Our Preschool Programs

Curriculum

  • Creative and process oriented art experiences are provided daily.
  • The class explores the playground and discovers a toad!
  • Learning through play during "Medical" week.

The theme and activity-based preschool curriculum at Kirk in the Hills Preschool comes from the teacher’s knowledge of child development and developmentally appropriate practice, and also grows out of the interests of children. Children plan and select many of their own activities from a variety of interest centers such as dramatic play, blocks, books, writing, science and math experiences, art, music, games and puzzles. Teachers integrate skills and concepts into the daily curriculum through hands-on learning opportunities, and small and large group activities. We strive to match each child’s abilities while also challenging their interests and understanding. Opportunities are provided for creative expression through art, music, movement, dramatic play and nature appreciation. The curriculum also includes music and science enrichment, Bible stories in the Sanctuary, and Handwriting Without Tears® writing readiness activities.

Our preschool curriculum is tied to the individual and group objectives and goals teachers develop for each child and their classrooms. These goals and objectives are based on the State of Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards, and those established by the Child Development Laboratories at Michigan State University.

2 1/2-Year-Old Class

  • Imaginative play
  • Creating a self portrait
  • Future architects!
  • Sensory play with shaving cream
  • Observation and discovery during a week on insects!

Overview: Our goal is to provide a nurturing and stimulating first learning experience where children explore a range of activities focusing on all areas of development: language, cognitive, social/emotional, physical and spiritual. There is a strong focus on building social and emotional competence, on strengthening fine motor skills and encouraging receptive and expressive language skills. Smooth, predictable transitions throughout the day foster confidence and facilitate independence.

Days and Times:

Tuesday/Thursday class – 9:15-11:15

Class Size: 10

Teacher/Child Ratio: 1:5

Age Requirement: Children must be 2 1/2 by the first day of school.

3-Year-Old Classes

  • A cooperative art project.
  • Experimenting with static electricity during Science Enrichment.
  • Harry the Hippo is a playground favorite!
  • Painting with construction vehicles.
  • Making rockets and counting with Unifix Cubes.
  • Fine motor tasks require eye/hand coordination and concentration.
  • Math and problem solving skills get a work out during block play.

Overview: In our 3-year-old preschool class we offer a nurturing environment that encourages growth in all areas of development: language, cognitive, social/emotional, physical and spiritual. There is a strong focus on building social and emotional competence, on strengthening fine motor skills and encouraging receptive and expressive language skills. Smooth, predictable transitions throughout the day foster confidence and facilitate independence.

Days and Times:

Tuesday/Thursday 3-year-old class: 9:30-12:00

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3-year-old class: 9:30-12:00

Class Size: 14

Teacher/Child Ratio: 1:7

Age Requirement: Children must be 3 by September 1 of the school year for which they enroll.

Music Enrichment: 1/week for the MWF 3-year-olds and every other week for the Tu/Th 3-year-olds.

Children participate in 30 minutes of music enrichment with music teacher, “Miss Nancy.” Through songs, percussion instruments, rhymes, stories, and activities, the music class:

  • Improves early language development, pre-literacy, and word recognition
  • Strengthens fine-motor, gross-motor, and locomotor skills
  • Cultivates sharing, self-regulation, and self-control
  • Develops the whole child

Science Enrichment: Children are introduced to the scientific method through hands-on science lessons.   Lesson topics include: bubble science, magnetism, sink or float, and wind science. After every science lesson, Mrs. Roberts distributes handouts to families detailing the concepts taught, and providing ideas about how to extend the lessons at home.  Science enrichment is three times a year for the 3-year-old classes.

Classroom Visitors: Throughout the school year, the 3-year-olds enjoy classroom visitors, brought in to enrich their curriculum. Visitors may include fire fighters, Dan the Critter Man, a dental hygienist, or a parent with a special talent.

Pajama Day: Children love to bring a favorite stuffed animal to school and wear their pajamas.

Buddy Bear: Children take turns bringing their classroom’s beloved, stuffed “Buddy Bear” home. Children dictate, or parents “write” about their experience with Buddy Bear, and the teachers share this with the class.

4-Year-Old Classes

  • Lucy the puppet and letter learning
  • Construction week
  • Hands-on learning during dental week
  • Building a snowman on the playground
  • The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum strengthens fine motor skills and teaches letter formation.
  • Illustrating the monthly Bible verse.
  • Special events like Beach Day create lasting memories.
  • Dan the Creature Man brings our curriculum to life during his annual visit.

Overview: We offer a nurturing environment that encourages growth in all areas of development: language, cognitive, social/emotional, physical and spiritual. Through hands-on activities and learning centers, teachers facilitate exploration and learning to the range of developmental levels in their classrooms. Our 4-year-old preschool children participate in a balance of small and large group activities, and a variety of structured and self-selected activities balanced with play and exploration. Free play time allows for music and movement, language and literacy, math, science, and art, dramatic play and construction activities. Handwriting Without Tears® writing readiness activities are included weekly.

Days and Times

3 day 4-year-olds (MWF): 9:15-12:15

4 day 4-year-olds(MTuWF) : 9:15-12:15

Class Size: 16

Teacher/Child Ratio: 1:8

Age Requirement: Children must be 4 by September 1 of the year in which they enroll

Music Enrichment: Children participate in 30 minutes of music enrichment with music teacher, “Miss Nancy.” Through songs, percussion instruments, rhymes, stories, and activities, the music class:

  • Improves early language development, pre-literacy, and word recognition
  • Strengthens fine-motor, gross-motor, and locomotor skills
  • Cultivates sharing, self-regulation, and self-control
  • Develops the whole child

 

Science Enrichment: Children are introduced to the scientific method through monthly hands-on science lessons.   Lesson topics include: light and color, solids, liquids and gases, magnetism, and rocket science. After every science lesson, Mrs. Roberts distributes handouts to families detailing the concepts taught and giving ideas about how to extend them at home.

Bible Stories: Children look forward to joining the Kirk’s Youth Pastor, The Rev. William “Tres” Adams, in the Sanctuary for monthly Bible Stories and prayer. Pastor Tres chooses stories and prayers that expand and support our monthly Bible verses.

A highlight of the year is hearing Pastor Tres tell the story of the first Christmas, and singing Christmas carols with the Kirk’s music director, Glen Miller. Mr. Miller also introduces the children to the organ, and shows them where the church mouse hides.

Fieldtrips:  Since hands-on experiences are key to young children’s learning, the 4-year-old classes take several fieldtrips throughout the year to places such as the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bower’s Farm, the E.L. Johnson Nature Center.

Sound Box/Meet Lucy the Puppet: “Lucy the Puppet” introduces children to the letter of the week and facilitates literacy activities around letter names and sounds.

Curious George Goes Home: Children take turns bringing their classroom’s beloved, stuffed Curious George home. Children dictate, or parents “write” about their experience with Curious George, and the teachers share this with the class.

Dan the Critter Man: Each year Dan the Critter Man visits our school with an array of fascinating animals, reptiles and insects such as a chinchilla, snakes, a tree frog and a stink bug.

Beach Day: During our annual Beach Day, the 4-year-old classes get a reprieve from the cold, dark days of winter (at least in spirit) while they participate in a variety of fun “beach” activities, including splashing in our classroom wading pools!

Junior Kindergarten

  • Mrs. Holmes and the Jr. K. brainstorm transportation ideas
  • Construction Week in the Jr. Kindergarten
  • The Jr. K. on our playground bus
  • Tracing units blocks to design vehicles during Transportation Week.

Days and Times:

M-F, from 9:15-12:15

Class size: 12

Teacher/Child Ratio: 1:6

Age Requirement: Children must be 5 by November 1st of the school year in which they enroll. The Junior Kindergarten is designed for “young fives” (children turning 5 in the summer or fall) whose parents decide, because of age, developmental readiness or maturity, to wait a year before enrolling their child in kindergarten.

Class Description: Special attention is given to the developmental needs of each child in the Jr. Kindergarten. The curriculum is based on a thematic approach with areas of study ranging from the Rainforest Habitat to “Great Artists,” like Monet and Picasso. Each theme is interwoven with early literacy and language activities, cooking, science and math activities. Early literacy activities include practice with rhyming, alliteration and letter recognition as children follow along on song and story charts, assist in list making, story dictation and journal writing. Children are encouraged to represent their ideas through art and writing. At the end of the year, children come away with a treasure trove of creative, beautiful and thoughtful representations of their ideas. The Jr. K. also includes the Handwriting without Tears curriculum.

Because of the small class size, teachers have the opportunity to delve into subject matter, stories and ideas on a deep level, encouraging higher level problem solving and thinking skills. There is still ample time for free play, music and movement and outdoor play.

Social and emotional skills are also an important part of the Jr. Kindergarten. Children build a supportive classroom community where cooperation, turn taking, negotiation and many other social and emotional skills are practiced and learned on a daily basis.

Music Enrichment: Miss Nancy, a licensed Kindermusik educator, teaches the Jr. Kindergartners the ABC Music & Me program, a research-based early childhood music program designed to support the development of the whole child. This weekly music class is a multi-sensory learning experience that includes instrument play, singing, literacy and movement.

Science Enrichment: Children are introduced to the scientific method through monthly hands-on science lessons taught by Mrs. Roberts, the preschool’s science teacher. Lesson topics include: light and color, solids, liquids and gases, magnetism, and rocket science. After every  lesson, Mrs. Roberts distributes handouts to families detailing the concepts taught and giving ideas about how to extend them at home.

Bible Stories in the Sanctuary: Children look forward to joining the Kirk’s Youth Pastor, The Rev. William “Tres” Adams in the Sancutary for Bible Stories and prayer. Pastor Tres chooses stories and prayers that expand and support our monthly Bible verses.

A highlight of the year is hearing Pastor Tres tell the story of the first Christmas, and singing Christmas carols with the Kirk’s music director, Glen Miller. Mr. Miller also introduces the children to the organ, and shows them where the church mouse hides. 

Field trips: Since hands-on experiences are key to the young child’s learning, the Jr. K. takes several fieldtrips throughout the year to places such as the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bower’s Farm, the E.L. Johnson Nature Center and the Rain Forest Café.

Daily Routine: The daily schedule allows for many small group activities. From Centers, to small literacy or math groups, to individual “sessions” the students in this class receive much attention, encouragement and instruction. Free Play Time, Circle Time, outdoor play and music and movement are also included daily.

 

Parent/Tot Classes

  • Making paper chains in the parent/tot class

Days and Times: Wednesdays, 9:15-10:45

Sessions: A fall session (Sept.-Dec.) and a Winter/Spring session (Jan.-May) are offered each year.

Class Size: 10 children with one teacher

Age Requirement: Children must be 2 by Sept. 1 of the year in which they enroll.

Mission: To provide a nurturing environment that promotes parent/child interaction and provides toddlers with the opportunity to explore and play while learning to interact in a group setting. Learning to follow a simple preschool routine prepares toddlers for a smooth transition to preschool. Parents/caregivers benefit from the teacher’s knowledge of child development, and from the camaraderie and support they receive from each other.

Daily Routine: Free Play Time, Circle Time, Snack Time, and outdoor play are included in each class. During free play, children select activities from a variety of interest centers such as dramatic play, blocks, art, books, play dough and puzzles. A daily art project is available during free play time. Circle Time includes songs, finger plays, a Bible verse, a story and large motor activities.

 

Communication with Parents: A Close-Knit Community

  • The Family Feast

At our preschool, we take pride in the close relationships our staff share with the families we serve. Teachers work in partnership with parents to ensure children’s learning and developmental needs are met.

Family Activities: Parents are invited to activities throughout the year including our fall picnic, parent coffees, Christmas concerts and celebrations, Father’s Night and Spring concert and picnic.

Parent Volunteers: Parents and are encouraged to help with fieldtrips, special classroom activities, journal writing and to be “mystery readers.”

Daily Wrap Up: This is one of our parents’ favorite parts of our program! At the end of the morning,  teachers meet with parents for a daily “wrap up.” During “wrap up,” teachers share group time activities, special projects and announcements about upcoming events. Teachers also take this time to share with you the educational benefits of their daily activities.

Parent/Teacher Conferences: Each class will have parent/teacher conferences during the year. One conference will be held in November for children in the four-year-old and Jr. Kindergarten classes. There will be a follow up assessment for the 4-year-olds and Jr. Kindergartners in the spring. A conference can be requested in the spring if parents or teachers feel one is necessary.

One conference will be held mid-year for children in the 3-year-old classes. Three-year-olds will receive an “Adjustment” handout early in the school year with information on their child’s adjustment to school, preferred activities, etc. Parents are encouraged to contact the teachers if they’d like a conference at any other time of the year.

Extended Day Enrichment Opportunities

  • Early literacy activity
  • Spanish Extended Day

The preschool offers 2 sessions of extended day classes a year. Session one runs from the end of September – December, and Session two runs January – May. Registration for extended day classes takes place in September for the 1st session, and in December for the 2nd session.

4’s Extended Day and Jr. K. “Lunch and Learn”: The preschool offers an Extended Day program for the 4-year-old and Jr. K. classes. Classes are on Mondays or Wednesdays for the 4-year-old classes and on Wednesdays for the Jr. K. This extended day program, taught by our teachers, runs from 12:15-1:30. Children pack a bag lunch and participate in a variety of enrichment activities in a small group setting (a maximum of 12 children with 2 teachers).

Spanish: Spanish with Bright Loritos is offered on Mondays or Wednesdays for the 4-year-old classes, and on Mondays for the Jr. K., from 12:15-1:30. This is an immersion-based class taught by a native Spanish speaking teacher. Games, songs, art and movement keep the children actively involved in this fun learning experience.

A Typical Day

  • "Signing in" at the beginning of the day gives children daily practice writing their names.
  • Children explore their interests and choose from a variety of play activities during Center Time.
  • A science demonstration during Circle Time.
  • A page from an "All About Me" book created during Small Group Time

Each classroom at our preschool follows a daily routine that includes:

Beginning of the Day Sign In: When children enter our classrooms they make sure to stop at the sign in table where they find their name, place a sticker by it and “sign in” according to their development stage.

Center Time: This is a time when children are free to make choices of where to play in the room. There are always many choices during this time, including blocks, pretend play, puzzles and manipulatives, playdough, games, easel painting and an art project.

Group Time: Children gather on the rug for discussions of learning topics, songs, fingerplays, stories, and music and movement.

Small Group Time: Children gather in small groups with a teacher to participate in a range of activities. Typical activities include classifying objects (such as buttons) into groups, making a page for a class book or making a pattern while stringing beads.

Snack Time: Children have a daily snack of crackers and apple juice or water. Once a week, or more, children have a healthy snack provided by a parent (such as cheese, yogurt, a variety of fruits, etc.).

Music and Movement: Children participate in a variety of songs and large movement games.

Outdoor Play: Children play on our playground daily, weather permitting.

Dismissal: Children gather to review highlights of their morning and sing the goodbye song.

Family Events

  • Father's Night at Kirk in the Hills Preschool

Fall Family Picnic: Each fall the preschool hosts a Family Picnic on our playground, nestled in the beautiful Kirk grounds. This is a wonderful time for teachers and families to get to know each other at the beginning of the school year.

Parent Coffees: The Preschool Board of Directors puts on a Parent Coffee every fall.

Christmas Concerts and Parties: The 3-year-olds have a Christmas sing-a-long, and the other classes put on a Christmas concert for their families. Concerts and parties take place in the Kirk’s beautiful Refectory. The concerts are followed by a celebration with ornament making and cookie decorating.

Dad and Donuts: Dads and their 3-year-olds come to school early one morning for donuts and some classroom fun.

Father’s Night: Our 4-year-old and Jr. K. classes have Father’s Night in March. Dads come to school with their children and get to experience a “mini” preschool day, complete with free play, an art project, and Circle Time.

Spring Concert and Picnic: All classes present a concert for families followed by games and a picnic on our playground.

A duck drawing by a preschool student at Kirk Preschool Bloomfield Hills Michigan
Drawing by a preschool student at Kirk Preschool Bloomfield Hills Michigan
Drawing by a preschool student at Kirk Preschool Bloomfield Hills Michigan