The Learning Academy is a private preschool program located in Prairie Athletic Club servicing children who are 3&4 years old. We are a morning only program that runs Monday through Thursday from 8:15am-11:10am. Within those 4 days of service, you may choose a 2, 3, or 4 day a week for your child based upon class availability. The ratio of teacher to child is a maximum of 1:10. Children who will be entering kindergarten the year following The Learning Academy may want to consider a 4 day a week program to be optimally prepared for kindergarten. We are fully licensed by the State Of Wisconsin and follow all state mandates on health and safety requirements.
We follow the Roots Up curriculum developed by Erin Sadler, M.Ed. The Roots Up curriculum examines the brain research that states how children learn best and then develops that brain research into an educational program for preschool. For years in America, preschool has been looked at as "just fun and play". That is exactly what it should be, however, the implementation of research regarding how to support that "fun and play" will have a lifelong effect on how your child learns and interacts with the world. Roots Up takes what we believe to be the key components to creating successful, happy, achieving learners.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL CONNECTION AND AWARENESS OF SELF AND OTHERS:
Research has shown that the biggest indicator of success later in life both academically and in the work force is a person's ability to be socially and emotionally aware of themselves and others. These neurological patterns of social and emotional connectivity start the minute we are born. Our brains are wired for connection to others. Creating strong social and emotional connection at the preschool age is paramount for success later in life. To be connected to others, we must also be connected to ourselves and mindful of how our behaviors impact us at a personal level and our connections with others. Being able to self-regulate our emotions is an incredibly powerful tool for life success. At The Learning Academy, we structure our play and activities to promote meaningful connection and conversation around developing social and emotional skills.
A life skill for helping regulate our emotions and thoughts is the practice of mindfulness. The Learning Academy promotes mindful tools as a way to empower children to understand their thoughts and behaviors as things within their control. Giving children mindfulness tools and practicing mindfulness in the classroom has been shown to help children self-regulate, decrease stress and anxiety, induce a state of calm and peacefulness, increase focus and have a positive impact on the ability to learn. Just like muscles need repeated weight training to grow, so do our mindfulness "muscles". At The Learning Academy we have a daily practice of mindfulness as well as weaving it into how we play and interact with others. We aim to give children tools in mindfulness that will help them throughout their entire lives. In our class we discuss solving conflicts using mindfulness, mindful breathing, mindful games, overcoming fears and anxieties using our mindful powers. We also use mindfulness in our yoga practice that includes mindful breathing along with fun and healthy exercise movement. We also build in time for reflection and practice reflection regarding our learning and interactions. We encourage children to mindfully reflect on their goals and adjust their learning and behaviors to meet their goals.
CO-CREATION AND REFLECTION:
We also build in time for reflection and practice reflection regarding our learning and interactions. We encourage children to mindfully reflect on their goals and adjust their learning and behaviors to meet their goals. Our classroom learning will be directly impacted by student interest and comprehension of topics. Student curiosity and knowledge base will guide our learning. Reflection is an important part of assimilation of knowledge and understanding. Allowing children to have time to reflect on learning and behavior allows them deepen their learning.
BRAIN BUILDING PRACTICES:
There are several practices of character and values that have positive impacts on neurological growth and wiring. We focus on the following at The Learning Academy
KINDNESS, EMPATHY, COMPASSION,
COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, GRIT,
At the preschool level, we introduce children to the vocabulary of these traits. We develop meaning together through play and practice and we read literature that is rich in demonstrating what these practices look like in the world. This also becomes our class "code" that we honor as a way of living at preschool. We wear kindness capes at school where we are both recognized or our kind actions and also "look out" for kind actions of others. We have a daily gratitude journal practice. We use language that promotes growth such as "I can't do it...YET". We encourage creative thought and collaboration amongst students. We discuss and practice what respecting others looks like. We have classroom jobs and all work together to obtain our goals and demonstrate responsibility. We also take ownership if we hurt someone, make sure we ask them if they are alright and responsibly apologize if necessary. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions and our words and realize that we can effect changes we would like to see in ourselves and our actions.
HEALTHY EATING AND EXERCISE:
The Roots Up curriculum promotes a mind/body connection. We cannot expect a child's brain to function at the optimal level without healthy eating and exercise practices. At The Learning Academy, we educate children about what healthy food choices look like. We also discuss what food does in our body and that what and how we eat will impact how we learn. Our curriculum also educates children on the effects of too much sugar and how excess sugar impedes learning and development.
Exercise is also a large component to having a healthy mind and body. Exercise helps to both keep us healthy and helps us think better and become better learners. We have a daily practice of exercise that includes gross motor skills time. We teach children that moving their bodies has a large impact on health and learning.
Research shows that when children have an understanding of how their brains and bodies work, they are better able take ownership of taking care of them.
The Roots Up curriculum hopes to inspire a ripple effect in the learning within our classroom as well as the world outside our classroom. The greatest impact on a child's development and learning occurs when the principles of learning are extended and supported outside the classroom. We aim to support caregivers in implementing the curriculum at home. The greater a child is supported in their quest of learning by giving tools, language and guidance in their development the greater the amount of learning and brain development that occurs. We will co-create and extend a learning chain to parents and caregivers that helps support their child's growth and encourages community outside our classroom doors. We will have caregiver meetings so explain our curriculum and give tangible ways to extend the practices at home.
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