In our prepared Little Rascals environment
Our classrooms are an environment carefully and thoughtfully prepared daily by our teachers for the children. It contains all the essentials for optimal learning. Attributers of a prepared environment include order, beauty, and simplicity. Everything is child sized to enhance the children’s independent functioning.
- We recognise that each child learns at his/her own pace. It is a child centred approach and through our daily written observations and record keeping on each child, we are able to direct the child’s daily activities based on their needs, strengths, and developmental stages.
- The learning materials in our classroom offer concrete, multi-sensory experiences, which actively engage the child, correcting, giving feedback and increasing the child’s opportunities for self-directed work. The materials contain many aims or goals and can often be explored at different levels.
- Little Rascal’s programme develops a positive attitude towards school and a gives the child afeeling of security, sense of order, curiosity, concentration, persistence, an ability to make decisions, a sense of independence, self-confidence and sense of responsibility towards others
- There are six distinct areas that make up the Prepared Environment: Toddler, Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language and Culture areas.
- Toddler area has many self-help activities that help the child to be more independent as well as basic activities such as threading, matching, puzzles and sorting. This area is simpler and slower pace than the rest of the classroom. Since this is also the age of very strong imitation, the adult in the classroom constantly models appropriate social skills, good manners and consideration of others.
- Practical life exercises are purposeful activities that build on the child’s natural interest in what is around him, relating to the world he knows best- his home. The basic motor skills required for writing are found in this area as the child masters the ‘pencil grip’ and learns to work from left to right. The activities also enhance the development of concentration, co-ordination, task completion, cognitive order and grace and courtesy. Examples are: pouring water, dressing frames, squeezing oranges, tweezer exercise, and care of environment activities.
- Sensorial area - enables the child to order, sequence, classify and describe sensory impressions in relation to length, width, weight, and colour. Each scientifically designed material isolates a quality found in the world such as size, shape etc and isolation focuses the attention on one aspect. Examples in this area are cylinder blocks, knob less cylinders, geometric solids, and red rods.
- Mathematics - through the uses of didactic materials in the classroom the child is able to internalise concepts of numbers, symbols, sequence, operations, and memorization of facts. Examples of these would be: number rods, spindles boxes, cards and counters and golden bead material.
- Language area- this includes oral language development, written expression and reading. Basic language activities linking sounds to letters and expression of thought through writing. Examples of some of the language materials would be sandpaper letters, metal insets. Pink, blue, and green reading boxes.
- Culture – this exposes the child to the introduction of geography, history, and the sciences. Music, art and creative movements are part of the integrated cultural curriculum. Some examples are the coloured globe, land/water forms, insect folder, magnetic / non-magnetic activities, and the musical instruments.
Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.