Busy Bee‘s teachers use the Creative Curriculum and Teaching Strategies GOLD, two nationally recognized resources for effective teaching – meeting children right where they are, developing and refining fun lesson plans and establishing challenging and yet achievable learning goals. Their authentic, ongoing observations are critical to the planning of appropriate learning experiences that will help the children in each class thrive. Using these tools, we hope to be well prepared to meet with you for Parent Teacher Conferences.
Current research suggests a hands-on, active and engaging environment is the best setting for young learners. We strive to provide a balance between teacher directed learning and active, child directed play. Our teachers strategically plan each day with opportunities for both types of growth. Busy Bee Preschool implements a curriculum that is developmental in nature. Instruction in subjects is a sequential process. What children learn in Kindergarten builds on what they have learned in preschool. Similarly, within any given class, learning progresses from day to day and week to week as a cumulative process. For this to be effective, the learning process must be organized in meaningful sequences and foundations must be set correctly. For example, when teaching a child to read, his/her reading-readiness skills must first be determined.
Prerequisites for reading readiness include:
- Sorting (colors, shapes, objects, letters)
- Left to right progression (peg work, stringing, patterning and sequencing)
- Discriminating a figure from background (able to pick out letters and numbers from any background)
- Matching (objects, letters, words)
- Discriminating two like or unlike (objects, letters, words)
- Discriminating 2 out of 3, different/same (notice differences and similarities in a letter, shapes, pictures)
- Matching letters
- Receptive knowledge of letters (recognizing letters)
- Expressive knowledge of letters (identify letters)
- Letter sound associations
There are many techniques that prepare children for reading-readiness skills. When placing objects (crayons, blocks, scissors, pegs, beads, etc) on the table for a specific activity you can set the proper groundwork by placing the objects on the left to encourage left to right progressions. When your child draws a picture you can label the objects and actions to help your child make word associations. This will encourage your child to take an interest in reading. These are just a few examples of how Busy Bee prepares your child for success.
Our Focus Areas of Learning
- Fine Motor
- Gross Motor
Summary of Learning Areas
- Dressing skills (snaps, buttons, zips, buckles, ties)
- Toileting (independent use of the restroom)
- Eating (opening packages, drinking out of a cup, pours, spreads, cuts)
- General independence (grabbing a drink of water, a snack, or a toy for themselves)
- Grooming/hygiene (washing their hands, brushing their teeth)
- Expressive (talk and gesture)
- Personal data (knows their first and last name, how old they are, their parents names)
- Expresses wants/needs
- Answers “wh” questions (who, what, where, why)
- Age-appropriate vocabulary skills (moving from two or three word phrases to full sentences)
- Sings, tells nursery rhymes
- Short-term auditory memory (can repeat parts of a short story)
- Delivers messages (
- Music & Art – creative expression through different mediums and instruments
- Follows 1, 2, 3 step directions
- Auditory memory (repeats numbers, simple songs, sentences & musical patterns)
- Follows story line (sequences events in a story)
- Interacts with adults
- Interacts with peers
- Encourages problem solving skills
- Expression of feelings/affect
- Follows routines
- Abides by rules
- Plays cooperative/parallel/solitary
- Forms relationships
- Attention span
- Participates in group, circle time
- Manual Dexterity
- Strings beads
- Nests objects
- Builds block tower/bridge
- Manipulates playdoh
- Establishes hand dominance
- Snips with scissors
- Cuts on lines
- Cuts out shapes
- Completes puzzles
- Imitates parquetry designs
- Develops eye-hand coordination
- Visually tracks a path
- Does maze work
- Makes circular, horizontal and vertical motions
- Traces simple designs
- Imitates simple designs
- Copies simple designs
- Traces letters
- Imitates letters
- Copies letters
- Proper pencil or crayon grasp
- Writes name independently
- Pedaling a tricycle
- Enjoys books
- Visually discriminates (objects, designs, letters, words)
- Recites alphabet
- Letter recognizes upper and lower letters
- Matching (shapes, numbers, letters, items)
- Identifies receptively
- Sight vocabulary
- Rote counts
- One-to-one correspondence
- Comparing sizes and shapes
- Sorting & classifying objects into sets
- Graphing & charting
- Simple measuring
- Qualitative concepts
- Quantitative concepts
- Identifies objects by use
- Understands what to do in different situations (indoor voice, outdoor voice, sit quietly, raise their hand, wait their turn)
- Body parts and weather (can identify body parts and describe the weather)
INDIVIDUAL AND SMALL GROUP LEARNING ACTIVITIES
During this part of the day the teachers are able to work individually with the children, teaching cognitive skills including numbers, letters, colors and shapes. This center time often includes some fine motor art activities focused on the theme or unit they are studying.
Circle time is when new centers, units, letters, colors, numbers, and shapes are introduced and others are reviewed. It’s an opportunity for building new vocabulary and improving language skills. Sometimes “Show and Tell” is a part of Circle Time. Often at Circle Time the helpers are assigned to assist with the calendar, weather, be a line leader, snack server, table wiper, or handy helper. (Not all classes do all of these jobs.) Attendance is also noted.
SHOW AND TELL
Show and tell items are usually things that coincide with the present unit. This is a good time for language development as each child will be able to answer questions and talk about what he or she brought while the rest of the children are encouraged to listen. The teacher will notify the parents about how “show and tell” is structured in their classroom.
MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
Your child will be engaged in music and movement activities for about 20 minutes each day. These activities utilize instruments, bean bags, the parachute, bells and drums. Units are often reinforced during this active time period. Christian songs, finger plays and simple Bible verses, secular music and preschool exercise or music videos may be used.
GROSS MOTOR ACTIVITIES/RECESS
Gross motor activities are generally held outside for 30 minutes each day. On excessively cold or wet days, the children may go to the gym. Gross motor and social skills will be a focus during this free play period. The physical health and development of all children is important to us. In keeping with current research and nationally developed obesity prevention programs, (Head Start Body Smart-HSBS & I Am Moving I Am Learning-IMIL) Busy Bee provides opportunities for children to engage in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) daily via our structured music and movement time, unstructured recess experiences, and specific lunch bunch activities. The science linking gross motor functions in front and in back of the brain, making movement 1 source of stimulation that impacts all areas of the brain” (169). Building the brain network, via incoming sensory, perceptual and movement information is the strongest during early childhood. These brain network connections are strengthened by consistent, repeated and multisensory learning experiences, which in turn lead to increased cognitive understanding and the ability to retrieve information in new situations. Not only does movement increase brain development and the capacity to learn, but it lifts our spirits as well.
At least once a week the children will hear a story from the Bible and receive another page for their Busy Bee Bible Storybook. The children will be encouraged to memorize Bible verses and understand biblical values such as love, gentleness, kindness, joy and peace.
MATH AND SCIENCE
These subjects are integrated throughout the unit activities. Children can count out their own crackers at snack or make a class graph showing which vehicle pictured goes on the land, in the air, or in the water. Specific science units, like the butterflies and metamorphosis, are completed monthly throughout the year.
Books are chosen that coincide with the unit the class is studying. There is time set aside each day for stories, as well as free time for reading.
One or two paper and pencil activities are presented for a short time each day, depending on the age of the children. Worksheets are designed to enhance learning about the unit, letter, number, or shape for the month. Children are encouraged to try to do their best, but perfection is definitely not expected. Fine motor skills and proper pencil grasp are a focus during this time.
Special activities at Busy Bee include: visits from the Littleton Fire Department; vision screening; the Fall Festival; Rodeo Days; Pepperoni Pizza Pajama Day; Valentines Card Exchange; Leprechaun and St. Patrick’s Day Gold Coin Hunt; Easter Egg Hunt; Art Gala; and, a performance by Merry Andrew Afoot. We also have special all school performances by the children at Thanksgiving, Christmas and at the end of the year. These activities are posted on the web and parents are reminded via the weekly email. This gives parents an opportunity to meet other Busy Bee families and provide support for the class.
Busy Bee teachers encourage the children to “do their own thing” when it comes to creating an art project. Whether it’s painting, using markers, cutting, or pasting, whatever the activity, the end product is the student’s work. The product may occasionally seem unrecognizable, but it shows what the child is able to do. The teachers believe that it’s the process, not the end product that counts. Various art activities will be offered each day and in April several pieces of each child’s art work will be displayed at our Annual Art Gala.
TELEVISION AND VIDEOS
There are times when a video will be shown to a class because it goes well with the unit or theme the class is studying. These movies do not last longer than 20 minutes and occur only three or four times a year. There are other occasions when a short children’s music or exercise video may be presented as part of the music and movement time. There is a permission slip for television viewing in the parent enrollment packet. If you did not complete this form during the enrollment process, please come by the office to sign the authorization slip. Otherwise, your child will be directed to another activity if a video is to be used during school.
Field trips are an integral part of the early education experience. Parents are informed of them in advance through the monthly newsletter and weekly announcements emailed by the teacher and/or director. We need one adult for every three or four children during these excursions. Busy Bee schedules one field trip to “Milliken Park” for the Walkathon Nature Walk on the Highline Canal and a visit to the Littleton Museum each year, and we encourage parents to accompany us.
PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES AND PROGRESS REPORTS
The home visit is the first Parent-Teacher conference scheduled in August before school starts. Prior to or at the meeting, parents will complete the ASQ, the Age and Stages Questionnaire. This is an excellent time to help children begin to make that transition from home to school or from class to class and form a relationship with their new teacher.
The second conference will be held at school in mid October. The conference is held during 30 minute slots throughout the preschool day, therefore there will be no school that day. Childcare will be available to allow the parents to meet with the teacher alone. Parents may request an additional parent teacher conference in January or as needed.
The skill areas addressed may include physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. Following this initial parent-teacher conference, observations are made and written progress reports are constructed to update the parents in October and again at the end of the year. Like you, Busy Bee longs to ensure your child has a strong foundation for life-long learning. To teach effectively, the teachers must determine what to teach, and then the best ways for each child to learn. Busy Bee was awarded a grant from the Colorado Department of Education which enables us to electronically record each child’s progress regularly through the year using TSGold, a nationally standardized tool. We are continuing to use these tools to enhance our teaching and your child’s learning opportunities.
Additional conferences may be set up anytime the teacher or parent feels there is a need due to special circumstances. Please make an appointment if you would like to talk with your child’s teacher at length, as she is responsible for the care and supervision of all the children in her classroom during regular school hours.
What is TS Gold?
- Teaching Strategies GOLD® is an authentic observation-based assessment system for children from birth through kindergarten that we use for the children at Bethany Busy Bee. The system may be implemented with any developmentally appropriate curriculum. It blends ongoing observational assessment for all areas of development and learning with performance tasks for selected predictors of school success in the areas of literacy and numeracy. Teaching Strategies GOLD® can be used to assess all children, including English-language learners, children with disabilities, and children who demonstrate competencies beyond typical developmental expectations.
- The primary purpose of Teaching Strategies GOLD® is to document children’s learning over time, inform instruction, and facilitate communication with families and other stakeholders. It is important to remember that Teaching Strategies GOLD® is not intended as a screening or diagnostic measure, an achievement test, or a program-evaluation tool.
- Teaching Strategies GOLD® enables educators to focus on and measure the knowledge, skills, and behaviors most predictive of school success. The tool has a total of 38 objectives. Two objectives are related specifically to English language acquisition, and the other 36 objectives are organized into nine areas of development and content-area learning. The areas are • Social–Emotional • Physical • Language • Cognitive • Literacy • Mathematics • Science and Technology • The Arts
- Teaching Strategies Gold® presents progressions of development and learning for objectives in the areas of social–emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development and in the content areas of literacy, mathematics, and English-language acquisition. Indicators and examples enable tool administrators to rate children’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors on a 10-point scale of “Not Yet” to level 9. Furthermore, with the exception of those for English language acquisition, the progressions use colored bands to show widely held expectations for various ages (birth–1 year, 1–2 years, and 2–3 years) and for various classes/grades (preschool 3, pre-K 4, and kindergarten). At a glance, these colored bands show educators and families which skills and behaviors are typical for children of a particular age or class/grade. The bands help teachers manage the complexity of young children’s development, which Teaching Strategies Gold® recognizes as being uneven and rapidly changing. They also help teachers and families understand that expectations for a particular age or class often overlap expectations for another.
- For example: Under a category of “Establishes and sustains positive relationships” one of the specifics reviewed may be “Interacts with peers” Level 2 is “Plays near other children: uses similar materials or actions” such as sits next to child playing an instrument; imitates other children building with blocks; looks at another child’s painting and chooses the same color, Level 4 “Uses successful strategies for entering groups” such as watches what other children are doing for a few minutes and then contributes an idea; asks “Can I run with you? Level 8 “Interacts cooperatively in groups of four or five children” such as takes turns being “it” during tag game on the playground; invites multiple peers to join in play.
Benefits of TS Gold
- Can be implemented with various curriculums.
- Can be utilized for all children including English -language learners, children with disabilities, and for any child who demonstrates competencies beyond typical developmental expectations.
- Documents children’s learning over time, which informs instruction and facilitates communication with families. It is not intended to be used as a screening tool, diagnostic measure, an achievement test, or a program-evaluation tool.
- Contains 38 objectives organized into nine areas of development and learning, including: Social Emotional; Physical; Language; Cognitive; Literacy; Mathematics; Science & Technology; Social Studies; and the Arts.
- Developmental and learning growth is presented in a progressive range that uses color coded bands to outline the widely held expectations of specific knowledge, skills, and behaviors for certain age levels. This approach allows both educators and parents to understand and manage the complexity of a young learners’ development; which can often be uneven, change rapidly, and even overlap with other age ranges and expectations.
You are welcome to see Joyce Bertram, Ethel McGowan or Meredith Haun individually to have a personalized explanation. We are always available for any questions, concerns or clarifications!
Teachers engage in TS Gold assessment training annually and hold reliability rating certification.