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Let Them Be Little

January 14, 2019
By Denise Smalley

Hello Friends!

Have you ever heard the song “Let Them Be Little” by Billy Dean? If not you should look it up, but not before grabbing a Kleenex! As a preschool teacher for ten years, an Early Childhood Coordinator for three, and a mom of a senior and a freshman, I stand firmly by those lyrics.

In general, preschool is the new kinder, kinder is the new first, and so on and so forth. With re-enrollment right around the corner, many families are deciding where to enroll their child in preschool or school. Preschools offer various approaches to early education, all promoting the benefits of their particular programs.  Our program is designed to engage students in fun, play-based activities while at the same time, incorporating developmentally appropriate, educational lessons that will prepare them for kindergarten.

One thing I love about TCA’s preschool department is it offers the perfect balance of teacher led learning, direct instruction and play! But the best part is… it is all done with CHRIST at the center!

For example, our Horizon curriculum is based on the most perfect source available, the Bible. We begin the year studying who God is and how He loves us. We continue learning about the world around us through the viewpoint of our Creator. Lessons begin with a Bible concept and flow into activities and academic subjects including social studies, language arts, math, phonics and science. So, while all preschool students learn that trees give us food to eat, we praise the One who created the trees, the apples, and people that grow the apple trees… etc.

A normal morning in a TCA PK classroom may include the teacher taking 15-20 minutes to introduce to the class to a new skill, concept or theme such as the letter “a” and the /a/ sound. Students are not expected or encouraged to sit still for long periods of time. Following whole group instruction, students divide into groups which rotate from a play-based activities to learning activities. Learning activities consist of 3-4 students, with the teacher giving those students direct instruction. These activities are hands-on and engaging and might include hiding objects that start with “a” in sand or rice, instructing students to see how many they can find and name (with guidance). Students not participating in the learning activity at that time are playing in centers where every activity and object placed in the space has a purpose, adds to the learning, and helps scaffold information across the learning domains. For letter “a,” they love using their imagination in the apple orchard, picking apples and baking apple pies as well as participating in making REAL applesauce to enjoy with their friends.

It truly does seem like only a couple of short years ago that my daughter, now a senior was learning her abc’s and making applesauce without a care in the world. AS the lyrics in the song I mentioned earlier state… Give them hope, give them praise, give them love, every day. Let em cry, let em giggle, let them sleep in the middle. Oh, just let them be little. So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around. It’s time to let them go.

Let them be little…