The Older Class serves the needs of children ages 4-5 and meets Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 AM to 11:45 AM. Older Class children are eligible to enroll in Lunch Bunch until 1:00 PM and Stay & Play until 2:45 PM.
In the Older Class, children begin each year by witnessing the metamorphosis of a Monarch butterfly – a process that mirrors their own amazing change and growth. With teachers nearby to guide them, they explore the social complexities of their friendships. Growth in their language and cognition now allows them to solve problems in a variety of areas. Dramatic play scenarios become involved and sophisticated and often last over the course of a few days. Often times, the children create boats, cars and shelters using unit blocks and large hollow blocks and incorporate these structures into their play. It is not uncommon to see five or six children “going on vacation” with babies in tow, and a stash of pretend food to last for many days.
Teachers continue to enhance language and literacy skills through one-on-one conversations and group discussion. As symbolic thinking matures, they support the children’s interest in the symbol systems of the alphabet and numerals. Teachers encourage children to record their ideas and observations through drawing, pretend writing or inventive spelling and the writing area is often bustling with children making cards or “writing” books or grocery lists. Older children have special jobs such as the “alphabag,” mystery box, Teddy Bear Journal and Book Review that promote a love of literacy and pre-reading skills.
Circle time includes stories, science and math activities, singing and conversation. Each week children work in small groups on theme-related or emergent projects. As they become more aware of their role as the oldest children at our school, they are paired with a Toddler Buddy to promote caring for someone smaller than themselves. Hosting a Mother’s and Friend’s Tea in May help them realize they can show care for the special adults in their lives, too. Connections to the local community are strengthened when they take walks into Beverly Farms to visit the Fire Station, Library and nearby Dix Park. The Older Class also ventures on nature hikes on nearby conservation trails. The children leave the Older Class confident intellectually and socially and are well equipped to begin their next school experience.