LITTLE LAMBS CURRICULUM
The stories told are taken directly from the Bible at a level that is appropriate for young children. Volunteer teachers use a variety of books, flannel graphs, puppets, DVDs, role-playing, and various scenery and backdrops to make the stories more meaningful. The craft and music curriculum areas hinge on the themes from this Bible curriculum.
Each month the children are introduced to a short Bible verse to memorize and recite as a class.
We rotate the curriculum so that a child can attend three years consecutively and many of the Bible stories will be fresh. Some of the stories, however, remain the same from year to year, such as the birth of Jesus, the story of creation, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel presentation.
Creative Learning Curriculum
During Creative Learning the children are taught the alphabet by letter identification and sounds along with the numbers 1 through 25. Older children may be introduced to word families and skip counting, and odd and even numbers. The Creative Learning curriculum units rotate so that a child can attend three years consecutively and many of the topics will be new to them. We do include a unit about Community Helpers every other year so that Elmhurst firefighters, police officers, and nurses may visit Little Lambs to teach the children about their work and role in the community.
Units are taught with a variety of action poems, books, CDs, posters, puppets, games, videos, experiments and demonstrations. When possible, live creatures such as hermit crabs, ants, ladybugs, butterflies, newts, and earthworms are on display. Science topics may include animal habitats, camouflage, wind, space, energy, magnets, five senses, volcanoes, seasons, patterns, vegetable gardens, weather, time. Social studies units may include garbage, construction, manners, transportation, or food processes. Whole language topics may include nursery rhymes, rhyming words, opposites, or classification/sorting.
The songs that the children learn in music teach biblical truths and generally there is one song that accompanies the Bible story taught that week. Songs are often accompanied by motions including sign language.
Throughout the year, the children spend time preparing the songs for their Christmas or Spring musicals. We have a rotation of four themes for Christmas: "The Gospel Bell”, "The Message of the Angels", "King of Kings", or "Follow the Star." The rotating Spring Program themes are: “Moses, Prince of Egypt", "The Floating Zoo", "David and Goliath", or "The Lions Weren't Hungry Last Night."
Free Play Curriculum
In Free Play the children have diverse play opportunities to choose from for gross motor and fine motor skill development.
The free play room includes a train table, a car rug, a kitchen set, two cash registers, a doll twin bunk set, a duplo table, a light table, two doll houses, freshly-made play dough and a reading corner.
In addition to the above activity areas, we have a special activity in Free Play each week. These may include bubble blowing, painting, stamping, stencils tracing, texture crayon rubbings, making puzzles, hammering pegs, using hula hoops, trampoline jumping, potato sack racing, drawing on a white board, playing in sand, water or rice tables or playing relay or board games.
We design the crafts to give the children a tangible object to use as a conversation starter about and reinforcement of the Bible story taught that week. Most of the crafts are assembly driven with the child having choices of colors and placement of materials. Some crafts are intended to be treasured for a very long time and others are more temporary. We use a variety of media, such as crayons, paint, markers, glue, fabric, paper, matboard, buttons, stickers, wood, water, sand, various containers, and even dirt for planting.
Once the children have completed their craft, they are given a coloring activity sheet that corresponds with the Bible story. If time is short, they take this home for their "homework". These papers usually involve looking for hidden objects, matching objects or connecting the dots.
If a child is absent, craft projects and the other take-home materials may be picked up the following week.