Early Childhood Program
The Early Childhood program at Bayou Village School consists
of the Sunflower Garden Nursery Class (ages 2-3 1/2) and the Sweet Peas Kindergarten (ages 3 1/2-6).
The Early Childhood environment is warm and inviting. There are mostly handcrafted toys in the classroom: wooden blocks homemade from tree branches, silks and cotton cloths encouraging open-ended creative play, cloth dolls, etc. There is also a nature table reflecting the seasons. Each day on the nature walk the children gather new pieces to add to the nature table.
Children in the Sweet Peas Kindergarten are expected to be able to use the toilet. The Sunflower Garden Class children work on learning to use the toilet. For children who are still in diapers, we welcome if the parents use and bring cloth diapers.
Rhythm of the Day, Week, and Season
Everyday there is a clear rhythm for children to follow. As the day progresses, activities alternate between open-ended, child-directed activities and more inward activities, like circle-time, story time and eating snack together. Children learn organization skills by following this rhythm and feel secure because they know what to expect.
There is also a weekly rhythm: for example, Tuesday is soup-making day, Wednesday painting day, and Thursday is baking day. Finally, there is the seasonal rhythm. We celebrate seasonal festivals and incorporate certain seasonal activities.
Early Childhood Activities:
Play is a child’s work! Early childhood play is vital to a child’s growth. By socializing with other children through play, children have the opportunity to creatively imitate what they see adults doing and during this process they learn important life lessons including how to interact socially.
In addition to playing indoors, children play outdoors in large sandboxes, jumping on wooden structures, using natural log stumps, etc. Thus, children experience different natural substances and are encouraged to use their imagination to build a fort, a castle or anything else their creative minds envision. We allow children to go out in the rain and walk and play while it’s raining unless it is thundering. How refreshing to see children splash and experience a rain puddle! The children also help with gardening - sewing seeds, planting herbs, etc. They can witness the plants growing and harvest and eat them when ready! We also have tricycles and scooters for the children to use outdoors.
Cooking, Baking and Cleaning Up
Children begin to learn the responsibilities of taking care of themselves. They learn these skills by chopping up vegetables once a week for soup, making applesauce, and baking bread. Especially bread baking once a week is a special weekly process that becomes quite meaningful to each child as they form their bread and share it with others. The whole class also helps together cleaning up the kindergarten room daily.
Learning to work with watercolor once a week and initially only using one color and adding to the rainbow produces many fine young artists.
Handwork and Crafts
Besides paper crafts the children pursue simple sewing projects, learn to finger-knit with yarn and might do some wet felting.
Snack (provided by the school) and lunch (sent from home) are shared each day with fellow students. Parents can make an appointment to join the class for lunch.