s Day Brunch is a hit each year as Moms are made to feel special and 
    appreciated (we hope) through a program of songs, poems, fingerplays, and 
    homemade gifts, followed by a brunch in their honor.  (Grandmas or aunts are 
    welcome too)
  4. Daddy’s Day Lunch is a great way for children to appreciate their fathers in a special 
    way through songs, poems, fingerplays, and a special handmade gift, followed by 
    lunch in Dad’s honor.  (Grandpas or uncles are welcome too) 

Music for Munchkins:
We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Michele Spitz/Wietfeldt as our music teacher!  The children love her and look forward to her weekly visits.  We have a longstanding relationship with Michele as she is also the singer and music arranger for the Peddlesfoots series of songs. 

In addition to Music for Munchkins playing a key role at Growing Years, Michele is  busy working with children throughout the Saginaw area as she teaches music and provides entertainment for children’s parties.

She is also available to sing for weddings and adult engagements.  If you’re interested in learning more about Michele, you can visit her website at www.musicformunchkins.com.

Developmental Milestones/Assessment:
As part of our assessment plan, our teachers keep a portfolio of each child’s work throughout the year to share with parents during parent/teacher conferences, held twice a year.  This is a special time to talk about your child’s growth and achievements as well as any concerns you might have.

In addition, parents will receive a developmental milestone report approximately every 3 months to let parents know what we are experiencing with their child at Growing Years.  These reports become the vehicle we use to share our understanding of early childhood development as outlined by child development professionals. In the spring of each year, we administer a kindergarten readiness screening to help you make critical decisions about formal education later on.
 
Finally, we begin teaching literacy appreciation, print awareness, and phonics instruction in an attempt to build a lasting foundation for reading success! As all of this information is reviewed throughout the year, it is important to understand that individual children may exhibit all or only a few of the behaviors for a given age group and still fall within the normal range of development.  Obviously, children progress at different rates throughout all aspects of their development.

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