We adhere to a learning-through-play philosophy in a creative, stimulating, structured and safe environment.
Each program is geared to help develop your child’s social, intellectual, physical and emotional skills and feed their growing imagination and curiosity. We offer many organized and age-appropriate activities, including free play, gym time, crafts, reading, class parties for special holidays, and music instruction. As well, our classes are often visited by special guests throughout the year, such as police officers, firefighters, and animals such as snakes, dogs and even a penguin!
The programs at Little Friends are of a high-caliber, and are the first choice for many families throughout Crestwood and surrounding neighbourhoods. As a result, there is often a greater demand than there are spaces available. Registration is determined according to criteria set out in the Policies and Procedures Handbook.
Tuesday thru Friday mornings from 9:05 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. (1 or 2 times a week)
The Toddler Room is for children aged 19 months (before September 1st, 2022) to 3 years of age. This unique program is often a child’s first experience in a structured educational setting with teachers and a group of children. This early socialization allows them to learn to share, follow instructions, and sets the foundation for future learning. This class has a maximum number of nine children per day.
Goals and Activities
- Pre-literacy skills: The Toddler Room is a language-rich environment, where we use rhymes and songs to help children notice the distinct sounds in words. We read sing-a-long books, which encourage listening, comprehension and expressive language. As we learn through play, we identify toys by colour or shape. “Do you want a red car, or a blue car?” In our circle time, children learn to focus their attention on a teacher and listen as a group.
- Pre-math skills: Cognitive skills are strengthened by hands-on activities that challenge children to observe things closely and nurture curiosity. For example: “Why did the ice melt?” Our matching, sorting and counting games strengthen children’s understanding of numbers, categories, and sequences. Puzzles allow for problem solving and help children learn how to “plan ahead”. “Which piece will fit in next?”
- Gross Motor and Fine Motor Development: Our daily craft time helps the children hone their fine motor skills by holding crayons, bingo dabbers, and paint brushes. We use a variety of materials to craft with allowing the children to explore many textures and processes, such as balloon painting, and pop bottle painting. Gross motor activities, which include running, using gymnastic mats for climbing and jumping, and riding on plasma cars, are held daily. Throwing, rolling, kicking and catching balls all serve to improve hand eye coordination.
Tuesday & Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The Playroom program is tailored for three-year olds (on or before December 31st, 2022) with age-appropriate activities, toys and learning tools to stimulate them emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually. This class, which is held Tuesday and Thursday mornings, has a maximum number of 16 children. This program is a significant transition for a child from the Toddler Room because not only is the classroom physically larger, but because they are older, there are different expectations, such as raising their hands before speaking out during group discussions, and practicing cooperation with others.
Goals and Activities
- Social Development: Cooperative play, sharing, appropriate conflict resolution skills (i.e. using words to communicate instead of acting out), respect of others, and including personal space are key concepts we work on during the year.
- Classroom Management skills: Honing listening skills, following group instructions, learning positive behaviours (i.e. raising hands before speaking out), speaking in front of others, sharing ideas within a group setting, learning to line-up and move appropriately together as a group, participation in cooperative group games.
- Pre-literacy skills: Alphabet recognition, letter sounds, beginning letters in words, understanding that letters make up words which convey meaning, spelling their name, story comprehension, rhyming words.
- Pre-numeracy skills: Number recognition, counting, representing a group of objects with a number symbol, sorting (including “what doesn’t belong in a group of objects”), patterning, and matching.
- Fine Motor Skills: Our daily craft helps hone these skills, including basic pencil grip, colouring, drawing/pre-printing skills, use of glue, along with manipulation of small objects while constructing crafts (i.e. sequins) and during play.
- Gross Motor Skills: The preschool’s large gymnasium allows the children to develop ball skills (catching, tossing, rolling, kicking into a goal), balancing, ways of moving (jumping, hopping, galloping, rolling etc.), imitation activities (move like an animal, dancer, dinosaur etc.), handling different sports equipment, including hockey sticks and golf clubs.
- Creative Exploration: Exposure to a variety of media and methods to create (including play dough, play sand, painting techniques), creating a representation of an object from a sample, sensory games and toys, imaginative play
- Science and Social Studies knowledge: The world is a big place and we strive to teach our students all about it, including the environment, weather patterns and the animal kingdom.
Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Playschool prepares four-year-olds (on or before December 31st, 2022) for their next big educational step to Kindergarten, whilst instilling in them a lifelong love for learning. Social and emotional competence is gained by providing safe, warm and fun interactions in the classroom with both the teachers and other students. We strive to create an environment that promotes creativity and curiosity using themes, activities, crafts, songs, books and special events. We encourage physical and intellectual growth in each child at their own pace through our daily routines including language and number literacy activities and gym play. Playschool staff work to create a place where the children have fun, make friends while being a friend, feel safe and loved and have opportunities to explore, ask questions and try new things. The program runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Goals and Activities
- Emotional and Social Development: Our goal is to develop curious, confident children. This is achieved through consistent routines, opportunities to participate and contribute in classroom discussions, encouragement to play with others, share, take turns and problem solve. Opportunities for daily imaginative and creative play and exploration are built in to the daily schedule through free play, open-ended crafts and opportunities to make choices each morning.
- Fine Motor Development: Daily activities during craft or tabletop activities encourage fine motor development. Some examples are colouring, cutting, gluing, building with blocks/magnets/straws, chopstick sorting, sand tracing, beading, play dough, letter and name tracing. This also includes letter printing activities.
- Gross Motor Development: Daily activities are planned to encourage gross motor control and development. Some examples are free play during gym, hopscotch, tag, action songs, group games, relays, ball play (kicking, passing, dribbling), large block building and spatial awareness during gym and carpet time.
- Academic Development: Story time, book time, games, themes and theme discussion encourage language literacy. Letter Sound Friend activities cover the alphabet – one letter per week through the course of the year. These activities include learning the letter sounds, letter crafts and practice printing for each letter. Individual and friend name recognition is also practiced. Sorting activities and games, puzzles, matching activities, shape identification, calendar, number identification and counting encourage number literacy. Number literacy is also included throughout each theme and during crafts, songs and tabletop activities. Hands-on experiences are provided to encourage curiosity in learning and provide building blocks of experience for future learning. Some examples of this are baking soda volcanoes, bread making, ice cream making, magnets, and visits from reptiles and amphibians.