At ChampionsTX we recognize each child has their own unique learning style and interests, so our low ratios allow our teachers to get to know each child and incorporate activities into the curriculum that draw each child into the learning environment! It has also been proven that children learn best through play, so our daily schedule and curriculum allows for enough choice in activities and lots of movement to keep their young minds and bodies eager to learn. We designed our program to offer multiple opportunities for each child to grow socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically at their own pace.
Our children learn to trust, work with others, question the world around them all while being exposed to Science, Math & Language Arts activities. By using the program’s monthly learning guide, teachers are able to incorporate developmentally appropriate activities for each age group. The learning guide (also referred to as our curriculum Scope & Sequence) also serves as a tool for parents to identify what objectives and skills the classes will be focusing on each month.
Children visit three classrooms each day, themed for different pathways of learning at an advanced level. One room has an emphasis on science and art. This room gets really messy, as we take part in fun experiments, art activities, and lots of hands on play with different materials! The “centers” room has an emphasis on literacy, math, and pre-engineering. Here you’ll find students constructing mini cities in our large block plan / transportation zone, working on our math activity of the day, or hanging out with “Mat Man”, our alphabet superhero. Our students use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to better prepare them for Kindergarten. Our third classroom is our imagination zone, designed like a small town, with a grocery store, kitchen, house, and a rotating community helper zone based on the current curriculum. We do a lot of free play in here, really unleashing imaginations, working on social skills, and even practicing other learning concepts in a fun way, like counting the apples we are buying at the grocery store!
One question we are asked frequently about our students rotating through classrooms is if they are able to develop a sense of home at school since they do not have only one classroom. We have found that with our small school size and small ratios, kids come to bond with the school as a whole, in love with “their school” and knowing all of the other kids and teachers makes for easy transitions from year to year. The close proximity of classrooms and opportunities for interactions with students of different age groups allow for the younger students to really look up to the children in the older classrooms and for the older students to strive to be positive role models for their younger friends.
All children in the Explorers program participate in dedicated indoor gross motor time during each school day. We have two spaces this takes place: an open “gym” type space for relays, yoga, games, parachute, ball sports, and other fun cooperative gross motor activities, and a preschool sized gymnastics zone. By incorporating gymnastics into our program, our children are provided another opportunity to develop gross motor skills, fine motor skills, trust, and perseverance.
Benefits of Gymnastics for Preschoolers:
- FITNESS – Experiencing fun association with fitness activities early in life can create life-long positive fitness habits.
- MENTAL FOCUS – Learning how to concentrate on a task and achieving goals.
- BALANCE – Walking beams can transfer later to riding a bike.
- SOCIAL SKILLS – Taking turns, working with partners, sharing, making friends and acknowledging the accomplishments of others.
- STRENGTH – Climbing on bars and ropes develops muscle strength.
- FLEXIBILITY – Improved range of motion through stretching and holding body positions.
- COORDINATION – Hand-eye coordination improves writing ability while eye-tracking improves reading readiness.
- BURN CALORIES – Help jumpstart a life of fitness, and allow kids to get their energy out during a day of learning.
- THE SPORT OF ALL SPORTS – Gymnastics prepares kids for ALL sports. Many children who start with a foundation in gymnastics go onto other sports and pick them up rapidly due to the coordination and motor skills that gymnastics has bestowed upon them.
- AN ACTIVE ADDITION TO DAILY CURRICULUM – The more ways a child can experience their daily curriculum, the easier it is to understand and quicker it is to grasp. For example, when we are working on counting to five, our Explorers gymnastics curriculum involves doing tuck jumps five times or holding different poses to the count of five.
We care a lot about safety in our gymnastics zone. All of our equipment is preschool-sized, even our mini bars and mini foam pit! It’s a great space for our students to have indoor playtime when outdoor time is rained out, too! We spend about 20 minutes on our gross motor lesson plans each day; the perfect amount of time to get our wiggles out, work on our coordination and other skills (like handwriting drills, believe it or not!), and then get back in the classroom. For a longer more focused gymnastics, cheer, tumbling, or parkour class, join one of our extend-your-day options!
At most preschools, gross motor development is achieved by letting kids run wild on a playscape, but at the Explorers Adventure School, children receive gross motor during their daily gymnastics class! Therefore we are able to use our outdoor time to incorporate a lot more learning than a traditional “playground” concept. During outdoor time, the Explorers practice their writing skills and fine motor on giant chalkboards, have imaginative play with our sailboat, sandbox, and forest, and study science concepts through gardening, observing nature, weather, and utilizing ramps and building materials. Loose parts and the freedom to create their own play are also highly instrumental to children’s learning in the outdoor classroom. (Take the example of Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, as preschool directors across the country are clueing into the power of imagination to learn!) Children love to play with “loose parts” which they can move about, use for their own self-selected construction projects and incorporate into their dramatic play. Did you know that studies indicate that children actually prefer to play with stones, bricks, stumps, sand and other natural materials, with unlimited possibilities, to carefully designed playground equipment, for which possibilities are limited? The theory of loose parts has begun to influence child-play experts and playscape designers in a big way. It was first proposed back in the 1970′s by architect Simon Nicholson, who believed that it is the loose parts in our environment that empower our creativity. In a preschool, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials. Our children never stop creating and constructing using loose parts: tyres, milk crates, wooden boards, logs, rope…anything they can get their hands on. When we step back and give them the time and freedom to move things around, learning happens. The Outdoor Play Area Classroom is a very new unique concept, but we guarantee that within days of attending Explorers Adventure School, it will be one of your child’s favorite parts of his or her day!