Big Grove – ages 4 to 5 years
School Readiness- Big Grove students are thirsty for knowledge and eager to understand what lies ahead of them when they enter kindergarten. The Big Grove teachers make every effort to ensure that the children are well equipped prior to their departure for school. Throughout the year the children are supported in their social emotional development and their grasp of life skills, with a strong emphasis on independence and self care. The children are expected to dress and undress themselves when they go outdoors, to convey their needs when it comes to bathroom usage and mealtimes, and to communicate with their peers in a reasonable, safe, and respectful manner. In terms of academics, the teachers incorporate elements of reading, writing, math, and critical thinking into the everyday activities of the classroom. The activity centers in the classroom support their ongoing understanding of and involvement with these content areas. The local elementary schools are able to identify the children who have graduated from Timberline due to their creativity, analytical skills, and well evolved social emotional development.
Investigations- The Big Grove children utilize what they learned from their long term investigations in the Little Grove and take that to the next level in the Big Grove. An exploration in the Big Grove can last for an entire year and can develop into something truly phenomenal. Last year’s investigation evolved from a short hike on Iowa Hill a Fall day. The children noticed that there were no flowers and wondered where they had gone. They spent the winter learning about the growth cycle of plants and in the Spring began taking regular hikes to look for signs of growth. The children took journals to document what they were observing and returned to the classroom to discuss what they had observed. This transitioned into learning about the variety of flowers that were growing, what similarities and differences they possessed and how to communicate this through a variety of media. The children decided to do a play about the growth cycle of the plants and flowers they had been studying and present it, with costumes they made, to their friends and families at their continuation ceremony later that Spring. Not only did these children demonstrate an incredible amount of patience and focus, but they recreated these flowers in pencil/charcoal, watercolor, modeling clay, and costumes and were able to identify and print the names of every flower they learned about.