Old First Nursery School has a total of sixteen students; they all play and learn together in one class, led by one head-teacher and one assistant teacher. Typically, the class will include eight boys and eight girls, half of whom will turn three and half of whom will turn four by the end of the calendar year in which they begin the school year.
We are a play-based nursery school and we use a Bank Street model of education, also known as the Development-Interaction approach. In this approach to nursery school education, teachers are highly knowledgable about the developmental stages of young children. They use this knowledge, combined with their insights gained by carefully observing their individual students, to inform their ways of engaging with children. The teachers notice the children's interests and integrate these interests into the curriculum, finding meaningful ways to introduce the children to various concepts and ideas in the world. Children are supported in forming close relationships with their teachers and classmates. You can read more about this approach on the Bank Street College of Education website.
Classroom rules are introduced organically as occasions for the rules arise. Additionally, the teachers work with the students to create a list of classroom rules. Rules are designed for the purpose of ensuring the safety and emotional well-being of the students, creating an atmosphere of friendship and respect, and taking care of the school materials.
A positive classroom environment is maintained by setting developmentally appropriate expectations, giving children the security of a dependable routine and following a play-based curriculum that allows opportunity for children to do what they enjoy. The teachers put a lot of thought and care into every detail of the school experience including selection of classroom materials, curriculum and routines so as to create the best environment in which children can be successful and happy. Teachers are very conscientious about the effects of their words on the children and are experienced at using language that is clear, consistent and respectful to the children. Any problematic behavior that arises is seen as an important teaching opportunity during which children can learn, grow and develop their social, communication and problem solving skills and see themselves as a valued part of a community. Teachers will let parents know about any issues that occur during the school day.