We are a child-centered program and believe that children learn best through play.
The Friends Academy Early Childhood Center is a full-day program, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. (Supervised Play beginning at 7:45 a. m.) The power of play helps to promote social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Teachers act as guides, providing plenty of opportunity for self-discovery, and allow students to explore their environment at their own pace.
Two programs in one
Learning from each other: Both our 3- and 4-year-old students benefit from being so close to one another and allow the two programs to interact fluidly with another. And while the older students are given the responsibility of modeling correct behavior, the younger students are able to expand their circle of friends.
An introduction to literacy
Some of the themes Include All About Me, Dinosaurs, Seasons, and Farm and Garden. We differentiate for instruction within those themes to offer each child a unique and tailored learning experience. Introducing our students to literacy skills is fundamental to our program. We begin with the Book-in-Hand Program, which puts identical books in the hands of the teacher and the students. The students are engaged in the book as an art form while they become familiar with the emerging book discussion, order of text, etc. This is a guided reading program in which each child gets their very own book to follow along with the teacher as she reads aloud. Tracking print and word recognition are just a few of the many skills fostered in this program.
The Alphabet comes to life
Our teachers act as guides, increasing the opportunities for self-discovery, and continuing to promote students’ exploration of their environment at their own pace. We also add phonics using Letter People. “Letter People is a system for teaching children basic literacy: how to read, write and spell using a synthetic phonics approach. It is set in an imaginary land, populated with pictogram-based characters which connect each letter’s shape and sound to a character.”
Science & Math
Cooking: Friday is Cooking Day at our Early Childhood Center. Children learn math through measuring, science from observing a change in ingredients, literacy by reading recipes, as well as cultural and nutrition-related experiences. They work together in teams and build their collaborative skills.
Everyday Math: Math skills are introduced and supported through games, learning centers and more. Our 4-year-old students are introduced to the more formal Everyday Math sequence.
Gardening & Nature: Our Environmental Education unit offers students the opportunity to investigate Mother Nature’s life cycles through worms to butterflies. The students help maintain both a fall and spring garden outside the center.
The Center features two SmartBoards, several iPads and a touch-sensitive HATCH Learning System.
Problem-solving & community building
Meeting for Community: The ability to solve problems within a group setting starts with our youngest students. Children sit in a circle and learn to make good eye contact with each other as well as shake each other’s hands. We ask our children to address the highlights and lowpoints from the week in order to work through a problem. Guided by our Quaker principles, children learn to truly listen to each other.
Gift of Words: A very special part of our FA Lower School program helps make each child feel loved and unique. On each student’s birthday, the children will bestow a gift of kind words. Each birthday girl or boy’s classmates will tell them one thing they really like about them and in this way we help build upon the strengths of the individual.
Director of Early Childhood and Lead Teacher
Kristin Minuto Pre-K Head Teacher
Caitlin Darbee - Pre-K Assistant Teacher
Pam Martocci - Playgroup Head Teacher
Kristy O'Connell - Playgroup Assistant Teacher
Joshua Rothstein - Playgroup Teacher