A creative, experimental and happy preschool
The Preschool project is based on the Culture of Thought and a fully integrated methodology, working on mathematics with EMAT and reading and writing with Ludilletres, two integrated and complementary methods which allow students to learn in an experiential, transversal, playful-creative and very motivating manner. Using the same philosophy, in P4 we work on the chess project, which helps stimulate the mind, logic, to develop thinking, spatial orientation strategies, anticipation, planning and organisation, and to cultivate values such as respect.
During this stage the students begin to learn how to develop projects they learn pending on their own centres of interest, participating in the selection of more spontaneous topics according to their curiosity and concerns (such as the Egyptians, dinosaurs or the animal world in general). The social media or natural projects allow them to develop the area of discovery whether for a topic proposed by the teachers (e.g. the artist Antoni Tàpies) or by the students (e.g., “why do teeth fall out?”).
The fact that we are small and family orientated school generates an environment that is very close and positive in the classroom, where students have the peace and confidence necessary to resolve the day’s different situations.
The preschool area is designed according to the ideas of Waldorf who considers the classroom to be a natural extension of one’s home and promotes a beautiful and serene environment which stimulates the sensoriality of the children. With this in mind the classroom walls are painted in a warm colour which, being neutral and soft, generates a greater sensation of calmness and well-being.
In the same manner, but in this case following the Montessori line of thought, we use materials such as wooden tables and others which are also mobile and folding for a more dynamic learning and multi-use area. This allows them more freedom of movement and the possibility to work on different areas at the same time, and with a more personalised attention by the teacher.
We foster the emotional well-being of the students
In addition to the different areas of Symbolic play, three afternoons a week the students participate in the Areas which are different zones of learning, relationships and communication where, using the different proposals or provocations (in other words, which provoke actions) the children can act, observe, experiment, build, invent, imagine, share, relate with others, become excited and interact with the other children. This planning responds to the needs displayed by the children, to play and relate with others, therefore prioritising their interests, needs and learning speeds.
Groups are formed that combines students from P3, P4 and P5 which generates very enriching dynamics of responsibility, empathy and solidarity thanks to the so called “companionship effect” and also positive and aspirational points of reference for the younger children. The topics range from science to literature in English, as well as nature and experimentation, artistic creativity, Symbolic play and the Mini Worlds. This inter-classroom initiative of the school allows for a greater socialisation of the students from different groups, which has so far positively affected the playground dynamics.
The well-being of the students and their proper emotional management from the beginning is very important and, with the help of the school’ s Psychopedagogical Counselling Department a personalised follow-up is carried out to identify and monitor both their potential and difficulties, wherever they may exist.
In addition to the classes, preschool students also have access to the Atelier located on the upper playground of the school. According to the Reggio Emilia educational model that in particular promotes the expression and experimentation of the children, the Atelier is an open workshop full of possibilities and elements to create, experiment, investigate, construct, handle, etc. This area is equipped with material for carrying out activities with light (white, black and ultraviolet), paint, clay, plasticine and natural elements such as wood, logs, minerals, etc. All of this is in harmony with the Theory of Loose Parts and Mini Worlds that they begin to experience in nursery and is continued in preschool.
As part of their development, preschool students have two weekly sessions of psychomotricity, one in a group where they work on different motor skills to be developed to this stage and the other in a group apart, where they develop body expression. Through play and fun activities they work on psychomotricity, general coordination, body awareness, laterality, exploration and the discovery of their own body and resources.
In addition to a team of five teachers which facilitates the inter-class division and greater personalised learning, they also have “the Teacher”, the preschool English teacher with extensive training and experience in introducing the youngest children to the English language, and accompanied by a conversation assistant in English. In P3 and P4 a total of 45 minutes a day is devoted to this language and in P5 they have a whole hour with “the Teacher”. Furthermore, she speaks to them in English during the time they spend in the areas, playground or whilst monitoring the dinner hall. As there are quite a few international families at the school, the students that have English as their mother tongue have the option to participate in small groups carried out at the school with a private, native teacher with content more suitable to their level.
The school promotes and encourages the relationship with families through a series of traditional festivals on the school calendar (such as the ‘Castanyada’, the Christmas Party, Carnival or the Mona de Pasqua [a traditional chocolate treat given to children on Easter Monday]). We also invite parents to participate in the workshops organised by the children covering topics such as art, health, or managing emotions during the Science Week and Culture Week, when grandparents typically come to tell stories. Families can also follow the daily activities using the Classroom App and other events such as cultural visits and trips on the school’s blog, Facebook and Instagram pages.