Chai Tots follows the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core. It is organized into five broad developmental and interrelated domains. The five distinct, but highly interrelated domains provide the structure for the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core.
A brief description of each domain appears below:
- Approaches to Learning – How children become involved in learning and acquiring knowledge.
- Physical Development and Health – Children’s physical health and ability to engage in daily activities.
- Social and Emotional Development – The emotional competence and ability to form positive relationships that give meaning to children’s experiences in the home, school, and larger community.
- Communication, Language, and Literacy – How children understand, create, and communicate meaning.
- Cognition and Knowledge of the World – What children need to know and understand about their world and how they apply what they know. This domain is a direct reflection of the content competencies and knowledge of the Common Core Learning Standards.
The introduction to each domain sets the context for understanding its connection to how young children learn and develop. The benchmarks and benchmark indicators in each domain represent the standards for what prekindergarten students should know and be able to do in order to be successful learners. Indicators are observable and demonstrative and can be accomplished through the play and active engagement of four year olds within a rich and well designed environment. The lists of indicators are not exhaustive, but are samples of observable behaviors a child may exhibit in meeting the benchmarks.
Prekindergarten teachers, can determine what children are learning, what they enjoy, and what they have mastered, through careful observation of their play, work, and interactions with others, both in the classroom and in other environments. Listening and conversing with children, as well as examining and commenting on their creations and explorations, provides valuable information about each child’s individual learning and development.
Inlcuded with the New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core is Chai Tots' methodology which includes:
The child is attracted to activities that give him independence and control of his own life. One of the most important needs of a young child is to develop his muscles and coordinate his movements. This need is addressed through practical life exercises such as sweeping, polishing, carrying and pouring water, and other common activities. Special materials enable the child to practice tying, buttoning, snapping, and the use of many other fastening devices. The purpose of these exercises is to develop concentration, the ability to pay attention to details as the child follows a regular sequence of actions and learns good working habits. These activities provide the very foundation on which the child approaches more intricate academic exercises.
Sensorial materials in the classroom are designed to sharpen the senses of the young child and enable the child to understand the many impressions he receives through them. Each of the sensorial materials isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound, or smell. The sensorial materials help the child to distinguish, categorize, and relate new information to what he already knows.
The child begins reading when he is ready and proceeds at his own pace. His experiences in Practical Life and Sensorial education serve as a preparation for this. With cut-out letters, the child builds his own words on a mat. The materials free him from the fatigue of his still developing writing skills, and yet still gives him the opportunity to pursue his interest in words. These activities serve as a preparation for the time when the child assimilates what he knows and begins writing.
The materials for mathematics introduce the concept of quantity and its symbols, the numbers 0 through 9. The quantity is introduced by a series of rods which the child can count and compare. He matches sets of symbol cards with the rods. Using a variety of beads and symbol cards, the child becomes familiar with the numbers as a decimal system, including concrete experiences with the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These exercises not only teach the child to calculate, but they provide a deep understanding of how numbers function.