4-5 year olds (MF)
“Mastering skills and thriving in our community”
4-5 year olds attend school five days per week (MF). In the MF programs we start to see and foster children's more sophisticated interactions with each other and with their world:
- Children negotiate and develop imaginative and constructive play ideas together, often for days or weeks, developing the critical and creative thinking skills that will serve them for the remainder of their schooling and beyond.
- Children’s social skills take center stage. Problem-solving, conflict resolution, reading social cues, balancing initiative with compromise, are just some of the skills explored at the individual and group level.
- Pre-academic skills emerge as the children’s interest in literacy, numeracy and science takes flight. These skills are encouraged and embedded in child-directed play and work, as well as teacher-directed and small group times. Teachers individualize to the variation in children’s skill level at this young age in a way that ensures that each child is excited about his progress and eager to learn more. Children spend one day a week in the Presidio, hiking, climbing, digging, and playing in nature. This program provides a multitude of unique benefits. Among them are group effort and camaraderie, individual physical skill building, comfort in nature and the confidence that comes from adventure and risk-taking.
Our expectations for children to participate in teacher-directed activities grow in the MF programs. The teachers help shape children’s questions about the world into long explorations involving research, experimentation, and planning. We foster children’s emerging interest in literacy and language through story-writing, dramatic play, journals, signs and other opportunities to help children express their ideas with abstract symbols.
Becoming part of a community is a central theme in the later years. Community meetings, longer and more cognitively challenging than those in the YMWF year, often focus on the classroom community itself, and how children can have impact and power in a group. Playing a supportive and authentic role in the classroom also becomes an important aspect of the curriculum unit.