Benefits of Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is more than just preparation for lower school. It aims at the holistic development of a child's communication, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and well-being. Today, there is significant evidence that children who have access to a high-quality Kindergarten education reap the benefits of superior language, intellectual, and physical development as well as more advanced social skills.
At ISM, Preschool Students Benefit From:
Interacting with Other Children and Adults
Growing their Emotional Resilience
Exploring Sounds and Numbers
Developing a Lifelong Love of Learning
Establishing Fine Motor Skills
About Our Preschool
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten education is critical to a child’s formative years and fosters an enthusiasm and confidence that will remain with them throughout their educational journey. Our program has balanced structured lesson times and free-choice play to create an environment where children remain engaged and curious in their studies. We actively offer opportunities for every child to succeed and celebrate and share joy when they do; this gives children a wonderful sense of assurance and the ability to care for themselves and others.
The International School of Minnesota uses a thematic curriculum in the preschool, which is designed to enable students to achieve more and maximize their efforts. This curriculum includes concepts such as literacy and numeracy, science, communication, World Language, arts, physical development, and of course kindness. Our goal is to provide a safe and caring learning environment to all children to instill a positive approach to learning.
Preschool Curriculum Highlights
Language and Literacy
Our Preschool program is proud to teach an award-winning phonics program called Letterland©. The Letterland©’s systematic instruction gets students reading faster by increasing their accuracy in decoding and word recognition skills. In this imaginary place called Letterland©, characters transform plain black letter shapes into child friendly pictograms to aid in the learning of reading, writing, and spelling.
Learning a language at a young age has many benefits for children. Research shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, in addition to improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. Our preschoolers naturally navigate multilingual environments. Acquiring a second language early in life trains the brain to learn multiple other languages, opening a world of opportunities for lifelong learning. The Preschool program features classes in French or Spanish taught by trained teachers who are native speakers of the language.
Parents and teachers agree that math is one of the most important subjects for preparing young learners for later academic success and future careers. Our math curriculum comes to life in the math learning center with hands-on learning and fun across a number of themes. Preschool math programs play a crucial role in developing a strong foundation for early math knowledge. Our Preschool students participate in carefully selected, real-life experiences using concrete materials during structured lessons that build upon this math knowledge.
Young learners want and need time to explore, create and innovate! The preschool age is a perfect age in which to introduce science literacy as well. Our exceptional preschool science program allows children to explore, observe and make predictions through activities and experiments that feature the topics of earth, life, and physical science.
Preschool students will also benefit from our modern and innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) room, which provides them with meaningful, hands on learning. Integrated learning experiences improve students interests and learning in STEAM and help to prepare them for the 21st century. Here at ISM, we believe that STEAM is important because it helps teachers incorporate multiple disciplines at the same time while promoting valuable learning experiences that allow children to explore, question, research, discover, and exercise innovative building skills.
Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness and helps the body and mind work together. Our preschoolers explore music through play, they make discoveries about themselves and the world around them, and they develop a larger vocabulary and important pre-reading and math skills. ISM’s preschool program provides weekly music lessons that are planned and taught by a music teacher for the children to learn the fundamental elements of music through singing, playing instruments, games, dramatization, children’s literature and movement.
Our preschool program understands the value and need of art experiences in early childhood education. Artistic activities foster intellectual development and deepen the understanding and appreciation for the arts. In addition to the art activities integrated in multiple curricular areas, children attend a weekly class designed by an art specialist. Preschool art lessons focus on multi-sensory experiences so children can develop associations between what they see and touch by stimulating both sides of the brain.
Our students attend on-site swimming lessons weekly in our indoor heated pool to instill a lifelong habit of physical fitness and water safety while, of course, having fun. Our swimming instructors use kinesthetic feedback with visual methods to demonstrate skills to young swimmers. Instructors use engaging and mindful activities that teach skills as opposed to drills—imagination, play, and fun songs are used to promote fun learning in the pool
About Our Kindergarten
Students build on the strong preschool and pre-kindergarten foundation while they prepare to make the transition to Lower School. Our curriculum focuses on providing a solid academic foundation while also supporting a child’s social and emotional development. The Kindergarten Program provides a variety of meaningful learning experiences that will enable each student to develop socially and academically for a lifetime of continuous and joyful learning.
Kindergarten Curriculum Highlights
We believe that as emergent readers and writers, Kindergarten students must have a balance between the direct instruction of phonics skills and sight words, as well as literature, providing the building blocks to help our students develop into lifelong readers, writers, and learners.
The SABIS® system employs both a phonetic and sight word approach to reading. At the Kindergarten level, we teach phonics through a program called Letterland©, which is an imaginary place where all of the letters become a unique character. Through these stories the students quickly discover that letters have more than one sound and that some letters make a whole new sound when they are next to other letters in a word.
Following literary themes, teachers share a variety of books, poetry, reading, songs and crafts to help guild learning. Students also start to learn basic writing skills including capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and the elements of a story. Our GINN Reading program includes an individualized approach to reading where your child can move at his/her/their own pace.
Math is part of a student’s daily routine in our kindergarten classrooms! Students investigate and discover of math concepts including: numeration, geometry and spatial sense, operations, counting, measurement, data collection, graphing, and an introduction to money and telling time.
The World Language program is one of the unique features of Early Childhood Education at The International School of Minnesota. All children have daily World Language classes in either Spanish or French, taught by teachers who have native fluency. Through conversation, music, stories, rhymes, audio-visual materials, art, and games, children quickly become comfortable with a second language.
Students explore the world they live in and develop effective techniques for observing and testing nature. Following the International, National, and State Education standards, ISM uses the SABIS® Exploring the World of Science program. Instruction is divided into three strands: Earth and Space, Life Science, and Physical Science. Through numerous interactive activities, students are encouraged to use scientific process skills, allowing the world of science to become both accessible and tangible for students!
Students focus on broadening their sense of place gaining insight into their own communities while making connections to the larger world. Students learn history, geography, citizenship and economics through a variety of techniques including: reading children's literature, examining authentic artifacts, integrating music and the arts, having class discussions, creating simulations, inviting community members to visit the classroom, and going on field trips.
The Kindergarten program is enriched by a variety of regularly scheduled classes taught by specialists who share their knowledge and talents in the areas of:
- Art: With a strong multicultural emphasis, students are learning artistic skills through multi-sensory art experiences. This begins with an introduction to the elements of art, principles of design, creative process, and even art history and criticism.
- Music: Kindergarten students discover the elements of music by singing, playing instruments, and listening to a variety of music. They engage in games, dramatization, literature, and movement while beginning to learn and use musical terms.
- Library: Students love visiting our expansive library and have the opportunity to check out books on a weekly basis.
- Computers: Students visit the computer lab each week to learn the basic skills needed for working on a desktop computer.
- PE: Our physical education program helps students improve gross motor skills and physical fitness while also emphasizing sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership, and self-esteem. Students engage in a variety of activities including cooperative play, and individual and team sports.
- Swimming: Kindergarten students attend swimming class once a week throughout the school year. The goals of the program include water safety knowledge and practices, aquatic adjustment and swimming readiness skills and of course, fun and enjoyment in and around the water
Imagine living in a world that valued kindness enough to teach it along with academics. Sounds pretty amazing, right? In fact, research shows that students who participate in a mindfulness curriculum improve sharing, attention, and empathy, also seeing improvement in grades! At ISM we believe we can all do our part to make the world a more compassionate place. The Kindness© curriculum provides learning activities that align with monthly themes including feelings, empathy, gentleness, self-control, respect, friendship and conflict resolution. It is a mindfulness-based curriculum for preschoolers that brings kindness in the classroom. Our preschoolers gain the valuable tools to become peacemakers by using positive conflict resolution, acts of kindness, and learning to pay attention and manage their emotions in healthy ways.
Active play is critical for kids’ physical growth and development. It helps children hone their coordination, balance, gross-motor, and fine-motor skills and improves concentration and thinking skills. Research has shown that an increase in physical activity has a positive effect on cognition, especially starting at a young age. Movement is integrated into the curriculum at ISM throughout the day as well as formally in physical education classes.
Children require practice and instruction for skipping, hopping, galloping, sliding, catching, jumping, throwing, kicking, bouncing, and striking skills. Children incorporate these skills into sports, games, and dance. Our schools’ many physical environments provide the perfect place for a child to develop mental connections, socialize and develop fine and large motor skills. A trained Phys Ed teacher who focuses on gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, physical fitness, body awareness, and spatial awareness teaches the P.E. program. These experiences include nature walks through our beautiful 55-acre campus, our state-of-the-art Large Motor Room, and Gymnasium.
Extended Day Child Care
Our Discovery Kids program is all about bringing out the best in your child. Whether he or she chooses to discover their inner scientist, artist, or teacher, or experience it all, we give them the tools and the freedom to follow their passion and curiosity! Before and after school care is available, free of charge beginning at 7:00 a.m. until classes begin and until 6:00 p.m.
Our Discovery Kids program is run by teachers and teacher assistants and includes engaging and fun enrichment activities. Discovery Kids also offers some fee-based classes taught by outside agencies. Since there is no sign-up required, parents are provided flexibility in their busy schedules. Come and discover with us!
Meet Our Teachers
Our qualified, caring teaching staff is made up of experienced educators who provide developmentally appropriate guidance to young learners within a stimulating and nurturing environment. The team has an average of 15 years of experience in early childhood education and continues to participate in ongoing professional development opportunities. They are invested in the progress of each individual child.
Our Early Childhood Education Facilities
The newly renovated Louisa Procter Early Childhood Education Center allows for an educational experience unlike any other. Classrooms are perfectly tailored to meet the needs of our youngest learners – including an indoor swimming pool (used through Grade 2), S.T.E.A.M. room, Arts room, IT lab, and exclusive dining area.
Take a virtual tour:
To see more of our recently renovated facilities, click here.