Four Year Old Program


Our program for four year olds builds on your child's love of learning and ensures that your child will have a smooth transition into kindergarten.

Learning through Play
We will build upon your child's natural curiosities through our project-based, hands-on learning approach. We design the learning to emerge from the children's interests and help develop all the children's intelligences (based upon Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences)—mathematical logical, linguistic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalist, visual-spacial, musical and bodily-kinesthetic. Teachers select a topic to explore that is of interest to the students. Then the teachers initiate the project by asking the children what they already know about the topic and what most interests them about the project. The teachers design the daily experiences to maximize the children's engagement in the project, and ensure they are learning the critical knowledge and skills for their age group. Guest speakers and walking field trips are incorporated to help enhance the breadth and depth of the project. We continually assess their learning through observing and gathering their personal efforts for their own portfolio.

Incorporating the Arts
We believe learning through the arts as well as having an appreciation for the arts is critical for all learners. Therefore, our related arts program enables our children to engage with artists once a week on an eight-week basis. The current offerings of Related Arts include: music and movement, choral music, visual art, physical education and Spanish language. Our students work with Miss Laura, our Environmental Science/Gardening Teacher once per month throughout the year, including utilizing our newly installed Edible Gardens.

Full STEAM Ahead for 21st Century Learning
The Montclair Community Pre-K launched its STEAM Initiative in 2014 as a way to ensure that our children begin to acquire the 21st Century skills and knowledge necessary for success in school and in life. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, a wonderful way to use our children's natural curiosities to develop critical 21st Century skills of creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication. Our STEAM Initiative is an outgrowth of our 10 years of success with our Garden Project under Miss Laura's leadership, where our children use modern dance to understand photosynthesis, learn to tend to the vegetable and flower gardens, understand deciduous and coniferous by studying our trees, and so much more. We had our Second Annual STEAM Fair this past spring, where classroom projects included plant propagation, making crystals, creating a replica of the solar system, comparing sink and float, creating boats to carry the "Billy Goats Gruff", designing and building a Rube Goldberg machine, and so much more. At the MCPK we're moving full STEAM ahead!

Spanish Language Program Option
Our Spanish Language Program offers children the opportunity to learn in both English and Spanish. We now offer interested families the opportunity to enroll their children in this program for two years; although this is not a requirement. We are fortunate to have native Spanish speakers in our Year 1, Year 2, Extended Care and our Spanish Related Arts Programs:
Year 1 Program is designed for our three-year-olds and those children who will turn four during the school year, where we immerse the children in both English and Spanish throughout the school year.
Year 2 Program is designed primarily for our four year olds or those children who will turn five during the school year, where we are taking an immersion approach—almost 90% of the learning is in Spanish.
Spanish Language Extended Care is a natural extension of the school day for children in both the Year 1 and Year 2 Programs. We also offer this as an optional Extended Care Program for all of our families on a first come first served basis.
Spanish Related Arts is our eight week program led by a native Spanish speaker who exposes the children to the Spanish language including numbers, colors, parts of the body, family, emotions and more.

Strengthening Families
We believe helping to build strong families is part of our mission. The stronger your family the more energy, love, support, skills and patience you will have for our child over the years. Whether this is your first experience with formal schooling or your third, our Family Network Center and Parents Association have a variety of ways to help you make connections with other families, build your parenting skills, access needed resources, get involved as a volunteer in our community and just enjoy life as a young family. Our STEAM Family Day (10/3/15), Harvest Festival (10/24), Nicky Schnarr Family Dance (Feb/March), Garden Day (May), Parent Café (ongoing), Classroom Buddies, Multi-Racial Adoption Support Group, Hand in Hand and Building Blocks parenting programs, and Parents Association fundraisers are just some of the ways to get involved.

Preparation for Kindergarten
We ensure that your child is well-prepared for kindergarten by helping to build those critical communication and problem solving skills, as well helping them meet the other Common Core State Standards, in an exciting classroom environment. When we ask kindergarten teachers what they want from us in terms of preparing children for their classrooms, here are the following skills they say are most critical:
• Taking care of their personal belongings and basic self-help skills
• Being able to sit, listen and understand during circle time (up to 30 minutes)
• Following multiple step directions
• Asking questions, especially when instructions are unclear
• Getting along with their peers
Kindergarten teachers say that letter and number recognition is much less important as that is what the kindergarten curriculum will teach the students. The above articulated skills are so critical because without those, it is very difficult for your child to learn what is being taught. We do expect that most if not all children will recognize and/or write the alphabet, as well as numbers and writing their name and many children will be writing and reading if they are ready. However, at the MCPK are primary focus is on the 21st Century skills of creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, which are the skills necessary to begin a successful career in school and in life.