St Thomas’ Preschool provides a play-based, interest-focused programme where children experience hands-on activities to enhance their physical, social, emotional, spiritual, language, cognitive and creative areas of development.
The programme is adapted each week, for both the two-day and three-day groups, based on staff observations of the children, information gained from parents and the knowledge of our educators as to ‘what comes next’. Not only does the Preschool adapt its programme to reflect the needs of the group, it also takes into account the interests, needs and capabilities of each individual child.
The Preschool has distinctive programmes for summer and winter. During the warmer months, terms one and four, the summer programme applies and the day commences with outdoor activities before the children move indoors as the day heats up. In terms two and three, the winter programme is in operation and the day commences with indoor activities before the children move outside.
A typical day for the summer programme looks like this:
- Outdoor activities
- Bible story & prayer
- Morning tea
- Indoor free play
- Group time
- Rest time / Quiet activities
- Indoor activities
- Outdoor activities
This routine is varied at times, but is generally maintained to ensure children are comfortable and can anticipate what will happen next.
While outdoors, children have great opportunities to develop gross-motor skills through running, jumping or negotiating the obstacle course. The Preschool offers a wide range of sporting and play equipment such as stompers, skis, balancing beams, wobble boards. These ensure that children have a wide variety of activities to enjoy and face fresh challenges each week. Children also enjoy time playing in the sand pit, painting, exploring science and nature, playing group or ball games.
Indoor play allows children to explore their creative side with activities such as art, drawing, puzzles, craft, play dough, dress up, role play and reading. Fine-motor skills are developed through threading, cutting, writing and construction. The children also experience problem solving through board games and team activities.
During group time the children split into 2 smaller groups where they share their news based on a weekly topic, read books, play games, sing and dance. This is a time to develop language and thinking skills as well as exploring concepts in greater detail.
All children are encouraged to have a rest after lunch. Halfway through the year, with Kindergarten approaching, this rest period is replaced with a quiet time to prepare children for the demands of school.