First Friends Preschool features both a 2 year-old and 3 year-old class and is housed in its very own historic brick building. This amazing learning space is flooded in soft, natural light through its many windows. It's a perfect space for active little bodies with curious minds! Additionally, a dedicated outdoor playspace for the preschool is enclosed with a safety fence and features a mud kitchen, huge sandbox, a grassy shaded area for running and exploring, and tree stumps for imaginative play.
First Friends Preschool is a nurturing and stimulating educational environment for young children that helps them navigate the transitions from home life to school life. In addition to our core child-centered curriculum which focuses on supporting each student's learning style and developmental readiness, preschoolers receive instruction in "special" subjects including yoga, music, and Spanish.
Technology instruction is focused on investigating the world through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) activities. These activities are sometimes small group activities led by a teacher, and at other times are learning center activities. While computers and tablets are useful learning tools, we believe, and research supports, that there is value in limiting screen time to allow other skills to develop at this age. Screen time will largely be reserved for parents to use with their preschool children at home. It is in our Pre-K program that students begin limited and guided instructions with chromebooks and desktops in addition to continued work on coding, innovating, and problem solving with "low tech" materials.
Our preschool students are part of our existing "buddy" program in which our older students are each paired with a younger child to work together once per week. Through collaborative learning activities, older buddies help model and encourage emerging literacy and math skills and engage their little friends in meaningful play framed in a healthy, social context. This provides opportunities for our littlest to understand that they are important and valued members of our community who are known and loved by all in the school. Our older students learn leadership, compassion, patience (!), communication skills, and also enjoy rockstar status with the younger ones.
At Westfield Friends School, we believe and teach our children that all lives are precious and important and that it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the natural and physical world around us. As a Friends (Quaker) school, we frame all of our learning and social activities using the Quaker testimonies commonly referred to by the acronym SPICES. These SPICES guide and support our actions and interactions: Simplicity: Focusing on what is important , Peace: Conflict resolution & nonviolence, Integrity: Doing the right thing, Community: Inclusiveness and service to others, Equality: Fairness and Respect, and Stewardship for our belongings, surroundings, animals, plants, and the earth.
Our 8.5 acre campus provides convenient access to nature. As often as possible, science and nature studies are incorporated in our out of doors "classroom" where our students can observe, touch, explore, and appreciate nature. Additionally, we offer an animal studies program STEAM activities in conjunction with PAWS Discovery Farm and the Garden State Discovery Museum.
Of course, we also offer unstructured play time, as we firmly believe that some of the most important learning occurs during fantasy play. It is through this type of individual exploration that children of this age begin to construct meaning of their world.We hope your child will join us for a year of growth, learning, and discovery in our values-based, nurturing preschool program.
Preschool Curriculum Concentrations:
Emerging Literacy Skills
Emerging Mathematics Skills
Science and Nature Studies
Social Studies and Multicultural Awareness
Yoga and Mindfulness
Self Image and Self Awareness
Interpersonal and Problem Solving Skills