Morgan Park Academy’s Early Childhood program consists of full-day Pre-K (3), Pre-K (4), Kindergarten and 1st grade. In addition to the lead teacher, Pre-K sections are also staffed by a full-time aide.
The primary learning outcome of the Early Childhood program is to address the whole child in the areas of social, creative, cognitive, physical, and emotional development. Activities and lessons are designed to ensure a developmentally appropriate, child-centered program. The curriculum is teacher-created and responsive to the children’s interests, needs, and individual levels of development.
It is the Academy’s belief that young children learn best through play and meaningful experiences. Structured activities are coupled with free explorations at various learning centers that are visited by the students throughout the day. These centers may include dramatic play, math, literacy, art, science, nature, fine motor, and construction. Centers are often created around interdisciplinary themes or the letter of the week.
Academics are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner. It is important that children at this age develop an experiential background and a love of learning. The language arts curriculum focuses on four main components: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Everyday Math (K-1) which is the basis of the primary math experience, emphasizes that math is a real part of everyday life. The science curriculum allows children to explore and observe the environment around them. The social studies curriculum is designed to help children organize and develop their perception of themselves and their world. Students also take a trimester of French, Spanish and Mandarin, forming the base for their study of world languages throughout their Lower School years.
Character education, including building self-esteem and developing social skills, involves highlighting the theme, The MPA Way (Be Kind and Do Your Best), through role modeling and reinforcing positive social interactions. The wellness program further enhances these themes.