St. Timothy’s curriculum is play-based and uses the best principles of both the traditional self-contained structured classroom (“homeroom”) model and the “open classroom” model, where the child is free to extend his/her interests by selecting work and play areas in various activity rooms. Our day starts in homeroom, where students play with classmates of their own age, work on daily projects with their teachers, and have circle time, which offers whole group activities such as songs, stories, and show and tell. After homeroom we have an hour of “Open Time,” during which all students have the opportunity to go from room-to-room for various math, science, and art activities that are all related to the theme of the week. They can visit the art room, snack room, science room, math room, music/yoga room and enjoy some play time in either the quiet or play rooms at their own pace, giving students of all ages the chance to play and work with each other. After Open Time, students return to their homerooms for class-specific activities and outdoor play time.
The confidence, responsibility and independence the children gain from daily Open Time experience is fascinating to see. Studies have shown that children who can move about during the school day tend to have an easier time focusing and learning. And the interaction between the younger and older students helps develop maturity and independence in the younger students and responsibility and helpfulness in the older students.
The teachers take full advantage of the eight beautiful acres and large, fenced-in playground for outdoor play experiences. The program is enriched by select field trips during the year and by visits from local resource personnel, such as the annual Fire Department puppet show and the “Otto the Auto” safety presentation. We also encourage parents to share their skills with the student body (e.g., we have had parents give presentations on the Powhatan Native American Tribe in Virginia, the space shuttle program, the Armed Forces, and Indian dancing for Diwali), and we ask parents to assist with field trips by providing transportation and additional supervision.
Junior Preschool and Three Year Old Class Curriculum:
St. Timothy’s Pre-School focuses on learning through play. We want our students to have fun, and that fun happens in an enriched environment where the students may not even realize that they are learning while playing. Our goals for the Junior Preschool and Three Year program are as follows:
- Foster the development of social skills: sharing, using words to express wants and needs, taking turns both with items and in speaking, waiting in a queue, listening as others speak, and following directions. The main focus of our these programs is learning and practicing appropriate social interactions, with an emphasis on treating others with kindness, acceptance, and compassion.
- Foster emotional development: recognize one’s own emotions, learn socially acceptable ways of expressing those emotions, and learning understand how others might be feeling.
- Develop fine motor skills, especially holding a pencil/crayon/marker correctly, exercising the muscles needed for writing and drawing, and learning to use scissors.
- Encourage independence and decision making.
- Encourage language development.
- Encouraging cognitive development, including letters, numbers, colors, shapes, time, recall, imagination, multi-part direction following, and making connections or drawing conclusions.
- Encourage the development of gross motor skills.
Pre-K Class Curriculum:
During the Pre-K year we continue to foster the development of social skills: sharing, taking turns both with items and in speaking, waiting in a line, listening as others speak, and following directions. These skills become more important as they increase their knowledge and prepare for kindergarten.
We also begin to add new academic skills to the curriculum. The Pre-K homeroom classes follow the Handwriting Without Tears® Curriculum, which is a Kindergarten-Readiness program used by the Fairfax County Public Schools. Some of our goals for the Pre-Kindergarten program are as follows:
- Focus on daily learning experiences that help children to communicate verbally, interact with their peers, participate in problem-solving activities, and think critically.
- Provide opportunities for students to develop a love of books, identify sounds, rhyme words, and develop letter-sound relationships.
- Learn to sequence events, categorize groups of items, and make comparisons.
- Promote writing development via the Handwriting Without Tears® Curriculum, which starts with learning the straight letters first, followed by the curved and then the slanted letters. The children will learn to write upper- and lower-case letters.
- Learn and practice the sounds that each letter makes.
- The children will learn to recognize and write their first and last names.
- Become familiar with numbers. Learn to write the numbers from 0 to 20. They will learn to create groups of items to correspond with the numbers.
- The children will learn to count to 100.
- Gain knowledge about themselves as individuals, and as members of a family, a community, and the world, through our All About Me posters and weekly Show and Tell.
- Encourage student’s creativity and higher-level thinking.
- Students will learn the Pledge of Allegiance and its meaning.
All activities are planned and supervised by experienced teachers who encourage and motivate the child in the development of his/her individual strengths. Numerous activities are provided for the creation of responsible, cooperative peer relationships. Contact the preschool or call 703-437-4767 to find out more about the curriculum.