Joy School teaches what has been proven through research, experience, and parental feedback to be the very most important concepts and principles that can be taught to children in a preschool or co-op setting, the concepts and principles of being secure, feeling loved and capable, being open and excited about learning, and finding joy and happiness in life’s wonders. Furthermore, and perhaps even more impactfully, Joy School helps parents be more aware of their roles in helping children develop the emotional, social and intellectual tools they need to become competent and joyful children and adults.
Many groups of young children are concerned about introducing an academic program prior to kindergarten. Even though the Joy School program eschews focusing on academics prior to establishing solid foundations of well-being and security, the program most definitely stimulates their intellectual development.
For example, Joy School has also always used a variety of methods to teach basics of literacy, such as the rhyming words and syntax taught through music and poetry, making logical inferences, and understanding complex texts and abstract ideas. The discussions, activities, and stories teach important Kindergarten and Grades 1-2 literacy and language skills, such as learning to verbally respond to texts, using expanded vocabulary to engage in conversation, actively using question words and responding to them, understanding the nuances of word usage and demonstrating them through conversation, and using context clues to discover word meanings. Joy School also covers in-depth principles of speaking and listening in a way that most preschools, kindergartens, and beyond cannot even touch, partially thanks to the intimacy the co-op small group. Joy School does an excellent job of teaching language skills, of course beyond its primary purpose in providing a gateway for more secure and joyful children.
As far as math and science, the curriculum also provides a fantastic foundational approach to mathematical and scientific reasoning. For example, there are a number of spacial awareness play activities, color recognition and usage activities, shape-based activities, measurement explorations through cooking, natural world exploration, and, of course, there is an entire unit dedicated to asking questions (Joy of Curiosity) which leads well into the foundations of scientific reasoning.
Joy School also helps children work on their fine and gross motor skills, cooperation, social problem solving, and group interaction, which were the benchmarks of kindergarten before Common Core took precedence.
To help parents who would like to introduce some of the rote learning that will be seen in school the following year (such as colors, letters, and numbers) and would like to have a longer Joy School day, the Kindergarten Readiness program introduces shapes, colors, letters, numbers in a more straightforward academic approach. (Most parents include Kindergarten Readiness as an additional “chunk” of their Joy School day.) And the Joy School 2.0 Curriculum, as mentioned above, very ably teaches language, comprehension, and foundational math skills. The combination of these two programs definitely covers the gamut of kindergarten readiness.