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The Graduate

Class: Ages Children 4 by September 1st
VPK Guidelines
Class / Time The Graduate VPK age 4 by September 1st
07:30 am - 08:30 am
Arrival
Handwashing
Diapers
Potty-Time
Breakfast
08:30 am - 09:30 am
Sensory/ Discovery
Story/Circle Time Fine Motor
Music/ Movement
09:30 am - 10:30 am
Physical Outdoor Play
10:30 am - 11:30 am
Mathematics
Logical Games
11:30 am -12:30 pm
Centers:
Art
Science
Reading
Blocks
Fine Motor
12:30 pm - 01:30 pm
Handwashing
Diapers
Potty-Time
Lunch
Get-Ready for Nap
01:30 pm - 03:30 pm
Nap Time
Quiet Time
03:30 pm - 04:00 pm
Gross Motor Play
Outdoor Time
04:00 pm - 04:30 pm
Handwashing
Diapers
Potty-Time
Snack
04:30 pm - 05:00 pm
Reading
Sensory Activities
05:00 pm - 05:30 pm
Centers:
Art
Science
Reading
Blocks
Fine Motor
05:30 pm - 06:00 pm
Handwashing
Diapers
Potty-Time
Departure
* Schedules are Subject to Change

What is VPK?

  • VPK or Voluntary Prekindergarten is a class for children ages 4 by September 1st of the school year.
  • This is the age know in Florida as the VPK age and/or the age where children may attend the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program that allocates funding for children to ago to preschool for three hours either in the morning or in the afternoon.
  • “The Department of Education/Office of Early Learning (DOE/OEL) works in collaboration with Florida’s Office of Early Learning (formerly the Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI)) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to implement the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education program” (Florida Department of Education, 2012).

The VPK Room

  • “Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school” (Early Learning Coalition, 2012).
  • “Environments for children need to be designed with careful consideration of four basic environmental needs children have: movement, comfort, competence and control” (White, 2004).
  • In order to ensure the appropriate moving space of the room, the square footage of the room must be reviewed. For example, by Department of Children and Families code, each child must receive 35 square feet of movable space in order to appropriate function and develop.
  • In the case of the preschool class, the square footage of the room will be calculated at 700 square feet, which in turn will be divided by 35 square feet to equal 20 students.

The Centers

  • The classroom for children ages 4 to 5 years will be broken into age-appropriate centers: language development and reading corner library, mathematics and manipulative center, science lab, dramatic play area and house-keeping section, block center and finally the art and music corner.
  • Each one of the centers is crucial for further development in the preschool environment and will be in detailed, along with the strategies that can be used to further the pursue cognitive abilities within each individual child

Outside Play

  • The outside area and or the playground must be adjacent to the preschool 4- to 5-year-old classroom.
  • The playground entails aspects that promote socialization and gross motor development.
  • The playground is calculated at 45 square feet per child and must have a shade structure to protect children from the ultra-violet radiation of the Florida sun.

Room Arrangements

  • In the article, Room Arrangements by Beth Conant several important factors are introduced to help assign the preschool 4-to-5-year classroom.
  • For example, separating learning spaces with furniture, labeling all shelving and items as well as breaking up large amounts of space and separating quite areas from areas which may produce more noise are important factors in developing a well-organized classroom.

Reading Area

  • The first section of the room has a large rug which allows children to participate in learning activities such as learning time, which will promote pre-reading skills.
  • The reading area should have different kinds of reading materials, which will promote not only literacy but explore cultural diversity, writing and phonics through visualizations of letters that can be posted throughout the reading zone.
  • Creating an area where children can quietly read as well as writing practice their pre-writing abilities will capitalize on the importance of reading to children ages 4 to 5 years.
  • A study done by Littlejohn T.D and Goetz E.M called Beginnings of reading: the effects of a preschool reading center, showed a progression of children in a preschool environment who had a reading center in the class and a class which had no reading center in the class and the effects as they matched with reading abilities of the students. “The experimental children showed marked gains in their acquisition of the 20 beginning reading skills while their matched controls, in other classrooms, who did not have the Reading Center experience, showed a slight increase” Littlejohn & Goetz, 1989).

Mathematics and Manipulative Area

  • The math and manipulative area of the room is placed in the side area of the room to have children ages 4 to 5 years participate in such activities as building puzzles, building constructive figures and putting together rods, sticks and cones to allow mathematical awareness.
  • Some of the focus in the mathematics area for children ages 4 to 5 is to allow children to focus on counting, seriation, number sense activities and ordering of items.
  • “The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) affirm that high-quality, challenging, and accessible mathematics education for 3- to 6-year-old children is a vital foundation for future mathematics learning” (National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 2010.

Science Center

  • The science center allows for children to explore the world around them and gain such knowledge as color patterns, plants, bugs, magnets, the solar system, butterflies and all the things that seems wondrous to the developing child.
  • The science center must have tools that are kid-friendly, age-appropriate and safe.
  • For example, the science center has different color large balls with a large magnet to explore how items attract and repel.
  • Science allows children to explore and imagine. “Real science begins with childhood curiosity, which leads to discovery and exploration with teachers’ help and encouragement” (Conezio & French, 2002, p.2).

Dramatic Play

  • Role playing, cooking and playing with real-life objects will take place in the dramatic play area.
  • This area in the room encourages language development and communication skills for children ages 4 to 5 years.
  • The dramatic play will create noise and is highly important for children ages 4 to 5 years, therefore it should be placed on the corner of the preschool class and this area will be in-large taking over the entire corner of the room so that 5 to 8 students can enjoy playing in the dramatic play area.
  • “As most early childhood teachers know, dramatic play is an extremely valuable part of the daily curriculum. Here are just some of the benefits of dramatic play: relief from emotional tension, children feel powerful, use of social interaction skills, language development, use of symbols, sort out fantasy and reality” (Yalow, 2012).

Block Area

  • The block area houses different types, shapes and sizes of blocks as well as vehicles and other modes of transportation.
  • The block area allows for children to build bridges, tunnels, houses and cognitively connect the idea of constructing images that they see throughout their daily life.
  • Children “can develop physical hand strength in hands while building, children use their language skills when they are asked questions about their constructions; math can also be taught in the block area” (Schiling, 2009).

Art Area

  • Art in the preschool setting is an inevitable portion of the program because it is through different mediums of art that preschool children ages 4 to 5 years can express what and how they are feeling.
  • The art center includes an area full of shelves for materials, a plastic cover rug for the floor and a sink as well as a multitude of supplies for creation.
  • “Art in early childhood education programs is an essential building block of development and bridging learning with other subject areas” (Lipoff, 2012).

Music Area

  • The final area of the room is the music center.
  • Many routines will be started with the music center, such as circle time because welcoming activities with music allows for children to receive information in a rhythmic and high-energy way.
  • The music area should have various CDs, a karaoke machine and different musical instruments such as drums, maracas, bells, xylophones, etc.
  • “Music and movement activities can benefit a child in numerous ways as she is prepared for elementary school” (Trevino, 2012).
References and Websites from which Research was Done