The Sparkplugs Class (4-5 yr olds) meet on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 9-12:00. The Sparkplugs learn about their world through the power of play. Whether it is on a field trip, playing dress up, riding bikes, designing with legos or digging in the sandbox, each child learns and grows through play. I work with the parents and children to help build the foundation for reading, writing, math, science and language.
The goals for the Sparkplugs fall into four categories of growth: social, emotional, intellectual and physical. On any given day, you will see the children engaged in play activities that fall into these categories. At this age level, we encourage the children to demonstrate these skills–cooperation, critical thinking and problem solving, enhanced verbal communication, beginning reading and writing skills, small and gross motor skills and strong auditory and visual discrimination skills.
A Sparkplug morning would look something like this:
The Sparkplugs are always excited to see their friends and frequently can be found running into school with barely a wave goodbye to moms and dads. They first “check in” on the attendance chart, hang up jackets and put their personal items in their cubby. Entering the classroom they find different table activities each morning. These activities might include writing or drawing in their journal, number or letter recognition activities, matching games, play-doh, puzzles, and other activities that focus on small motor skills.
The group then moves to circle time, where morning songs are sung, helpers are chosen, the activities for the morning are discussed and participation in a group activity related to our weekly theme may take place. Name, letter and number recognition, counting, sharing thoughts, ideas, taking turns and listening to others are just a few areas that we work on during this time.
Snack time is next after the helpers put out napkins, cups, a healthy snack and everyone has washed their hands. After snack, the children have at least an hour of free play to explore and make their own choices as to where and what they play with in the classroom. They move freely among the housekeeping area, toy shelf, writing center, discovery tables, block area, paint easel, large muscle room, science table, art activity, quiet book center and table games. The Sparkplugs are a very social group and enjoy this time to play with friends, pretend, dress up and be creative.
After free play, the class comes together again for a short story time and the day concludes with outside play or a group, large muscle activity (parachute, beanbags, movement songs) if the weather does not permit us to go outside. Outside, they can swing, climb, play in the large sandbox, ride bikes, gallop with the stick horses or climb the lower branches of the tree.
The Sparkplugs also go on a field trip each month and enjoy other special days such as funny feet day, funny hat day, pajama day, and holiday parties. Academics are always part of their day, but are presented in such fun, non-threatening ways the children don’t even realize they are learning.
The Sparkplug class offers an optional Enrichment program that begins in January. The class is held for 17 Wednesdays from 12-2:00 pm. This program is not an extension of the morning session. It is a separate program with its own theme. The Enrichment class is more structured than the morning program and includes such activities as cooking, science experiments, journal writing, creative dramatics, math skills, predicting outcomes, and introduction to some letters. Children eat lunch (brought from home), participate in 3 activity “stations” and begin and end the session with a group activity. There is an additional cost to attend (see Tuition & Fees) and children need to be mature enough to handle the additional 2 hour program.