At FirstSteps we have designed a Play-based Learning Approach which provides a collaborative environment where learning is authentic, in-context and purposeful. Play is essential for the young learner’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Teachers become learning partners as they make comments, ask questions and invite open-ended queries from students.
The approach is reflected in the rhythm set by the daily activities built around the following practices,
1. Discovery Sessions : Fundamental skills are acquired in the specifically designed learning centres through observation of nature, using building blocks, pretend play, reading, cooking, art and reuse-and-recycle exercises. Children can learn and explore at their own pace. Teachers act as observers and document the progress at work and play.
2. One-to-One instruction: While the class is at work in the learning centres, one of the two teachers in the class interacts in rotation with a small group of students on specific skill areas.
3. Circle Time or Carpet Time: Skills of social interaction, listening, conversing, feeling, thinking, empathy and patience are learnt by sharing ideas and experiences with each other during Circle Time, which is a thought provoking period of reflection and learning.
Pre KG –Read aloud classes with colourful books and sensory touch books etc..
KG 1 –Read-aloud classes and well-stocked class libraries introduce children to reading from the first day of school. Students learn how to handle books, look at illustrations, create their own stories, and begin the process of reading.
KG 2 –More focus on the children’s natural curiosity towards books and illustrations. They begin to exhibit reading-like behavior as they reconstruct familiar stories. Towards the end of KG 2 the children will be able to read familiar text, labels, captions etc.
The language programme at the FristSteps is an exciting blend of phonics and the whole language approach. We follow the Jolly Phonics methodology in teaching the sounds. Children work and play with words and objects to develop and improve their speaking and language skills. The success of this unique programme reflects in the FirstStepper’s confident communication skills and their ability to read fluently and write with confidence.
Children explore numbers through concrete hands-on activities, which enable them to understand quantities and operations. Through counting games, number rhymes, puzzles, challenges, and other interesting activities, children will acquire a firm understanding and develope a love for mathematics. Teachers use real life examples to make learning contextual and experiential.
Science, Discovery & Explorations:
Children at this age demonstrate a keen interest in exploring and discovering the world around them. The curriculum incorporates stimuli from the immediate environment to allow observation, investigation, exploration, questioning and documentation of the children’s unique discoveries.
Sand & Water:
Soothing play materials that improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, these also kick start the imagination and facilitate group activity. Sand play is a catalyst for developing concepts, constructing language, and promoting social skills. It gives children a chance to observe concepts like moisture and volume and activities like pouring and sifting. This will be the child’s first specific exposure to cause and effect phenomena in a hands-on manner.
Cooking & Baking:
These and other work skills help children experience the satisfaction of everyday tasks and observe simple and basic scientific concepts.
To develop sensitivity to the environment, observational skills and taking responsibility through acts of caring and nurturing.
Drawing , Colouring ,Clay Work & Pottery:
To develop fine motor skills and creative expression.
To nurture creative thinking and enable articulation of ideas.
Giving the child a chance to enter a world of fantasy, as well as express a view of the world as she/he sees it.
Music & Movement:
Children engage in creative dance movements, learn to play simple musical instruments and to sing.
Theatre, Storytelling & Puppetry:
Used to develop the child’s social, emotional and communication skills. A useful tool during thematic teaching.
The curriculum facilitates regular interactions with the community. Parent and grandparent volunteers may accompany children on field trips and support them to conceptualise and execute the social projects.