Little Hands, Big Minds: Explore The Summit’s Early Learners Program

Mrs. Linda Michaliszyn (left) and Mrs. Melissa Kimmons (right) with the Early Learners class on the first day of school, August 17, 2020.

In Fall 2020, The Summit piloted a new early childhood education program, combining our former Beginners class (ages 3-4) and PreKindergarten class (ages 4-5) into one multi-age Early Learners class. This combined program model, led by experienced childhood educators Mrs. Melissa Kimmons and Mrs. Linda Michaliszyn, focuses on providing a strong, supportive educational and social-emotional foundation for The Summit’s youngest learners. Children at this age thrive on peer social interactions and finding a place in the group. With this in mind, The Summit’s Early Learners program is an environment that nurtures social skills and encourages confidence and positive self-esteem in a multi-age setting. Through active participation, children learn to work in groups and develop a sense of belonging where they share an excitement and love for learning.

When asked about their favorite part of the combined program model, Mrs. Kimmons and Mrs. Michaliszyn said, “As veteran teachers, it is a dream come true to combine our skills and co-teach in the classroom. We are able to engage and explore the wide range of developmental norms that accompany our three, four, and five year old learners. Each day is packed full of exploration, engagement, and most importantly, laughing and loving our friends and our school!”

At The Summit, our Early Learners program actively involves young children in an environment rich in learning opportunities: one that invites a child to observe, be active, make choices, experiment, wonder, create, imagine, and discover. Through an enriching and nurturing environment, each child can develop to his or her fullest potential by understanding and meeting the developmental needs socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively. By exploring themes and asking big questions, important concepts and skills in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies are discovered.

Mrs. Kimmons (front left) and Mrs. Michaliszyn (rear center) getting Early Learners ready for their first morning meeting.

Language Arts

Language development is not only an important aspect of social development; it is the foundation for all learning. Language is at the core of everything we do. The language skills of three, four, and five year olds are expanding rapidly. At this age, children begin to communicate in more complex sentences and are expanding their vocabularies. Following two and three-step directions is a crucial skill learned at this stage, as is understanding explanations for first-hand experiences. They frequently initiate conversations, but still need to practice basic rules of conversation. They are developing abilities to communicate their wants and needs to adults, work successfully with peers in cooperative learning activities, present personal experiences before a group, and ask/answer related questions.
At The Summit, Early Learners are engaged in a language-rich environment that offers pre-reading and pre-writing activities to develop a strong literacy foundation. Through read-alouds, responses to literature, emergent writing, independent time with books, games, and songs, students’ knowledge and use of reading and writing skills grow throughout the year. Importance is placed on phonemic awareness, concepts of print, phonetics, and vocabulary development as well as a life-long appreciation for literature and a love of reading.

Mrs. Michaliszyn shares one of her favorite literary characters: Pete the Cat!

Mathematics

Early Learners are beginning to use reasoning to solve everyday problems and effectively use language to compare and describe objects and shapes. They are beginning to understand what a problem is asking and develop a plan for solving it. Through calendars, graphs, direct instruction, exploration activities, and art projects, students are exploring the world of math around them. In the classroom, students develop numeracy skills, recognize and name two-dimensional shapes, sort and group objects by attributes, recognize and create patterns, use position and location language, explore basic properties of numbers, use 1-1 correspondence, identify numbers 0-20, compare numbers and quantities, sequence time, measure objects with non-standard tools, order objects by measurable attributes, use pictorial graphs to represent information, and develop mathematical vocabulary.

Science

By building on students’ interests and observing the world around us, science topics that allow students to explore the natural world are integrated into the curriculum. Hands-on activities give students opportunities to explore concepts, test ideas, and use a variety of tools to enhance learning. Students investigate weather and seasons, sky and land, the five senses, our bodies, and what is in The Summit’s backyard! Students develop vocabulary, make predictions, observe materials, record data, and share information about what they learn.

Early Learners explore The Summit’s Big Backyard.

Social Studies

A large focus during the Early Learners’ day is devoted to building relationship skills, communicating effectively, problem solving, developing responsibility for one’s self, and cooperating with others. Throughout the year, students explore the importance of their roles and responsibilities in the school and their family, know the similarities and differences between people, recognize and name feelings and emotions, explore family life and traditions, and learn personal hygiene skills, injury prevention and safety, and fundamental concepts of growth and development.

At The Summit, we strive to foster the joy of learning in all of our students, from age 3 through high school. Our mission as a school is to prepare learners for success by providing a progressive education with a challenging curriculum in a supportive environment. Through our Early Learners program, we are able to meet the unique needs of our youngest learners in a multi-age setting that encourages collaboration, growth, and discovery. Mrs. Kimmons and Mrs. Michaliszyn are devoted to sharing their passion for life-long learning with their students. They say, “We love introducing our youngest Ravens and their families to The Summit! For many students, Early Learners is their first experience with school, and it is our goal to help them love the school environment and be excited to come back each and every day.”

To learn more about The Summit’s Early Learners program, check out the Early Learners Class Blog and follow along with their learning adventures! The Summit is still accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year, offering seated instruction five days per week, with hybrid options for interested families. To learn more, please contact our Admissions Team at admissions@thesummitprep.org or by calling 417-869-8077.

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