At LJA, learners are nurtured through a range of developmentally appropriate experiences that support the cognitive, personal, social, and physical wellbeing of our early learners in pre-Kindergarten (PK) and junior kindergarten (JK).
In the Primary Years Programme (PYP) early years, play is at the heart of the learner's journey. Through purposeful and engaging play experiences, the young learner develops important skills and concepts that form the foundation for their future academic success. Play in the PYP early years is not just about fun; it's a powerful tool for exploration, problem-solving, and creativity. Whether it's building with blocks, creating imaginative stories, or investigating the natural world, play allows children to discover, question, and make connections in a joyful and meaningful way. The PYP recognizes that play is a crucial part of the learner's social, emotional, and cognitive development, and it's through play that they begin to develop a love for learning that will stay with them throughout their educational journey. When a young learner is engaged in play at school, they are not only having an engaging time but also laying the groundwork for foundational skills that set them up for success.
UNITS OF INQUIRY
The PYP's approach to early years inquiry fosters the development of critical thinking skills, encourages students to become effective communicators, and cultivates the ability to work collaboratively with others. It empowers young learners to be inquisitive, adaptable, and resourceful, while also nurturing their sense of agency and independence. In this dynamic learning environment, students are not passive recipients of information but active participants in their own education. The PYP's Units of Inquiry guide them on a journey of discovery, where they can explore, reflect, and ultimately take meaningful action that contributes to their personal growth and the betterment of their communities.
LEARNING IN ACTION
Circle allows for a variety of activities from counting the days on the calendar, singing, finger plays, listening to a story, doing a science experiment, and brainstorming or discussing a topic by answering and asking questions. Oftentimes, circle is followed by teacher-directed question activities that capture curiosity and wonder for the Unit of Inquiry.
Share is a time when a child presents a particular object or event to a familiar audience, often following criteria set by the teachers. Examples could be sharing something that fits in a pocket, an item that the child can read independently, something from another country, etc. This activity helps increase their self-esteem by strengthening their ability to speak in public with ease. It also provides classmates the opportunity to practice being a respectful and attentive audience and asking relevant questions about the topic at hand.
Running, swinging, climbing, hopping, sliding, digging in the sand, dribbling and shooting balls, and searching for bugs are favorite parts of the child’s day. This time outside refines the child’s gross-motor skills and allows for free exploration. The young learners also continue building important social skills and positive friendships.
In this very popular center, children learn scientific and math skills when they experiment with depth, width, height, length, gravity, measurement, volume, area, classification, shape, symmetry, and mapping. Children also learn about spatial relations, stability, and balance and extend their language development. The teachers encourage students to think like engineers and designers in which they tinker and experiment by placing different materials together.
Our tables encourage children to have tactile experiences with the media provided such as sand, rice, corn, or water, and to explore and learn about cause and effect. Children enjoy measuring, sifting, “fishing”, and pouring from one container to another or washing items such as dolls or plastic china. Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination are being challenged when playing on dry or wet tables while socializing with classmates.
This center is among the most popular centers in the classroom and is stocked with play items, outfits, and props that encourage make-believe and allows for creative play. Through imaginative play, children learn to be flexible by substituting objects for those they do not have, learn empathy for others, and think abstractly. They practice social skills, learn to take turns, reimagine and synthesize observations they have learned from the world around them, and share objects. At times the drama center reflects the current unit of Inquiry.
1004 Kailua Road
Kailua, HI 96734
917 Kalaniana‘ole Highway
Kailua, HI 96734
Snack and Lunch
Snack and lunch are social times when a child can converse politely with his friends while enjoying a nutritious meal together. Whether the food is provided by the school, brought from home, or cooked by the students, snack and lunch times give an opportunity to teach counting skills when students pass out the snack and distribute a napkin or a cup to each child. Cleaning up after snack is another educational opportunity where a child’s sense of competence and independence are fostered.
We emphasize the child's acquisition of language for the purposes of communicating with others and being able to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings. This includes listening and speaking as well as emerging reading and writing concepts. We use a wide variety of strategies to prepare students for the world of reading and writing and expand their spoken words. This is accomplished gradually through activities such as nursery rhymes, rhyming games, finger plays, stories as well as puppetry and drama. Students are also exposed to rich vocabulary, phonological awareness activities, story sequencing, and posted words in the classroom. In JK, students begin the Read Write Inc program which introduces them to letter sounds and the letter paths. This program continues throughout the PYP early years. We also concentrate on name recognition and developing pre-writing skills. Writing skills are also reinforced in the writing center where the students experiment with different writing tools and materials, and in personal journal writing for our JK students.
In our Preschool program, we introduce children to the world of mathematics in a fun and interactive way. They get to explore numbers, basic mathematical operations, patterns, sorting, and classification. They also start grasping the concepts of shapes, space, and data representation. All of this learning happens through playful activities, hands-on experiences, teacher-guided sessions, and interactive centers. Students will start using math vocabularies such as more, less, longer, shorter, heavier, empty, full, next to, above, below, behind, up, and down when describing their environmental boundaries and the position of objects.
Manipulatives and Puzzles
While playing with small manipulatives and puzzles, students strengthen their fine motor skills which are a precursor to their ability to write. Playing with puzzles also develops abstract thinking, as it requires the ability to see a space and envision what belongs there.
Weekly Single Subject
Physical Education: PE at the Preschool begins the journey of guiding children toward a lifetime of being physically active. We offer the children time to play alone or with a classmate, teacher, or aide while exploring movement with balls, hoops, balance boards, bean bags, and catching/striking implements. Movement challenges, skills, games, and time to play and explore help our students gain confidence and competence in learning physical skills.
In art at the Preschool, the goal is to become familiar with the basic elements of art (color, line, shape, texture), to experiment with various art-making materials (e.g. crayons, markers, paint, clay), and to strengthen their visual and tactile awareness as well as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Various art processes and techniques such as drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, collage, and fabric arts will help to develop the necessary skills for grade-level completion. We strive to cultivate creativity while learning that the process is more important than the product thereby heightening the student's personal expression and self-esteem.
Students are exposed to the French language and culture through authentic activities such as singing and reciting poems, dancing, and miming in action as in Total Physical Response-TPR, reading books and stories, and playing indoor and outdoor games. All activities are conducted in the target language. At this young age, the emphasis is placed more on comprehension than on oral expression. To make learning meaningful for students, the language curriculum is often integrated with the homeroom core curriculum.
At the Preschool we love to sing and dance. In our action-packed music classroom, students focus on individual skills like singing in various tonalities, improvising, listening, using language in musical ways, dancing, and learning to play different instruments. Through singing, dancing, and playing, the students are introduced to nine key concepts: Voice, Dynamics, Pitch, Dance, Instrumental, Rhythm, Ensemble, Tempo, and Notation. Our classroom time lends itself to helping each child feel comfortable using music as a medium of self-expression, best displayed through creative moments and lyrical interpretation. In addition to these goals, we also focus on performing skills such as learning to sing and dance as an ensemble while following specific directions. A few performances for the families showcase their skills and the joy of singing and dancing.