The Tigger's class
Ages 18 months- 3 years
The “Baby Tigger's” section caters for children from 18 months to about 2 and a half years old (give or take a few months depending on each individual’s progress). We concentrate mainly on social skills/interaction and speech & language development. Besides doing a lot of playing outdoors with each other or on their own, they learn basic fine motor & cognitive skills through incidental play and also watching the older children with their busy work times.
The “Big Tigger's” section (from about 2 and a half years to 3 and a half years) involves a slightly more formal work programme although it is also presented in a fun, incidental manner. More fine motor skills start to be honed as well as a variety of cognitive skills- especially listening skills.
Tigger's class at Hilltops Preschool in Hilton.
Toilet training happens in this Tigger's age group. We feel it should be a very non-pressured development. We notice (as will parents) when a child starts showing signs of wanting to take their nappy off. We will gently encourage them and assist them in going to the toilet. It is very much a patience game and some children will get it faster than others, but in the end all of them do! Independence to ‘go’ when necessary (some need reminding a bit more often than others here) is encouraged, with help always close by.
Outdoor play and gross motor development is extremely important in the Tigger’s daily programme. In fact, you will usually find us outdoors most of the day, weather permitting.
We jump on the trampoline (often to a familiar tune/beat), climb all jungle gyms, equipment, trees & anything else “climbable” (or not!). Mud cakes are a speciality at Hilltops and our imaginary role- play games take us on many extreme adventures far and wide! Always be aware when crossing our race track which is often abuzz with very busy little legs zooting around on all sizes of bikes.
The “developmental leaps” at this age (as with all ages in the preschool years) are quite unbelievable! A child’s progress from starting with us at 18 months to even just six months down the line is an incredible sight! Moms and dads always comment on the many positive changes in their children over this period of stimulation in their little lives.
The Tigger children learn basic social conformities such as waiting your turn to wash hands, waiting your turn for a bike, not snatching toys away from others, not being allowed to hurt anyone or yourself, to then also being allowed as much freedom of movement and independence as possible.
A child's self- confidence and security grows when they know they have the freedom to explore their own environment safely, knowing that supervision, help and love is always close by if needed.
The Jungle Room
Ages 3 years- 4 years
The Jungle Room is a wonderful group of children aged between 3 and 5 years old. We believe that our children can be creative and imaginative in everything they do. When we count we count anything from toy snakes to buttons on a jacket- the children can always find something they would love to count!
Letters are taught by sound and then sight- the children love matching their name to its letter or finding everyone else’s letter from the alphabet!
We use many different and diverse themes to teach children about the world in which they live, the people they are and the abilities they have to do anything! They are not allowed to say they cannot do something; they first have to show me that they have tried and have not managed before they can stop. We almost always see that they are not put off by mistakes, but often look at trying something new to get it right. Children can be so creative at turning mistakes into opportunities!
Jungle Room class at Hilltops Preschool in Hilton
We love these formative years and it is amazing how a child responds to positive re-enforcement and learns to trust his own choices and abilities. No two children are the same- just like adults there are those with strengths and those with weaknesses, but everyone needs to learn that they are unique and able and that is what our main focus is.
Ages 4 years- 5 years - Grade RR
Grade RR is the year where your little ones start to feel that they are now part of the “big kids” in the school. They are so eager to show their ability and start doing more “work” independently, knowing that I am not far to help and guide them when they feel they need it. In grade RR children are encouraged to do things themselves and also to think for themselves. Children are given problems to solve rather than just answers to remember. Children just love feeling proud and seeing what they are capable of doing. Children also learn to take responsibility for their own belongings and actions. Children are taught to be considerate towards others and to take each other’s feelings into consideration.
Our mornings start with a greeting ring where we sing songs, discuss the weather and weeks theme, share news, do show and tell, and whatever else might be of interest for the day. We do verbal number work and number recognition and play lots of number games. We use the “Letterland” programme and children are systematically introduced to sounds and letters. A new sound is taught each week and children learn to recognize and say the different letters of the alphabet. It is so rewarding to see how excited the children get when they can identify letters of the alphabet, sound them and even start to write the letters all by themselves.
Jungle Room class at Hilltops Preschool in Hilton
We cover a wide variety of themes throughout the year and children learn about the world we live in. Active learning is encouraged and children are free to explore and learn in a variety of ways using their five senses, working with real objects, playing educational games and expressing learned concepts through artwork.
During the week the grade RR’s cover all the learning areas. They also do music, pottery, Playball, specific sensory activities, baking, library and often an experiment on Fridays. Children are also exposed to block building, puzzles, thinking games, fantasy play, arts and crafts, fine motor activities and very basic Afrikaans and Zulu. Outside play is very important and children are encouraged to run and play as much as possible. Play is a very important part of our day and children use this time to make new friends, develop their social skills and use their imaginations. Children develop their fine and gross motor skills through different types of play.
In grade RR we make happy memories and have fun while learning. I believe each child is very special and each child has different abilities that can be developed to help them reach their full potential.
Grade R is a very exciting year for our little learners. It is their last year of preschool and one where they grow greatly in all areas of their development. Play remains an essential part of their school day as it is a time where they learn more about themselves and their peers than in a formal classroom environment. During ‘free play’ they have the opportunity to dress up in the fantasy area, do a free painting or drawing, build with blocks, have some fun with woodwork, ride bikes, climb on the jungle gym, play in the sand pit, jump on the trampoline or just to run around and make up games with their friends. There are also sensory trays and water play troughs available for the children to have fun with. Play is such an important time for children to develop their social and interpersonal skills and to learn through problem solving and improvising.
As Grade R is the year before Grade 1, the children are expected to partake in more formal classroom work than they did in Grade RR and earlier. This is all in preparation for ‘big school’ and includes helping them to become more independent and responsible. They are expected to carry and unpack their own bags, look after their belongings and tidy up after themselves. They also get used to sitting at a table, working in books, perfecting their pencil grips and working in small groups. Although the learning is more formal, it remains hands on and interactive and any ‘bookwork’ the children complete is a reinforcement of small group work done on the carpet with concrete objects and fun learning games.
Grade R at Hilltops Preschool in Hilton
Our mornings always start with a greeting ring, songs, counting and discussion. We talk about the month, day, weather, birthdays and special events. It is also time to discuss our weekly theme and for ‘show-and-tell’. Fun, incidental, verbal number work and playing with words and sounds also happens here.
During the week, the Grade R’s cover all the learning areas including numeracy, literacy, creative art, music, drama, movement, dance, technology, natural science, social sciences, physical development and life skills. They are also exposed to baking, block building, tracing, puzzles, ‘thinking games’ and to very basic Afrikaans and Zulu.
Creative art is an important part of our day and the learners are encouraged to do all of the art themselves, as I try to avoid photocopies or templates. I love seeing how the children can produce unique, beautiful pieces when they are given freedom within reasonable boundaries. They work with various media, including paint, nursery dye, chalk, crayons, pastels, sponges, glue and collage materials. We also use ‘anti-waste’ to create 3D artworks.
The little ones love the exciting journey of starting to learn to read! We use the ‘Letterland’ program and the children are systematically introduced to sounds and letters. It is so encouraging to see how excited the learners get when they start reading 3 letter words! Literacy forms part of our day, every day and the Grade R’s are well on their way to reading by the time they ‘graduate’ from preschool.
Learners grow in leaps and bounds when it comes to numeracy and it is a time when their little minds are so keen to learn and discover more! They are exposed to numbers, operations, concepts and foundation skills in a fun, hands on way. Their abilities are strengthened and recapped with written table work. They are often surprised and excited when they discover what they can do!
I very much enjoy leading your keen little learners on this exciting journey that is Grade R. It is a year where they develop in so many ways, while they still have fun and remain the little children that they are. They grow up before your eyes and before you know it they will be ready for their first day of Grade 1, complete with shiny new shoes and a toothless grin, with a firm foundation ready to begin their ‘big school’ journey.
What to bring to school
- A CHANGE OF CLOTHING (OR A FEW) TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY – It is advisable to leave a spare set of old clothes in a plastic bag in your child’s school bag permanently, to make sure it is not forgotten. These clothes will only be used in the event of an “accident” and please remember that “accidents” can happen across the age spectrum.
- A LUNCH BOX WITH A SANDWICH, PIECE OF FRUIT AND FRESH FRUIT JUICE OR WATER - Please label your child’s lunch box & bottle/s clearly and do not send any sweets, crisps, or junk food to school.
- A HAT FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES – Please ensure your child brings a hat to school, clearly labelled and to be left at school. This rule is strictly enforced no hat=no outside activities!
- PLEASE GIVE ALL MEDICATION DIRECTLY TO THE TEACHER CONCERNED, CLEARLY LABELLED.
- PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MARK ALL YOUR CHILD’S BELONGINGS- we are not responsible for your child's clothing or belongings.
- NO TOYS are to be brought to school.
- We believe that children need to be outside and get as much fresh air as possible. In the event of rain, children will still get to play outside provided they have RAINCOATS AND GUMBOOTS.
- If children are staying for aftercare please provide a separate lunchbox, clearly labelled.
- NB TODDLER GROUP (if a child is not potty trained) please pack at least 5 nappies, a change of clothes, wet wipes and bum barrier cream in a separate bag to be stored in the changeroom.
- PLEASE NOTE: NO CHILD WILL BE ALLOWED TO GO HOME WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN THEIR PARENTS, WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THEIR PARENTS.