Apple Tree

Understanding the Pre-K Curriculum

Researchers have conducted numerous studies over the last decade on the topic of preschool curriculum models and which of these models have the most positive impact on student success.

According to the latest research, early childhood education experts have determined specific criteria preschools must meet in order to deliver the best pre-k curriculum for your child. When researching pre-k learning options, we encourage parents to look for a pre-k program that:

  • Is grounded in the latest child development research
  • Is feasible to implement
  • Delivers educator support and training
  • Engages children of different learning styles

Pre-K Learning: Giving Children the Right Tools    

The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL), which was created to help young children make strides in early learning and development, identified 13 components that need to exist in an effective early childhood education curriculum:

  1. Grounded in child development principles
  2. Evidence-based
  3. Shows effects on child outcomes
  4. Comprehensive across learning domains
  5. Depth for each covered learning domain
  6. Specific learning goals
  7. Well-designed learning activities
  8. Responsive teaching
  9. Supports for individualized instruction
  10. Culturally and linguistically responsive
  11. Ongoing assessments
  12. Professional development opportunities
  13. Family involvement materials

At Cadence Education, we believe it is also essential that a preschool’s curriculum is easily adapted for all age groups, not simply preschool-age children. Infants and toddlers require a curriculum that supports their need to explore and discover the world around them, led by supportive, responsive educators and caregivers.

A ‘Whole Child’ Approach to Learning

Cadence Education’s proprietary curriculum, Ascend, uses a “whole child” approach to learning that ensures each student is engaged, supported, challenged, and having fun. What does this mean?

Our schools’ pre-k activities and programs aim to embrace the development of cognitive, physical, social-emotional, and creative skills through the following nine learning components:

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Science & Sensory
  • Technology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Creative Expression
  • Kind Child (Social-Emotional Understanding)
  • Cultural Understanding
  • Spanish

Our Ascend curriculum supports the belief that the most effective way to support academic skills development is to give children some control over their learning process.

We accomplish this effort by offering children a diverse range of experimental and playful activities, and by encouraging them to pick what they want to participate in each day. Their teacher is the facilitator of the learning experience, introducing skills progressively and age-appropriately.

For example, each month our preschool classroom teachers focus on particular skills to teach students. Because we teach these skills at a challenging pace, not all students in that age group will master each skill. Nevertheless, they still gain exposure to many different learning opportunities, helping them to hone those skills over time through repetition.

An effective pre-kindergarten curriculum should provide the tools to help teachers recognize where each child scores on a specific skill, and then offer the elements to take them to the next level without comparing their learning pace to that of their peers.

At Cadence Education, all activities that our preschools offer can be modified to provide more challenges or more support to a child’s skills.

Small Group Instruction Through Learning Centers

The Ascend curriculum encourages children to participate in classroom activities in a variety of ways, all occurring simultaneously within the same classroom.

For instance, while one teacher works more closely with a small group of students on a specific activity, other students may be engaged in fun, hands-on learning with classmates in various learning centers in the classroom.

This approach allows us to deliver more personalized interactions between teachers and students. As a result, our students can take more responsibility for their own learning, and in turn, we watch their independence and creativity blossom.

Providing a Social-Emotional Understanding

At Cadence Education preschools, we provide learners with our proprietary, age-appropriate “Kind Child” program, which helps us nurture and strengthen every child’s social skills and character development.

This unique program is built upon the premise that young children can only begin to develop empathy by understanding feelings, both their own feelings and the feelings of others. As part of this program, we focus on monthly social-emotional skills and a different character trait every two months. The goal of “Kind Child” is to elevate every child’s feelings of happiness, improve their well-being, and enrich their friendships.

Providing the Building Blocks

Cadence Education schools use Ascend, our expertly developed, early childhood education curriculum refined over time to provide every student with the skills and confidence for the next chapter in their life.

This core Ascend curriculum, along with our diverse enrichment programs and dedicated, hard-working teachers, work in tandem to teach math and problem-solving skills, increase literacy and vocabulary, polish physical and motor skills, and enhance emotional and social development so that your child is ready to excel in kindergarten.

Find a preschool in your area or contact us today for more information.

children sitting and listening to their preschool teacher as she reads them a story.

The Benefits of Preschool Education

At Cadence Education, we often get questions from worried parents regarding their young child’s early learning experiences. We commonly hear:

What are the benefits of early childhood education?

What advantages does my child have by receiving a preschool education? 

For starters, advances in research about the brain show that children are born learning and that their early years of life significantly impact their elementary, middle, high school, and college experiences.

Studies show that the first five years are when kids develop the essential emotional and social skills they need to succeed in a school environment.

For example, on the first day of kindergarten, teachers expect students to be able to listen, follow directions, start and complete projects, and realize when they need to ask for help. These skills are equally important as cognitive skills, such as being able to recite the alphabet, count to 10, or write their name.

At Cadence Education, we believe there are many benefits of a pre-k education:

  • It is a chance for your child to experience a structured, nurturing environment. Preschool allows children to be in a structured setting with teachers and other children where they can learn to share, follow instructions, take turns, and share the teacher’s attention with peers. Every child should have this type of group experience prior to starting kindergarten.
  • It helps your child socially and emotionally. In preschool, your child learns the art of cooperation, how to be respectful towards others, and how to solve problems. Preschool is a place where kids can gain confidence, explore, and play with friends.
  •  Preschool allows your child to discover answers to their many questions. As parents ourselves, we understand it can sometimes be challenging to answer some of your young child’s many questions about their surroundings. Preschool can make your job as a parent easier, helping your child to learn how to find answers to their questions through exploration, experimentation, and conversation with teachers and peers.
  • Preschool gives your child educational building blocks. Young children in preschool learn letters and numbers, but at their own, individualized pace and via games and activities. In a preschool setting, teachers show your child how to learn these fundamentals by offering a variety of activities young children typically find interesting, like playing with blocks, story-time, and more. For instance, to help kids learn to strengthen their pre-reading skills, teachers may play rhyming games and let children tell stories. To help kids with math skills, teachers might ask students to use a monthly calendar to count down days to a holiday, count cookies or crackers during snack time, or even play memory games.
  • It provides the groundwork for learning, both academically and socially. Young kids are naturally perceptive and curious. They want to learn the valuable life skills that their family members value daily, from reading and understanding the directions on how to assemble a toy, to determining the right amount of money necessary to make a purchase. To get children ready for the academic demands of elementary school, preschool teachers offer a broad range of activities aimed to help them acquire these necessary academic and social skills.

Find a Place Where Your Child Can Thrive

At Cadence Education, we believe in the advantages of early childhood education. The earlier your child is comfortable in the classroom setting, the more likely he or she will thrive academically, socially, and emotionally in their elementary school years and beyond.

Preschool programs focus on many key elements of your child’s development, including academic, social, physical, and emotional, among others. These critical aspects of your child’s development serve to help them prepare for kindergarten.

The preschool programs at Cadence Education support children with curriculum geared toward creating and maintaining a positive attitude towards independent learning and grasping gross and fine motor skills. Our experienced teachers also help kids establish social confidence through group learning activities.

Find a preschool in your area. For more information about our preschool programs, contact us today!

Flanagan's Preschool, Iron Bridge

Top Considerations for Selecting a Preschool

If you are in the process of selecting a preschool for your child, there is no doubt that the wide range of choices can be overwhelming. Also, the pressure to get it right the first time around is considerable.

At Cadence Education, we believe there are several factors to consider when choosing a preschool for your little one.

Whether you are considering private preschool options, a full-time childcare center, or any other type of preschool learning center, we have compiled a list of questions for you to consider regarding whether a school is the right fit for your family.

Keep in mind, even after considering these factors, instinct can be your greatest tool for picking a preschool where your child will ultimately thrive and succeed.

Is the preschool learning center licensed and accredited?

It is a requirement for all private preschools to have a license. However, the licensing process can vary. Licensing does not necessarily ensure quality, yet it does document that the school has met the state’s basic health and safety standards.

Either way, you can have peace of mind that all Cadence preschools have met the highest standards of safety and education.

Will your child be safe here?

Have the staff show you around the facility and the school grounds, and carefully explain security measures in place to ensure teachers are properly supervising children both indoors and outdoors.

Also, ask if staff members and teachers have CPR certification or know first aid measures. Finally, ask about their procedure if your child gets hurt during school hours on school property.

Does the preschool meet your child’s needs?

Kids starting preschool have a wide range of maturity levels. Some are potty-trained, others are not. Some have a harder time separating from their parents or caregivers, while others are more independent. Some still take naps, and some no longer need one.

When choosing a preschool for your child, ask how each staff deals with these basic needs and then decide if each school’s policies will work for your child’s situation.

Also, when conducting research, ask about total student population, average class size, and student-teacher ratio.

Does the preschool meet your family’s needs?

Even if several local preschools are the most popular in your community, if it does not fit within your family’s needs, you may regret your choice.

Ask yourself: Do the school hours fit with for your work schedule? Is the location convenient? Is it within your budget? Does the school operate year-round?

Finally, does the preschool provide snacks or any other meals? If so, make sure you are comfortable with their nutritional approach.

Communication Is Key

There are other areas to consider as you conduct your preschool research. When you visit local preschools, be sure to:

  • Assess the quality of students’ relationships with the preschool staff. Pay attention to the language used in the classroom and the friendliness of the teachers. Take the time to observe various classrooms during school hours to see how the teachers interact with the children.
  • Confirm communication processes. Communication between school and home is vital. When families are provided feedback and regularly involved, studies show that children tend to do better, teachers feel more supported, and everyone works together to help with the children’s learning. For example, at Cadence preschools, we provide families with our KidReports app, daily teacher-parent informal talks at drop-off/pick-up, our curriculum communication pieces, displays in the classroom, and our signature family events.
  • Understand the school’s approach to learning. High-quality preschools have structure and follow a specific philosophy, model, or curriculum, and have particular guidelines in place for addressing challenging behavior.

Will the pre-school prepare my child for kindergarten?

Knowing whether your child will be ready for kindergarten is another important consideration. The team of educators at Cadence Education encourages parents choosing a preschool to consider one that features a kindergarten readiness program.

For example, Cadence Education’s Kindergarten Club cultivates a foundational understanding of problem-solving, mathematics, reading, writing, social studies, and science. Throughout the January-August program, our preschool teachers talk more intentionally about kindergarten readiness with students, emphasizing similarities and differences, and what children can expect in elementary school. Our pre-K teachers also aim to reduce children’s’ anxiety levels about moving from a smaller school to a bigger learning environment, equipping them with the skills and emotional preparation they need to handle the transition.

Learn more about kindergarten readiness with this guide: “Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? The Parent’s Guide to Knowing If Your Child is Ready for Kindergarten”.

The bottom line: Trust your instincts. In the end, you should ask yourself if you can see your child being happy and learning at any preschool you consider.

The school should be a place where you and your child both feel welcome, that aligns with your family’s values, and that is a good match academically, emotionally, and socially.

Find a preschool in your area. For more information about our preschool programs, contact us today.