Our mission is to prepare young children to attain success in life.
Success In Life
Society often tells us the accumulation of wealth, power, recognition, or fame are hallmarks of a successful life. At First Steps Academy, we believe a person can only be called successful if they are following God’s plan for their life. For young children, their plan is just starting to be revealed so we must prepare them by building a solid academic foundation that expands their opportunities to serve, and by creating strength of character that empowers them to choose the right way over the convenient way. In the end, our students will be measured by how much they gave and not how much they got.
Our infant program is designed to capitalize on the vast learning ability of infants in our loving and safe environment. Children participate in several activities during their awake periods to help them learn about our world.
During story times, teachers read books to children individually and as a group.
Once infants can hold themselves up, the arts & crafts period gives them an opportunity to explore different materials (paints, objects, foods..).
Buggy rides give infants an opportunity to explore the world outside the classroom twice per day.
Exercise periods aid muscle development.
During music time children enjoy sounds or sing songs with their teachers.
Picture book time provides the opportunity for infants to start recognizing objects and patterns.
Toddlers start each day with breakfast, but quickly move into activities that are designed to expand vocabulary, develop fine and gross motor ability and social skills. A few of the activities designed for our toddlers include:
Arts and crafts projects to encourage the development of fine motor skills
Story time to help develop language skills and model the joy and value of reading
Music time to encourage expression and allow children to play with instruments or dance with colored pompoms
Materials time to allow children to explore the sensation of touch and use of different items (water, sand, clay, etc…)
Matching activities to aid object and pattern recognition.
Free play to encourage the development of both social skills and values like sharing and gentleness.
Toddlers also begin to experience a more structured environment as they follow the daily group schedule for the class. Children eat breakfast, lunch and snacks at a table as a group and participate in an after lunch nap time. The afternoon is then filled with snack and more acitivities and fun!
The main goal of our two year old program is to support children in their natural desire to gain independence. The teachers and environment encourage children to interact with everything from cubbies to the toilet. Even sinks are placed at a height that is reachable to most two year old children. We encourage them to start doing things for themselves, including washing their hands, putting things away and taking things out.
The majority of children will become potty trained in this classroom. We work with you as a team to encourage potty training and make the experience fun and rewarding. We find many children become excited to start using the potty when they see their friends using it too. Every milestone along the way is a chance for a celebration. We may give stickers or small rewards when a child has used the potty or when they can come to school in “big kid underwear”. Although this can be challenging time for some children, we do our best to make it as fun as possible.
Our three year old program is designed to develop early social, pre-writing and pre-math skills. Children will have usually turned three before entering the program although some may turn three shortly after starting.
Academically the children develop their fine motor skills to practice writing. Many children can write their name by the end of their time in this classroom. It is also a year where many children will name their first friends and we start seeing them really play together, not just next to each other. These social interactions are very important, so we make sure the children have time in free play to build those skills. The teachers will also direct play by setting out specific centers to provide both a social time as well as a skill building activity.
Four year olds are introduced to more structure and opportunities to explore. Children work more regularly on their writing skills including capital and lower case letters. They also spend a significant amount of time learning about phonics since it teaches the fundamental building blocks of successful reading. Math?
At this age, children start to become aware of their own talents and begin recognizing how they compare to other children. This is an important year to build confidence by making sure each child feels supported to try every activity, even if they perhaps do not always get the answer right the first time. Although the children still have free play time, it is usually planned in the afternoon.
Children participate in the following weekly specialty classes:
Values (focusing on one or our two values a month)
Kindergartners have the most structured routine of all the age groups in the school. The children work on projects, read books, listen to stories, complete worksheets and collaborate on assignments in each of the subject areas listed above. Instead of taking a nap, children have a quite time where they can participate in a activity of their choice; many choose to read a book or work on an art project at their desk.
The materials and lessons for the class are mostly provided by the A Beka curriculum and Zoophonics, however the teacher will supplement or adapt the lessons based on the needs and abilities of the students. We find that children who have attended First Steps Academy for a couple years, tend to be at least one year ahead of similar aged children by the time they leave us to enter the public schools in the area.
Students participate in the following weekly specialty classes:
Kindergarten is the first classroom where the children have their own desks and keep track of their own supplies. They also have responsibility for caring for our school pet, Hop, by cleaning his cage each week and they are proud to fulfill the duties of their weekly assigned jobs (door holder, weather helper, line leader, etc…)