Using a state approved, inspired by Waldorf, infused with nature curriculum, written by our faculty, this program is designed for our 4 and 5 year old students who are eligible for a VPK voucher through the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County. Four-year-old children with birthdays from Feb. 2 through Sept. 1 are eligible for the VPK voucher through the Early Learning Coalition that year or postpone it to the next. Four-year-olds with birthdays from Sept. 2 through Feb. 1 are eligible to enroll in VPK the following program year. At our school students must be 4 by May 1st of the school year they wish to attend.
At this age, the child is acting out of imitation, thus they experience a wide range of activities, including handwork, beeswax modeling, coloring, domestic work, watercolor painting, storytelling, puppetry, plant dyeing, wood working, gardening, singing & creative movement, nature observation, and more, naturally, as they see their teachers engaging in various meaningful activities.
To enhance listening skills, simple songs and games are shared in English as well as foreign languages. Stories shared help the children to develop the ability to create mental images based on what they are hearing, which lays the groundwork for reading comprehension later on. All activities are designed to meet the learning domains prescribed by the Early learning coalition. Most importantly, they are learning how to be within a group – this includes compromise, conflict resolution, negotiation – the skills they will need throughout their lifetime.
From October through April the children are outside longer, enjoying the benefits of mild Florida winters.
The class adopts a daily, weekly and yearly rhythm, which brings the children great comfort – knowing what to expect and anticipate, so each day becomes known by the activity they do and/or the lunch they eat.
Tuesday is” Salad Day”, as the activity that do that morning is cutting up vegetables to help make the meal, then they eat it later on at snack time. Similarly, Wednesday is “Bread day” as they prepare gluten-free bread in the morning and then enjoy the warm soft bread later on after their outdoor play. Thursday is “Stone Soup Day” as they chop, cook and eat the savory vegetable soup together.
All snacks are organic; water and herbal teas are offered to drink.
The children take seasonal field trips, such as Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Fruitville Grove Farm, and Crowley Nature Center.
A typical day in the Sandpiper VPK class goes as follows:
8:15-8:30 Children arrive in the classroom
8:30-9:00 Circle Time
9:00-10:00 Activity/focused time of the day/ Project- time
10:00–10:20 food preparation at tables (cutting fruit and vegetables; making bread )
10:20-10:30 Clean up time
10:30-10:45 Bathroom turn/wash hands
10:45 -11:15: Shared meal together
11:15 -12:15 Outdoor free play/projects
12:30-12:45 Storytime/puppet play
1:00-1:15 Rest Time