Hours of Operation
- Full Time: 9 am–3 pm
- Pre-k Classrooms (Sunshine and Rainbow): 8:50 am-3:10 pm
- Half Day: 9 am–12:30 pm (limited spots in Jitterbug & Dragonfly classrooms)
- Early Bird Program: 8–9 am
- After School Program: 3–6 pm
In all areas of preschool play, there are concepts of living, sharing, and understanding that take on added dimensions with the growth and development of your child. It is our belief that children need both freedom and a sense of order in the events of the day. A fixed daily schedule gives children confidence because they know what to expect. However, the schedule is just a framework. It gives a sense of sureness and order to the day but can be modified easily as needed. Throughout the day, children are free to make many choices within the basic structure. Elements of our program include:
- Circle/Meeting Time This is a time to coalesce and reconnect as a classroom community. It is a time to share ideas thoughts, personal items or anecdotes or a story or a song, a time to introduce a new learning concept, a time to reflect on a small group or whole group activity, and a time to gather cohorts and coworkers to engage in small group project work.
- Free Play Inside or outside, your child has the freedom to make choices, express him/herself in dramatic play and relate to and negotiate with others. Our materials include puzzles, games, manipulatives, blocks, dolls, books, musical instruments, as well as art, natural and recycled materials to explore and to use to create. Dress Up/Pretend play is a very important way that children express their understanding of the world around them. We invite children to imagine, re-live and role-play adult home and community activities using a variety of child-sized equipment and materials, including kitchen equipment, fabrics and dress-up clothes.
- Science and Math At BFS, we create a learning environment where the children can explore science and math concepts as they are moving through their immediate surroundings. Wooden unit blocks create invitations for the discovery of measurements and comparisons. Manipulatives bring forth the urge to categorize, sort and classify. Snails, leaves and insects inspire the children to observe and collect data. In the manipulation and control of blocks and other building toys, many possibilities exist for the exploration of mathematical concepts as well as imaginative expression. Sand and water play or cooking also provide hands-on exploration of many scientific concepts. Teachers facilitate and watch/listen carefully and find entry points for extending the children's learning and challenging them to ask questions, make predictions and create and test their own theories.
- Literacy Children desire to express themselves and to be understood by others and vice versa. We facilitate this desire by providing endless opportunities to have conversations, share ideas, dictate thoughts, enjoy authentic children's literature, learn from reference books, and see the written language being used daily in authentic contexts. The exploration of letters and our alphabetic code is child-directed and teacher facilitated. We support the children’s need to deconstruct and reconstruct their understanding and representation of words and letters. We share in their enjoyment of the expression of phonetic and phonemic awareness.
- Trips In addition to local parks, teachers also integrate the surrounding neighborhood into their classroom curriculum. Classes may visit the local hardware store to purchase a tool for a project or the local market to purchase ingredients for a recipe. In the spring, we take children on field trips that are related to the areas of study they are exploring. A class that has been engaging in a study of subway trains might go to the Transit Museum, and another that has been interested in farm animals might go to the Queens County Farm. Trips are taken only if enough parent or caregiver volunteers are available to chaperone.
- Celebrations We support the children in their celebration of many cultural and family holidays within the school. We believe that sharing different cultural backgrounds in this way develops healthy self-awareness and a positive awareness of others. We provide children with information about the traditions that surround such events through activities and stories. Families are encouraged to participate and to share how they celebrate at home. We also celebrate each child’s birthday if her/his family wishes.
Our curriculum is greatly enhanced by the teaching artists who work with us every week to facilitate the exploration of “the hundred languages of children” - whether the medium is movement, music or the visual arts.
- Visual Arts A variety of materials are provided to stimulate the child’s imagination and help express his/her feelings and ideas through artistic creation. The mediums that children explore include painting and drawing, collage, sculpture, clay and dough. Gabi Moisan, our on staff “atelierista” is our part-time professional artist on staff who collaborates with classroom teachers and children to delve deeper into individual and collective artistic processes and express themselves through drawing, painting, printing, sculpture and collage.
- Music and Movement We encourage the natural inclinations of children to sing, move and express with sound. Musical instruments are made available for exploration at free play time. Singing songs alone or together and listening to and appreciating various genres of music are part of the everyday curriculum. This everyday experience is enriched by a visiting teaching artist who helps the children to sing tunefully, develop age-appropriate musical concepts, move expressively and rhythmically, and create their own music and movements. Joane Riel brings her child-focused improvisational based style of exploring movement and movement to our youngest classrooms, while Jeremy Zmuda integrates an understanding of musical concepts such as rhythm, melody, and diverse styles and into his guitar-based sessions with the older children.
- Yoga with Soulshine Life for all of the classrooms bimonthly, offers a healthy dose of breath, balance and connection.