Highly qualified preschool teachers guide each child on a path designed to promote independent reasoning, healthy self-image and the joy of discovery. The classrooms are ideally designed and organized to allow children maximum independence and access to books, toys and costumes while ensuring comfort and security. Consistency and a sense that "I know what to expect" are very important for the young child, so each day is scheduled around a mixture of routine activities such as circle time and story time... even clean-up time helps the child to master his or her environment and develop good habits. New activities are included in each day to introduce novel or seasonal concepts and to keep the school experience fresh and exciting for the children.
Play is a concrete learning experience for the young child and in this setting also promotes peer interaction, sharing skills and guided conflict-resolution. IHM preschoolers are provided with ample time for free and organized play. Age-appropriate toys are arranged in areas that allow sufficient space for play-acting and small-group interaction.
Language arts are introduced to the IHM preschooler through stimulating visual and auditory recall exercises. Good listening skills and enjoyment of books are preschool skills that benefit the child forever. Students enjoy a special weekly story time with our school librarian and four-year-olds participate in monthly creative writing projects that were designed in coordination with our elementary school's award-winning writing program.
Math readiness is developed as teachers introduce numeration, spatial sense, calendar skills, recognition of geometric shapes, and measurement concepts.
Art, music and drama are central to the young child's creative expression. Singing, dancing, playing instruments, even listening to classical background music during free play, not only enhance the child's enjoyment but provide a foundation for later arts appreciation. Dramatic play is a much-loved part of each day and several times per year, the children have the opportunity to experience live musical and theatrical performances. The preschool children perform at both the Christmas and Spring Concerts.
Social Studies are introduced as the child learns about families, neighborhoods, communities and the Earth's environment. Changing seasons and holidays offer the background for introducing traditions, historical events and multi-cultural explorations.
Physical Education and health are stressed at Immaculate Heart of Mary which has been recognized for the full-spectrum "Step Up to the Plate" program. Children learn about good nutrition, the importance of exercise, appropriate hygiene, and the need for rest. Our "right-size" outdoor playground is enjoyed by the children every day the weather allows. Coordination, balance and strength are developed through gross and fine motor activities.
Science concepts underlay the classroom explorations that focus on such topics as the five senses, the changing seasons, sinking/floating objects, etc. Learning to make simple predictions of experimental outcomes, the child experiments with matter and explores living things.
Religion is an important part of the Catholic preschool program. God's loving goodness is explored through stories and activities. The child learns to feel secure in God's love and begins to understand the importance of others' feelings.
The Buddy Program - Throughout Immaculate Heart of Mary School, younger children are paired with older buddies with whom they enjoy all sorts of special activities....crafts, board games, stories, etc. The preschoolers particularly enjoy the time they spend with the "big kids" and the older children develop a caring relationship with their young buddies.