Berrybrook School

Second Year Program

For children age 4 by September 1

Children enrolling in our Second Year Program may choose to attend 5 mornings or 4 afternoons per week. The Program provides children with the next natural step towards independence and learning. It is designed to reflect the growing capabilities of children and while there are similarities to our First Year Program there are some significant differences. Both new-to-Berrybrook families and returning families will find that the Second Year Program is filled with many Berrybrook traditions, ample time for exploration, and problem solving with friends and opportunities for children to discover and learn as they enter this exciting age of growing independence.

A big step for second year students is saying goodbye at the classroom door and entering the classroom on their own. This procedure increases their confidence in separation and provides a strong sense of belonging to “their class”. Some children like to come into the classroom with a friend or holding a teacher’s hand, both of which encourage pride within the child and provide a natural step of independence before going to kindergarten the following year.

Even though we ask second year parents to say goodbye at the door at arrival time, parents are welcome in the 4 and 5 day classes. A volunteer sign up sheet is appropriate for first year students who often need a helping hand, but second year teachers arrange parent involvement around specific interests or particular needs in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to arrange a time to share a hobby, talent, or special interest with the class or to come in to assist with a project. Parents are also welcome to check our classroom displays and creations with their child at pick up time. Parents may also get involved by helping from home by making a fresh batch of playdough or collecting items that are needed for a project.

Berrybrook traditions remain an important part of the curriculum during the second year. Children make jelly, tap maple trees, while expanding on their understanding and learning about such traditions. New traditions such as our Plimoth Plantation field trip are introduced, as well as new and challenging projects and areas of study. When planning curriculum, teachers adhere to standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children as well as the Massachusetts Department of Education Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences. The guidelines cover learning in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology/Engineering, History and Social Science, Health Education, and the Arts. Children learn through play and meaningful activities presented in a developmental sequence.

As in the first year, the daily routine continues to include many chances to explore during independent choice time. However, these activities are adjusted to meet the needs of four and five year old children as they continue to become more independent and curious in their learning. Children choose their own “work” during Independent Choice Time, which comprises the majority of their school day. There is much to do at Berrybrook and a variety of choices are provided such as Legos, puzzles, block building, manipulatives, dramatic play, paints, playdough, etc. A classroom library includes selections relating to current curriculum as well as a listening center. Children continue to mature in their problem solving skills with others as discoveries are made within small groups and one-on-one friendships. Children practice skills such as writing, tracing, cutting, gluing, counting, and painting as they complete at least one project each day. Projects are more challenging in the Second Year Program and some take place over a period of days so that each step extends the learning that took place the previous day.

Second year students enjoy an “Open Snack.” Children may serve themselves snack when they feel hungry and join one or two friends at a small table in the classroom. This style of snacking provides independence, social interaction, math skills when counting/serving, and practice in regulating one’s own hunger – an important life skill. There are many occasions when children will have a group snack such as birthdays, cooking projects, and special celebrations.

Teachers and children gather early in their session for circle time to share information and discuss classroom issues. Often a teacher will present an activity related to what the group is currently studying. Circle time also includes familiar and new games, music, and movement. All children celebrate a “Berrybrook Birthday.” Teachers arrange a date with parents to join the class for all or part of the day. In addition to choosing a birthday snack provided by Berrybrook and creating a birthday crown, second year students celebrating their birthday participate in a special “Birthday Walk” during circle time. The daily circle time helps children become part of a connected and caring community, where they learn to listen to others and share their own ideas.

Children gather as a group again before going outside, to listen to a book that further extends our learning about a topic or tradition, provides humor, or inspires our curiosity and sense of discovery. Children play outside every day that it is not raining or freezing. At the end of our day, children gather with their class as parents arrive. Parents are responsible for supervising children after they have signed out.

A Second Year Parent Orientation Night is scheduled before school starts to answer any questions parents may have. Communication continues throughout the year in parent conferences, a monthly newsletter, email, and social media. In addition, Teachers and Administrators are happy to arrange a meeting with parents at their request. Berrybrook School values and works toward strong, reciprocal communication.

 

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