INFANT/ TODDLER PROGRAM (3MONTHS-2 Y/O)
At Buckle My Shoe Tribeca, our infant and toddler programs are designed to nurture the extremely competent learners we all begin as from birth. We are born researchers and are innately curious about the world around us. We work with warmth and care to establish a strong foundation for all future learning and success.
The nurturing that occurs comes both in the form of care taking and of educating - with the two actions occurring simultaneously. To accomplish this, our educators first work to establish strong relationships with the individual parents and children. We bridge home schedules with how the school day flows, with flexibility on nap times and eating times specifically in our infant room. As trust and comfort is gained, a community of learners emerges, despite age; even infants display happiness in seeing their teachers and classmates and environment.
With all of us working together, parent, teacher and child, an assortment of experiences are offered that encourage the desire to create even greater connections amongst each other through the use of expressive materials which vary depending on age and ability. For our youngest infants, this might be paint sealed in a bag for them to touch, squeeze and push. For a one year old, it might be a block of clay presented on the floor to explore with our whole bodies. These experiences are presented in the language of childhood: open-ended play. Ideas specific to each classroom and the individual children are explored to a variety of degrees. As the year progresses habituation, essential skills are honed and many ideas are expanded upon.
The explorations provided are geared at encouraging a variety of developmentally appropriate learning based in social/emotional development, belonging to and participating in a community of learners, cognitive reasoning and problem solving, mark making, language and literacy, and fine/gross motor development.
YOUNG TWO/OLDER TWO PROGRAM
During a typical day in a twos classroom, we are working on very important social emotional skills that will impact the rest of our lives. Being able to work within a group is a skill that really starts developing in the twos. We cultivate a community of empathy through sharing, expressing how we feel (whether that be angry about sharing or happy that a friend was kind), and developing the language necessary to say what we want and need. Twos are encouraged to look into mirrors and really start connecting facial expressions with emotions. Fostering strong ability to identify and empathize with feelings allows us to move from parallel play to playing with each other and developing close friendships.
Additionally, we begin using materials like clay and homemade playdough to develop pre-writing skills and strengthen the muscles in our hands. Block play touches on spatial awareness, fractions, balance, stability, and gravity- to name a few. We continually test out new science experiments, such as mixing baking soda and vinegar, and hone our scientific theories and ability to predict. Many books are read each morning, and children start pre-reading by retelling stories, recognizing characters and understanding basic sequencing. Pre-math is everywhere in our environment, from utilizing dominoes, counting how many friends are in school, to graphing as we take votes on various things throughout the week.
Young children express themselves through play and show us what they know and what they are curious about. Twos teachers are carefully watching, taking notes, and photographing or videoing key moments during each morning to help co-construct the curriculum with the children. Not only do teachers reflect on conversations, ordinary moments of higher level thinking, and project work, but children are always offered back the information to start reflecting themselves.
THREE YEAR OLD PROGRAM
In our three-year-old program, students continue to develop a deep love of learning as a community. Each child has a lot of opportunity for choice throughout the day, exploring and expanding their interests through art, science, mathematics geared manipulatives, and assorted dramatic and musical items.
Teachers observe what children gravitate towards, and they ask more questions to facilitate children's development of their own theories and hypotheses.
Children then test these hypotheses and change their perspectives on the world. Literacy and math are embedded in routines and procedures throughout the day, including Morning Meeting, transitions, and centers.
Students take responsibility for their classroom by having jobs that rotate weekly, including: botanist, fish feeder, and safety patrol. We use the environment and materials to empower children to think deeply, take risks, and work together. Students have a strong sense of ownership in the classroom, which helps build their confidence to tackle challenges that may arise.
PRE- K PROGRAM
Our Pre-Kindergarten program is designed to support the growth of the child as as they begin to develop a heightened sense of the world around them, a desire to be Independent, an ability to think critically, and the need for social interaction.
Four year olds learn to take care of their belongings, themselves, each other and their classroom. We build social and communication skills through active participation, dialogue, and interaction with each other. We guide them to problem solve and learn how to resolve conflict. Children develop critical thinking skills and confidence through purposeful play and collaborative learning experiences. They are encouraged to be thoughtful and reflective about their ideas and work. These essential tools build the foundation for future learning and success.
Through smaller group size and a greater number teachers we are able to prepare children with hands on, developmentally appropriate instruction that is tailored to individual needs. We offer a supportive environment that has a sense of familiarity, safety, and continuity but also challenges their thinking. Our goal is that upon graduation from Buckle My Shoe, our students are prepared socially, emotionally and academically for the new challenges of Kindergarten.
In addition to our highly qualified teachers we have specialists built into our curriculum throughout the week who are experts in their fields. Our specialists this year include: