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How Standards Are Taught


As children prepare to be readers there are many smaller steps in the process of reading success.  This process begins at birth with language acquisition.  As children listen to their parents talking, they begin by understanding that words have meaning.  They then begin to use these words to express themselves as they enter the toddler stage of development.  Preschool children often have developed listening and speaking skills and are now ready to begin to make the connection from these skills to print.  Through modeling, conversation and asking questions Little Lights teachers are building listening and speaking skills with children throughout each school day.


There are three major areas that we address in the classroom in order to develop pre-reading skills:  letter identification, phonemic awareness, and building words.  (Phonemic awareness builds a child’s understanding that words are made up of individual sounds and that those sounds can be represented by a letter or multiple letters.)  Activities are incorporated into each day that build on these three key reading readiness areas.  Following are examples of how literacy standards are implemented in the Pre-K classroom at Little Lights.


Letter Identification


  • Children use the letters in their name to match them with letter tiles.  As they master their own name, they are then completing the same activity with their friend’s names.

  • Utilizing wipe off board for writing practice, and letter identification

  • Popcorn Game:  Using letter flashcards, children pop-up when their name is called and identify the letter name and/or sound.

  • Children work with many different types of alphabet puzzles to build recognition.  As a group, children may each take a letter of the puzzle and work to complete the puzzle together as they identify the letters in sequence. 

  • Mother May I:  Each child is given a letter or letters and the group stands at the end of the room.  The teacher calls out a letter name and/or sound and the child with that letter takes a step forward.


Phonemic Awareness


  • Beginning sound tubs:  Children have small objects that begin with the same sound.  The children sort the objects into the correct tub with the beginning letter.

  • Beginning sound puzzles:  Children use self-correcting puzzles to match a letter with a picture that begins with the letter sound.

  • Using the letter of the week, children brainstorm words that begin with that letter sound.

  • Rhyming:  Using songs, poems, finger plays and games, children begin to recognize ending sounds through rhyming.  Children also play matching games with rhyming words.

  • Using simple three letter words, children work to identify the beginning, middle and end sounds.  Then are asked to change one of the sounds to make a new word.  

  • Utilizing literature, with frequent uses of the letter of the week, to demonstrate the letter sound.  As the teacher reads, children can clap or raise their hand every time they hear a word that begins with the key sound.  Reading quality children’s literature aloud creates interest in and love of reading.  We use literature each day.  

  • Choosing a letter of the week allows the teachers to build the theme and activities around words that begin with the letter sound, further re-enforcing the letter and sound.


Word Building


  • Children use a variety of multisensory materials to build simple words:  letter tiles, magnets, writing in salt, writing in shaving cream, and using letter stamps in play dough.

  • Children use post-it notes with word endings and add a letter tile for the beginning sound to build words. 

  • Children complete puzzles that build words by adding the beginning sound.


Listening and Speaking


  • Through modeling, teachers are providing a language rich environment, utilizing new vocabulary with each weekly theme.  This modeling is a powerful way to teach children the basics of sentence structure as well.  

  • Teachers are constantly asking higher level questions throughout the day that require thoughtful responses.  These questions prompt children to think about a topic and formulate an oral response.  

  • As children complete preschool they should be able to follow multiple step directions.  Teachers are working with children on this skill in the classroom through consistent daily routines, visual and auditory cues, and clear directions.

  • Children use dramatic play to retell literature that has been read in the classroom.  Through this play children gain a greater comprehension of the story. 


Pre-reading skills are constantly being developed in the young child.  Parents and teachers help children to recognize print within their environment as well as sounds of language.  It is our goal that as the children enter kindergarten they have the tools they need to be successful readers.


Introducing math concepts begins at a very young age as children sort and classify their world with simple activities such as putting toys away in different bins.  Parents naturally count with their children through play and daily activities.  Concepts of time and money also come through experiences at the store and explanations about how long an activity will take.  All of these ideas are introducing the preschool child to basic math principles that they will build on through their elementary school years.  


Math principles are present in our classrooms in many different ways.  As teachers we strive to implement math standards through play, games and activities.  We use a wide variety of manipulatives and rarely use paper and pencil tasks.  The following activities are examples of how math standards are implemented in the classrooms at Little Lights.

  • Sorting and Classifying:  Teachers often use sensory activities to develop sorting and classifying skills.  You may see the sensory tub filled with a variety of items that the children sort based on attributes.  Other sorting activities may be set as a table top activity with different cups or sections to separate the items.  As children master this skill they will use graphs to represent this information.


  • Shape Recognition:  Children work to identify and name shapes found in the environment.  They work with shape games and activities that build on this knowledge as well.  


  • Creating Patterns:  Patterns are a part of our environment and as teachers we help children to find those patterns.  Children create patterns in their art using various media.  A variety of manipulatives including colored blocks, sorting bears and soft circles are used to allow children to create and identify patterns.  Children can work in small groups with one child creating a pattern and the rest of the children repeating the pattern.


  • Measurement:  Children explore measuring through sensory tubs that include water, flour, cornmeal and beans.  As they have more experiences with measurement children are then able to use descriptive words such as more, less, equal, etc.  Children use units of measurement such as a crayon to measure each other and make hypothesis about the differences in height as well as the number of crayons that would represent that difference.  Children explore using rulers to make straight lines with an introduction to the concept of inches.


  • Money:  Through dramatic play in a grocery store center, children use play money to buy items.  Real change is also used for sorting activities and introducing children to the names of coins.  Children may use counting activities to understand how much each coin is worth.  Children can count out ten pennies to represent a dime.


  • One-to-one correspondence:  Children develop the ability to count items and people using one-to-one correspondence.  For Valentines Day the Pre-K class asks the children to count 20 candy hearts for a special gift for mom and dad.  Counting activities are a part of every day at school.


  • Estimation:  Children love to play guessing games about how many items they see.  


  • Fractions:  Children are introduced to the concept of whole, half and quarter by cutting snack items, separating groups of items or children, and cutting shapes.


  • Number Concepts:  Children are introduced to number words and symbols through manipulatives.  Given a number and color, children are asked to count that number of blocks that have the same color.  Puzzles help to make connections with the number word, symbol and pictures of that number of items.  The teachers have created a variety of them specific activities to build number knowledge.


  • Calendar:  Each day at the beginning of circle time children use the calendar to understand time and work with specific numbers.


  • Puzzles: Working puzzles helps children build cognitive skills in problem solving and shape relationships.


Science and social studies principles help young children to understand and make sense of their world.  Children explore by first using their five senses.  In the classroom, teachers are designing activities each week that will appeal to all five senses and allow children to experience learning similar material in a variety of different ways that will engage unique learning styles.  It is through science and social studies activities that children are developing vocabulary to describe their environment and experiences.  The following activities are examples of how Science and Social Studies standards are implemented in the classrooms at Little Lights.


Science Instructional Activities:


  • Observation:  Children use observation and descriptive language to describe scientific phenomenon.  Children observe changes that happen when vinegar and baking soda are combined and make predictions about what will happen to a balloon that is placed at the top of the bottle.  Children also observe changes in weather and seasons.  


  • Scientific tools:  Using tools such as tweezers, eyedroppers, magnifying glasses and magnets allows for exploration of scientific principles.  Pre-K develops entire units around magnets and exploring magnetism.  Other tools such as graphing, pictures, and drawings allow children to record their observations.  


  • Sensory Exploration:  Teachers provide children with a large variety of sensory experiences.  Children may be exploring different types of apples using touch, sight, taste, smell, and then graphing their findings.  Each classroom includes a sensory tub, providing a wide variety of sensory experiences for the children to explore.  


  • Life Science:  Young children have a natural fascination with plants and animals.  Through a wide variety of themes including:  our bodies, gardening, birds, bugs, polar animals, forest animals, and zoo, children are learning about plants and animals.  They are exploring different habitats that animals live in as well as learning the life cycle of plants.  


Social Studies Activities:


  • Personal Uniqueness:  We celebrate that each child is made unique by God and that no two children are the same.  Teachers take a time at the beginning of each school year to get to know the children individually, understanding their likes/dislikes, temperament including giving them opportunity to create art that represents them.  


  • Awareness of Others:  One of the greatest goals of preschool is to develop social skills and classroom routines in preparation for kindergarten.  We strive to teach children kindness and compassion as they understand that other children have feelings and ideas that may be different from their own.  Through children’s daily interactions teachers help children learn to take turns, share and use their words to communicate their feelings and ideas.  We also give children the tools and skills to solve conflicts with peers on their own.  


  • Maps and Globes:  Maps and globes are a part of the exploration of our world.  Teachers include these learning tools and introduce basic vocabulary such as continents, oceans, equator and poles.  Children explore creating a map of the school and then follow that map on an adventure.  


  • Multicultural Experiences:  Children from around the world have many of the same needs and wants as Little Lights children.  In exploring other cultures, your children come to understand these similarities and differences.  Using pictures displayed, books shared, and exploring materials, they come to recognize other cultures and people groups.  Teachers present music, food, clothing, holidays and traditions from other cultures.  


  • Exploring a wide range of occupations through dramatic play and parent visitors

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