As part of the ministry of education in the Diocese of Youngstown, St. Jude Catholic Preschool is committed to diversity and open to children of all faiths and serves the entire Columbiana County. Children from ages 3 to 5 years old, are provided with an atmosphere in which young children can work and play together in a child-centered environment. St. Jude Catholic Preschool provides the building blocks for their future education and develops independent, life-long learning while instilling the child’s creativity, respect for the environment, and connectivity to community and God.
Diocese of Youngstown Philosophy
Early childhood should be a time of warmth, security, exploration, and discovery. The faith development of a person begins in the early years of life; thus, preschool education is an important part of total Catholic education. Catholic preschools, in cooperation with parents, are an effective means of teaching the Gospel message to young children. Preschool programs support the family in the growth and development of their preschool children. Diocese of Youngstown preschools are communities of learners in an environment of respect for children, families, teachers, and staff.
Young children are active, social individuals who benefit from exploring the world around them. Each is a unique person with individual growth and development patterns, individual preferences for activities, and different family and cultural backgrounds. Children learn best when they are active participants in their own learning, when their curiosity to know influence classroom planning, and when their investigations are hands-on.
A Diocese of Youngstown Preschool program will produce an atmosphere in which young children can work and play together in a child-centered environment utilizing a developmentally appropriate curriculum. Learning experiences will be provided to stimulate curiosity, to develop self-confidence and independence, and to provide literacy and other readiness skills needed in preparation for kindergarten. Since children are natural scientist and are motivated to solve problems, our programs support science and math instruction through meaningful and connected experience with integration of the arts.
Meaningful “play” is children’s work. Emphasis will be on learning which permanently affects the child’s total development and personality. This includes spiritual, emotional, physical, cognitive, and social development as well as the development of self-esteem within each child. The unique learning styles of children are considered, and children are encouraged to make choices, accept the consequences, and participate actively in learning. Intentional learning experiences and a child centered environment will help build a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
Diocese of Youngstown Preschool Program Goals and Objectives
- To develop an awareness of God’s love for each individual person and that each person is a unique child of God.
- To introduce Scripture through storytelling experiences.
- To nurture the concept of the loving goodness of God through adult examples and an awareness of nature.
- To develop trust within the child toward adults outside the home setting.
- To communicate closely with parents to better understand the individual child and his or her special gift and needs.
- To provide a warm, loving supportive atmosphere in which children feel a sense of excitement about learning and discovery, and their natural curiosity is allowed to flourish.
- To foster within the framework of the Catholic School community the child’s ability to get along with others, to respect property, and to understand the importance of rules for work and play.
- To encourage cooperation in learning and problem solving and finding peaceful solutions to problems, while respecting the rights of each person.
- To develop a sense of self-worth and self-esteem through the realization that people are the most important of all God’s creations.
- To increase independence and self-confidence in the child’s ability to make sense of the world around them.
- To provide meaningful play experience to develop positive social, emotional, and language skills.
- To provide materials and experiences that re interesting, meaningful, and developmental; in reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science, and that is geared to the age of the child.
- To encourage creativity and self-expression through various media and materials.
- To foster a positive attitude toward school and develop a love of learning as a foundation for a successful school career.
Diocese of Youngstown Statement on Developmentally Appropriate Preschool Curriculum and Activities
Young children develop in a predictable sequence; however, each child develops at his/her own rate. Early childhood instruction must be both age-appropriate and individually appropriate. Age-appropriate instruction meets the needs of a particular age span. Individual appropriate instruction focuses on the unique abilities and characteristics of a child or group of children. Developmentally appropriate experiences, interactions, and environments are designed to support the growth and development of children.
The Diocese of Youngstown Preschool Curriculum supports the development of the whole child: spiritual, cognitive, emotional, social, and physical. The Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards establish a framework for instruction that meets the needs of all young children. In developing our preschool curriculum, we pay close attention to:
- Children’s existing knowledge, skills, and interests.
- Relationships and connections between areas of development and learning
- Children’s unique learning profiles and patterns of development
- Application of skills to real-life situations
- What we know about how children learn
- Designing experiences for children which provide opportunities for depth and understanding in their explorations
- The innate passion that children have for exploring the world.
The ACCESS Curriculum is based on the belief that children are unique, capable individuals who, when provided with a rich and engaging environment, can construct their own understanding of the world around them. ACCESS is grounded in early childhood research and theory, as well as a sound understanding of child development- social, emotional, language, physical, motor, aesthetic, and cognitive. The framework affords children the opportunity to learn and develop through extended investigations. Topics for investigation are determined by observing children and their interests. The suitability of the topic of study is based on the topic’s relevance to the children, the opportunity for direct investigation, readily available resources, its ability to be easily represented through a variety of media, and its ability to support children’s development and learning of early learning content. This emergent form of the curriculum allows children to learn through play and through investigations of their world.
Catholic prayer, traditions, and values are integrated into the daily life of the preschool classroom. Stories of God’s love through scripture and the Diocese of Youngstown Curriculum for Catechesis provide the foundation for religious instruction.
Self-help skills, safety, and nutrition are part of each day. Large muscle is developed through physical education activities. Small motor and eye-hand coordination are developed through such activities as cutting, pasting, painting, pegboard, stringing, and play dough.
Social and Emotional
Social skills are developed through peer and adult interaction with the teacher serving as a constant model. Attitudes of social acceptance towards peers and those that may be different, cooperation with others, listening, accepting responsibility, and finishing a task are shown and reinforced by the staff. Children will be helped in coping with peer interaction and are not expected to act beyond their age level capabilities. Learning to recognize and handle feelings and the feeling of others permeates the interactions in the classroom.
The cognitive skills that are stressed in the preschool program include science, math, reading and literacy, social studies, music, and art. Sensory training is developed through hands-on experience, and memory is developed through the retelling of stories and events.
- Daily Routines
- Investigations/units of study that are designed intentionally from student interest as well as skill and concept development
- Learning centers where the children may move about freely and at their own pace to explore and experiment.
- Large and small group experiences including puzzles, games, fingerplays, songs, stories, poems, circle time, and discussions.
St. Jude Catholic Preschool Profile of the Graduate
- Knows that they are children of God and loved by God
- Shows respect at Church by participating in liturgical celebrations
- Begins to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God
- Exhibits academic knowledge needed to enter Kindergarten
- Mathematics- Concrete introduction to abstract math functions
- Language- development of spoken and written language, phonetic approach to reading
- Cultural- exploration if natural sciences, geography, history, and anthropology
- Adapts to positive learning environment
Service to Others
- Shows by example how to help others
- Nurtures a kind spirit by sharing, interacting, and playing with each other
- Shows care for self and one’s environment
- Shares and cooperate with others as part of a large group
- Develops independence within the classroom
- Honors the United States flag
- Respects parents, teachers, and leaders in the community
- Begins to appreciate different cultures in the world.
St. Jude’s Approach to Learning
- The “Whole Child” Approach
The goal of our program is to help each individual child reach their fullest potential in all areas of life. Activities promote the development of school skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination as well as cognitive preparation. The curriculum and the environment empower children, ignite their creativity, and build a strong sense of self, allowing them to enjoy the process of learning and the excitement of accomplishment.
- The Prepared Environment
Children learn more by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, and exploring than just by listening. To that end, the whole learning environment- room, materials, and social climate, is carefully designed to ignite a child’s natural desire to learn through exploration and discovery. Our classroom reflects the following:
- Order and Beauty of the Environment
- Everything is easily accessible to the child
- Fosters patience
- Encourages the child to make choices.
- Develops independence
- Teachable Moments- Sensitive Periods
A sensitive period is a time in a child’s life when he or she is deeply interested in and highly motivated to learn a particular skill or understand a piece of information. It is during this unique time that he or she learns a task easily. It is the role of the Teacher to identify these sensitive periods in each individual child and link the child to the appropriate learning activities and materials found in the prepared environment.
Using Montessori materials that stimulate, isolate, and self-correct a specific activity or skills, children learn and demonstrate concepts at a concrete level, and move to the abstract.