Child Directed and Open Ended Play

Irvington Preschool’s goal is to provide a stimulating and creative learning environment that encourages the development of each childs positive self-image and social skills through both structured and unstructured play experiences in the areas of art, music, science, physical education, dramatic play, and reading and math readiness. To enhance these experiences, the curriculum utilizes community resources in and outside the classroom.


The curriculum is child-directed with learning goals that are related to the expressed interests of the children. The classroom is full of open-ended art activities, sensory opportunities, and plenty of free movement from one learning center to another. Children are encouraged to explore and build upon the activities in the classroom. The class engages in projects with planning and in-depth investigation where children can focus on the aspects of a subject that are meaningful to them.

Learning Centers

The classroom has many learning centers, each one with a specific subject in mind. Current centers include:

Writing Area

Children experiment with writing by using a variety of writing materials such as notebooks, pens, markers, typewriter, stamps, envelopes, and stickers.

Block Center

Children enjoy building creative structures with wooden and plastic blocks of various sizes, shapes and colors. While building, children are exposed to concepts such as patterns, symmetry, balance, and building strategies.


The library is a comfortable area where children find a restful haven for exploring books. The teacher or parent helper may read to a group of interested children, and children may also read their own book, share a book with a friend, or listen to a book on tape. The preschool maintains a children’s library from which children may check out books to take home.

Sensory Tables

Children experience fun tactile learning while playing in one of three sensory tables. Cups, shovels, containers, and toys are used in sand, water, dirt, pebbles, or ice, while play dough, finger paint or shaving cream is molded, spread, or squished. These tables encourage conversations, collaboration, questioning on how the world works, and problem-solving.

Art Table/Play Dough Table

Children create wonderful masterpieces by using material such as paints, markers, clay, pipe cleaners, glue, glitter, and scissors. During this process children are expressing themselves, solving problems, and learning an appreciation for art. The emphasis is on the artistic process, rather than the final product.

Math/Manipulative Center

Children use material such as interlocking plastic blocks, puzzles, beads, and lacing cards to discover early math concepts like size relationships and patterns and develop visual and spacial awareness.

Dramatic Play Center

Today, your child may be a firefighter, tomorrow a cook. With an assortment of hats, costumes, kitchenware, and props such as phones, dolls, puppets, and food, your child can find out what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes.

Science/Discover Center

Children use tools like magnets, magnifying glasses, eye droppers to explore objects such as plants, animals, shells, and leaves. Here students are encouraged to observe, question and predict.

Outdoor Play Area

Children always have access to an outdoor play area, which includes a play structure, sandbox, and small garden.


A Typical Day

The main components of the daily schedule are student-choice time, snack, whole group music or story, and gym. Two parent helpers assist the teacher in the classroom daily.

The daily schedule is as follows:

  1. Arrival/Greeting Time

  2. Morning Meeting (Butterfly Class)

  3. Choice/Activity Time

  4. Snack

  5. Clean-up

  6. Whole group circle

  7. Gym

  8. Lunch

  9. Good-bye song

Caterpillars attend Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30a-1p.

Butterflies attend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:30a-1:30p.

New in 2019/20!

Lunch- Both classes include time for lunch, please send your child with a peanut free lunch each day. Alternate pick up times can be arranged for kiddos who aren’t quite ready for a long morning.