Children learn through fun and it is our aim to ensure that all of our preschoolers really enjoy their first formal introduction to education. Aistear is the ciriculum we follow and its literal translation is journey, so preschool is the start of a child’s journey in education. Early childhood is a time of great opportunity for learning and development. It is the most important developmental stage of a child’s life! In their early years children learn through loving, trusting and respectful relationships. When they are happy and secure, they learn more. At Dunaree, our Pre-school environment is dedicated to creating an atmosphere that is stimulating, encouraging, safe and adaptive to each child’s needs. It is a place that gives the necessary care, education and support to children to be successful learners. At Dunaree, we enhance learning through a respectful understanding of a child’s uniqueness. By recognizing a child’s own strengths, interests, abilities, needs and experience, we can build on them and offer support, encouragement and guidance towards helping them develop their individual skills at their own pace. Each child is encouraged, supported and praised. We strive to ensure each child is challenged so that they reach their individual full potential. Regular observations documenting each child’s progress is noted so we can reassess our activities according to each child’s needs. It is also very important to us that children of a quieter nature are catered for also. We recognize the need for one to one contact so that we build strong relationships with the children so that each child is 100% comfortable with us.
Some of our weekly activities include:
– Arts and crafts– Baking
– Puppet shows– Puzzles
– Games– Building and modeling
– Songs and rhymes– Out door play
– Circle time– Science experiment and explorations
– Development of letters, numbers and pre-writing skills
– Introduction to the Irish language
We love to learn through communication and interaction when discussing many topics at circle time and have lots of fun and excitement when carrying out science experiments.
How do these activities benefit my child? All these activities encourage the children to learn through exploring and thinking about their environment, interacting with others and connecting with them. Each activity sparks learning and encourages the children to ask questions as they learn through exploration and play. They learn to be creative, to think, to make decisions as learners which help contribute to building confidence, self esteem and an understanding of respect for themselves, for others and their environment. These activities also teach them to discover, explore and refine their gross and fine motor skills, social interaction, table top concentration, confidence and personal development in preparation for ‘big school’.
It is foremost on our minds that when a child (particularly the first in a family) starts preschool, their family must also be taken into consideration as we feel that it is very important to encourage free flowing communication so that all parents feel comfortable approaching us with a question or query. It is also our aim that each child’s background and culture is taken into consideration and respected. We celebrate each child’s different culture on various culture days throughout the year to make every child feel welcome and at home. Dunaree is a participating provider of the Government’s ECCE scheme to provide a free pre-school year for children in the year before they start primary school. The Early Childhood Care & Education Scheme (ECCE) provides one year “free” Pre-school education to every child in Ireland aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 6 months on 1st September each year. The ECCE Scheme was announced by the government in April 2009 and was introduced in January 2010. Parents are able to avail of this ECCE scheme for their children on a 38 week per year basis.
The introduction of this ECCE scheme is a great development for early childhood education and development as it ensures each child has the opportunity to learn and develop at this vital stage before they enter the national school environment. We at Dunaree are committed to providing every child with the best introduction into education and learning through a fun, stimulating structured curriculum based on the Aistear Principles and Themes (please see Aistear curriculum link for more details). Working on foundations of love, care and trust, we help mould your child from a toddler into a young confident competent learner with all the tools such as value of friendship, table-top concentration, knowledge and a thirst for exploring ready to take on the task of progressing to ‘big school’.