The philosophy of the Salem Preschool is that preschool children learn best through their play and stimulating activities. Our school emphasizes a developmental program that addresses the social and emotional development of the children, as well as, their cognitive skills and motor development.
At Salem children develop the skills necessary for later success in reading, writing, math, and science through a curriculum that is specifically designed to be age-appropriate for each individual child. Components that teach and reinforce those skills include reading, math, science, art, dramatic play, sensory, music, large group, small group, outside play, fine motor, and gross motor activities. The children are also encouraged to explore, create, ask questions, and seek their own answers.
As preschool educators, we help children master their social skills by giving them the tools to handle frustration and conflict. Through dialogue and modeling examples, children learn cooperation, team work and problem solving skills.
We feel that the important lessons we can teach children while at Salem are to love school and learning, to have confidence in their own abilities and learn to respect and enjoy the differences of others.
Our school has three, bright and cheery, classrooms. In addition, the school has four areas which are shared by all classes:
- Our ‘Theme Room‘ functions as a dramatic play center that changes throughout the year into a farm market, beach, rain forest, campsite, castle and more!
- Our ‘Climbing Room’ is a large classroom that has been set up as an indoor gym. Ladders, slides and gym mats all encourage active, large motor play. Also located in this room are a train table, large building blocks and a loft which is often transformed into a house, fire station or pirate ship.
- The third area is the large, bright, and open ‘Fellowship Hall’ of the church. Here children can use scooter boards, roller racers, balls, and parachutes, and play large group games safely.
- Finally, all classes enjoy our fenced in, outdoor playground that is shaded by beautiful mature trees. Located here are two large climbers with tunnel slides, a swinging bridge, overhead loop ladder, arched climber, and balance beam. There is also a large sandbox and a classic tire swing!
Although the routines of each class will vary, classes generally begin each day with an extended period of ‘guided free play time’ during which children choose from a variety of centers prepared for art, reading, math and science activities, block construction, water play, playdough, puzzles, table games, and dramatic play. Each class has a group time during which the children and teachers enjoy music, stories, games, conversation, and sharing. Children and teachers also sit down together for the snacks provided by parents. There is a gym time each day during which the children enjoy large motor activities in the Climbing Room, Fellowship Hall, or outdoor playground.
In all classes, music, stories, art, cooking, woodworking, dramatic play, field trips are the building blocks that help children learn about themselves and the world around them. Tactile experiences like finger painting, playdough and water play are popular activities. Physical activities and creative movement are also important aspects of each class. Each class has a teacher and assistant.
- The Young Three’s class is for children who turn three by December 31st. This is often a first time group experience for a child. It is an opportunity for them to socialize with other children, learn to separate from their parents and to have fun while learning new skills in a school setting. This class places an emphasis on language development and beginning social skills. We do not expect all of them to be toilet trained.
Class size is limited to 10 children.
- 3 Year Old classes are for children who have turned three by September 1st. Children in this class are actively involved in meeting new friends and discovering the exciting world around them. They are learning social skills, problem solving techniques, self help skills and beginning academics.
Class size is limited to 14.
- Pre-K classes are for children who have already turned four and are eligible for Kindergarten the following year. This class’ curriculum is designed to promote kindergarten readiness by focusing on pre-reading activities, fine motor skills, number and letter recognition.
Class size is limited to 16.
- 5 Year Old Pre-K class is for children with late summer birthdays or just miss the kindergarten age cut off. This class is designed to meet your child's abilities with increased, age-appropriate levels of academic rigor and enrichment opportunities. The program will provide a well-rounded experience to ensure students become confident and fully prepared for their kindergarten school year. The 5K class is open to children who will turn 5 years old before November 1.
Class size is limited to 16.
Field trips are scheduled throughout the year for all classes. Trips have included visits to the fire station, hospital, dentist, farm market, grocery store, gymnastic center, horse farm, and local schools for special events. In addition, a variety of visitors (police officer, firefighter, doctor, nurse, musician, football player) and animals may visit with the children during the year.
At Salem Preschool, we rarely use time-out. It is a punishment that does not teach the child new skills to handle conflicts. Instead, teachers model the words for children that will help them to express their feelings, facilitate face-to-face conversations between children, and help children develop positive solutions to their problems.
At Salem Preschool we follow the PA law that requires children of all ages attending preschool be vaccinated. Before the beginning of the school year be sure your child's immunizations are in compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Health & Allegheny County Guidelines. The state of Pennsylvania requires the following vaccines for children before they enter preschool: diphtheria, tetanus, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis B, polio and chicken pox. A child must have had at least one dose of these vaccinations or risk exclusion.
Exemptions to the school laws for immunizations are: medical reasons, religious beliefs, or philosophical/strong moral or ethical conviction.
There are many opportunities for parents to become involved in the school. Teachers enjoy having parents come in to help in the classroom. Many classes have one parent come in each week to help with special projects. Our annual Ice Cream Social brings families together at the beginning of the school year to meet teachers and visit in the classrooms. On special days such as party days, bike day, bear day, parents are always needed to help the day run smoothly. Classes may have times during the year when parents are invited to join the children for a special treat prepared by the children, parachute games, special songs, or even a favorite story acted out by the children. A shared computer provides another opportunity for parental involvement. Arrival and dismissal at the classroom door encourages parents, teachers, and caregivers to become better acquainted and to share important information at the start or end of the school day.
The school uses a portfolio system as the basis of assessment. Work samples and teacher notes provide helpful information used to assess your child’s progress. Parents receive progress reports twice a year. Conferences will be scheduled at those times.
Together teachers and parents set goals, discuss concerns, and plan strategies for each child’s success. The school also provides free screening for speech, language, and vision.
It is the mission of Salem Preschool to create an environment that not only provides for the protection and safety of our children but also for the employees and volunteers who work with them. Each family receives a 4-digit code to allow access to the school.
Salem Preschool is governed by a board of directors. The board consists of 3 preschool parents, 3 teachers, 3 Salem Church members, the Pastor of Salem Church, the President of the School Board and Preschool Director. The Preschool Board makes general school policy decisions, acts as a liasion with the church, and plans community events and fund-raising activities.
VISITS TO THE SCHOOL
Salem is nestled in a quiet, Wexford neighborhood. We are very proud of our program and teaching staff and invite you to visit! Please call (724) 935-5030 to schedule a time for a visit. Registration begins in January for the following September.