We integrate mathematics education and science and technology together with other activities and other activities with mathematics and science. This program is presented as units of exploration and discovery throughout the year or included in our everyday adventures at O’Hana. We appreciate that when young children notice and explore dimensions of their world, when they are absorbed in their world of play, they don’t realize where a math concept begins and a science idea ends. They are too busy problem-solving and reasoning as well as representing, communicating, and connecting all their ideas (to name a few). You won’t find any of our children working with traditional pen and paper worksheets. We prefer to wrap our children up in a world of comparing quantities, finding patterns, navigating in space, and grappling with real problems such as balancing a tall block building or sharing a bowl of crackers fairly with a playmate. Our approach to math and science education is that it is investigative by nature and children’s active exploration and data gathering using their senses and processing skills should be emphasized. A child can always learn how to count but the window for learning how to solve problems is a life-long process so let’s get started.
The use of information technology is integrated across our curriculum. Given the range of computer hardware and software now available on the educational market it has become increasingly difficult to make informed choices between them.
We follow recommended guidelines from the National Association for the Education of Young Children when we access information technology in our preschool programs. This means we access interactive websites that can be viewed collaboratively, which stimulate debate and discussion and which integrate into our Project Topics.
Young children love talking about themselves, documenting their personal histories, learning about their health and safety and of course, celebrating their family and culture. Learning how to interact with other children and adults in our preschool community is a natural extension of this understanding of their world.
Children also learn how to care for their environment in this series of topics especially designed to support our children’s understanding of the world and their place in it. For this reason, excursions form an important third learning approach in our programs. Through taking a trip children can observe social systems and the roles people play within them, such as fire and police protection, traffic control, banking, shopping and other relative systems. Excursions also provide children with first hand experiences in which they can develop further in language and literacy, gaining new vocabulary and problem-solving skills.
We are constantly looking for new ways to represent our children's thinking. Reggio’s system of planning and documenting what the children are thinking about as they explore new ideas ensures that our programs are highly creative. Each child's artistic representations are highly valued. Around the preschool you can find exhibitions of the children’s work – this showcases each child’s developing artistic talents and products made from painting, clay, play dough, collage, water colours, printing, as well as an assortment of everyday products. We celebrate this creativity and we use art as the medium to encourage our children to communicate.
It is our job to teach children art techniques and to give them tools to express their ideas. We also use their pictures to observe their progress and to share this progress with their families.
Young children rely on bodily-based, iconic, basic and expressive communication and in this sense, artistic communication is the literacy par excellence of the early years of child development.
At O’Hana, we place a high importance on children’s artistic expression in dance, movement, role play, drama and music. Taught by our classroom teachers who all have a background in music teaching, our music program teaches Vietnamese children’s folk songs and movement games, and a wide variety of children's English songs from groups such as The Wiggles, Sharon, Lois & Bram and Raffi to name a few. We also use the Oxford singing program for early childhood second language programs – Tiny Talk Kindergarten Series by Carolyn Graham.
Performances are organized throughout the year: at the Moon Festival, at the end of December and in May of each year.
Social and emotional milestones are often harder to pinpoint than signs of physical development. This area emphasizes an increase in self-awareness and self-regulation.
Helping children feel good about themselves and others is our primary goal in teaching social competency.
We accelerate the process by incorporating the value of helping and being kind to others into our daily routines and schedules. We encourage children to solve problem in positive ways, help them to be calm down in risky situation and find the best solution.
Young children rely on bodily-based, iconic, basic and expressive communication and in this sense, language and artistic communication is the literacy par excellence of the early years of child development and is are central to everything we do at O’Hana. This is another reason why we apply the Reggio approach in our preschool. Reggio is a collaborative, communicative progress whereby children and teachers explore new ideas together. This means we value, nurture and enhance your child’s thinking and the way they express their ideas and we take every moment, every day to do so. We encourage your child to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. This is probably the best known aspect of the Reggio Approach: the Hundred Languages and the belief that children have a hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning.
We love the idea of one hundred different ways of thinking, of discovering, of learning and emphasize hands-on discovery learning that enriches your child’s development, enveloping all their senses and enriching all their languages to learn.
We take a holistic approach to learning language. Books are central to our day and making sure we spend time reading aloud to children is something we take very seriously. We read aloud all different kinds of books from our extensive library of both English and Vietnamese children’s books, most of the award winners! These books help our children learn: about cultures, and peoples other than their own; how others think, act, and feel. Informational books help our children learn facts about the world around them. These books also introduce children to important concepts and vocabulary that they will need for success in school. We read books that relate to the children's backgrounds: their experiences, cultures, languages and interests and we read about characters and situations both similar and dissimilar to those in the children's lives so they can learn about the world.
We also spend lots of time documenting children’s investigations – an important consideration in Reggio. The emphasis on carefully displaying and documenting children’s thoughts and progression of thinking – making their thoughts visible in many different ways: photographs, transcripts of children’s thoughts and explanations, visual representations – all designed to show your child’s learning process.
Bilingualism: Our Approach to Bilingual Education adapts and extends as children progress through our preschool programs. Children are exposed to listening models in Discovery and Explorer programs (with both native and non-native English speakers) before becoming exposed to listening and speaking models in Adventurer and Preschool programs where English or Vietnamese is the only language spoken for a large part of each day (again with both native and non-native English speakers). Our English Language teachers are all fully qualified.
Our children develop confidence in their physical literacy through a variety of structured and unstructured activities as part of our Active for Life (Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)). Active for Life which makes sure we challenge our kids they grow in age and physical ability. This program begins with Discovery and covers locomotion, balance and object manipulation in simple, fun activities and increases in physical dexterity with ball skills and a more complex range of balance and locomotion skills such as hopping, jumping, running, throwing, stopping and starting.