In addition to following the HighScope approach to teaching young children, which is centered on consistent routine and purposeful play, Pre-K 4 SA aims to develop lifelong skills by offering various engaging programs for all their children. While the children think they are just playing, they are actually developing language skills, mathematical thinking, scientific concepts, and literacy. They are also developing strong social-emotional skills, which are critical to not only school success, but life success.
Children acquire knowledge through natural play and interactions with their surroundings, events, and others. OLE, CHEF, and Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens are a few programs that uphold our dedication to fostering a child’s critical thinking, social skills, and more.
Our outdoor learning environments (OLE) are designed to promote learning through play. Children can access recycled and natural materials that encourage them to design, create, explore, and problem-solve. Whether the children are engaging in physical activities in the Pre-K 4 SA motor labs or in the outdoor classrooms, they learn to take calculated risks while jumping, throwing, balancing, and stretching. These areas have a stage for imaginative play, and cozy reading nooks filled with books for quiet time. Children also enjoy the mud kitchens, vegetable gardens, and tricycle tracks. Buckets of chalk, bubble wands, and finger paints let children express their creative side.
As part of the CHEF program, children learn firsthand about healthy eating by growing their food. Each class has a garden bed in the outdoor learning environment and works with a master gardener to grow and harvest the produce. The children use cognitive and fine motor skills to make simple recipes and while learning about math, sustainability, life cycle, and environmental science concepts. We even host a farmer’s market with our partner, San Antonio Food Bank, so the children can take home fresh produce to share with their families.
The Gracias San Antonio: Children Are Citizens program encourages children to be civic-minded by supporting the community, creating art, and learning about local nonprofits. Every year, children vote in a center-wide election to select a nonprofit organization to learn about and support throughout the year. Our teachers invite children and their families to explore local parks, historic sites, art exhibits, monuments, museums and other places of interest across the community. Local artists join the classroom to help children create authentic artwork that expresses their perspective of places they visit and explore. Art pieces are then displayed in a public gallery exhibit and auctioned to raise money for the selected nonprofit organization.
Gracias San Antonio is grounded in the belief that children are not just future citizens but also citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of San Antonio.
In the face of the concerning number of childhood drownings in Texas, Pre-K 4 SA has partnered with the Miss Tristan Foundation to create an innovative program that brings water safety education to Pre-K 4 SA children and their families. The goal is simple: to prevent heart-wrenching water incidents and equip our youngest learners with life-saving skills they’ll carry with them forever.
Water safety education is offered to all children enrolled at Pre-K 4 SA at no cost to families. Daily in-classroom instruction focuses on key water and pool safety for five days. The instruction then switches to a pool facility with trained instructors facilitating swim lessons for five days.
Children will visit a pool site to complete the program. Each class has five certified or trained instructors, ensuring personalized attention and instruction.
H-E-B Read 3
Pre-K 4 SA is proud to partner with H-E-B Read 3 to make it easier for parents and caregivers to make reading a part of their daily routine. The H-E-B Read 3 program promotes literacy and nutritious eating habits by encouraging parents and caregivers to read to their children at least three times a week and learn how to prepare healthy food at home.
During the program:
- Families receive free books, cooking tips, and healthy snacks weekly at Pre-K 4 SA centers
- UTSA early childhood undergraduate students and Pre-K staff lead weekly literacy activities and lessons for children and adults
- Participants receive a backpack with supplies and an H-E-B gift card upon program completion