Yes, we are a Spanish-immersion preschool, but you may not know that some English is taught here as well! In addition to our dual-language Kindergarten, our three and four-year-old classes look forward to a 30-minute visit from a native English-speaking teacher every Monday – Thursday which helps prepare them for elementary school.
This time is rich with learning opportunities – and not just in language arts, but in math, science, and social studies too! Activities in the English class follow guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency’s TEKS or Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. They involve thinking, reasoning, and communicating with others and they help build connections among the many preschool subject matters.
While English class is short, learning is maximized with a schedule that includes some or all of the following:
- Good Morning Song: The teacher comes in singing a song or begins the class with songs that signal the transition to English class.
- Calendar Time: So much learning goes on here! This topic teaches concepts in:
- Math – number recognition, counting, patterning, and addition
- Time – days of the week, months of the year
- Science – seasons of the year
- Social Studies – discussing specific dates and their significance, like Grandparents’ Day and the first day of autumn.
- Introduction of Theme and Letter of the Week: The theme flows naturally out of calendar time as themes tend to reflect the time of year (social studies). The letter of the week is introduced (language arts). For example, if the letter of the week is “M,” we will be learning about the letter “M” – how it sounds, what it looks like and things that begin with “M.” In August, because it was the first month of school, our theme was “All about Me.” And look, the letter of the week is featured prominently in the title!
- Activity: Here we incorporate something interactive like a finger-play or poem that goes with the letter. This activity might even relate to science or social studies. Children could be asked to search for and locate a given letter in their names, a poster, a book, or around the room (language arts – phonics).
For example, “Miss Mary Mack” is a fun song/poem that is full of M’s. The children are asked about what words they hear that begin with the letter M and find them in the poem. They love to contribute!
- Book: Storytime is always a hit! In addition to enjoying a good tale, the teacher incorporates discussion about the author and illustrator. The class makes predictions about the story based on the title and cover illustration (science, social studies, or language arts).
For example, the book I Like Me is written by Nancy Carlson. There is a pig on the cover. The students may predict the book is about pigs because of the illustration. This book is about a girl (who is personified as a) pig and many of the things she likes.
- Book Discussion: The teacher and students discuss the characters and setting of the story. They identify the main problem and how it was solved in the story (language arts). They talk about how the story might relate to them (social studies). For example, in I Like Me, the pig tells us things about herself and what she likes to do. The teacher then invites the children to take turns talking about themselves. Participation is enthusiastic, as they each like to tell their own story!
- Get up and Dance: The children love this chance to move about! “Head and Shoulders” was the perfect song for the theme, All about Me.
- Special Activity: This can be something that relates to the story or can be a general letter activity. Hands-on activities help bring concepts to life, allowing children to use their sense of touch, smell, hearing, and more. Letter activities can include magnetic letters, letter bingo, word puzzles, rhyming activities, etc. English teachers love to change it up and make learning magical! (language arts, social studies).
- Closing: English time comes to a close with a Goodbye Song, a Sticker/Stamp, and High-Fives/Hugs. The children often have a special bond with their English teacher and love to celebrate their learning accomplishments each day with a “High-Five” and a “Great Job!”
As you can see, we pack a lot of learning into a short period! English time at SSH is a condensed and concentrated version of a regular English preschool day. This mini-curriculum is a complement to the Spanish curriculum, highlighting and reinforcing what students are learning in Spanish and most importantly, preparing them for elementary school.
The children are continually learning how to take turns, how to wait and be patient, and how to be good listeners. These are certainly invaluable skills… in any language! Now that you know a little about this part of their day, you can ask your child about what they are learning in English class!