Our Cradle Class Information
The Cradle is designed for children ages 2, 3, 4, and 5 and encourages them to experiment with hands-on activities, learn to interact independently with the world around them, and develop friendships with other children and adults.
Children are placed in classrooms according to their age and developmental abilities. In the 2 & 3 year-old classes, children are grouped so that older and younger children can be with their peer group allowing teachers to best meet the needs of both older and younger students. We now offer 3 classes for 4 year-olds which allows us to group children in a manner that will allow us to facilitate learning and to meet their individual needs.
St. Gabriel’s Cradle is coordinated by a director with experience and training in early childhood education and special education. Our teachers all have experience in working with and teaching young children.
We offer ten classes in our program:
1. Two Year-olds – 24 months by Sept. 1 offered on M/W & T/Th, 8 – 10 children in the class; 2 teachers.
2. 3 Year-old Classes – offered on M/W/F or T/Th; 10-14 children in each class; 2 teachers.
3. 4 Year-old Classes – offered M-Th, 12-16 children in each class.
4. TK: 5 Year-olds – must be 5 years-old by August 31. A transitional preschool year prior to kindergarten; offered M – F; 12 children in the class.
Our Program’s Goals
• To provide a safe, nurturing, child-centered environment for all children, including those who may have special needs.
• To plan and create a program based on the developmental milestones in a young child’s life, using appropriate lessons and activities to foster his or her developmental growth.
• To provide a program that will nurture learning, confidence, and caring.
• To ensure that the children in our program understand their place in God’s family.
Our curriculum is designed to encourage growth and learning across several developmental skill areas with a school readiness component for 4 and 5 year-olds:
• Spiritual Growth- learning to love God and knowing that we are all a part of God’s family.
• Cognitive Development- problem solving, hands-on learning about their world.
• Social Skills- learning to share, play with others, and develop kindness and compassion.
• Speech and Language- providing opportunities for growth in listening and oral expression through story-telling, music and dramatic play.
• Self-help Skills- learning to take care of their personal needs by gaining independence in toileting, feeding, and dressing.
• Gross Motor Skills- opportunities in play to move, crawl, climb, walk and run.
• Fine Motor Skills- learning to use two hands together, and then learning to manipulate toys and materials in play with increasingly refined skill and mastery.
What is Transitional Kindergarten?
In a perfect school setting, it is recognized by both parents and educators that early childhood spans the years between birth and age 8. It is during this time that learning pathways are laid out in a child’s brain. The more varied the opportunities a child is given to learn, the more hands-on the activities presented, and the more experimental in nature those activities are, the greater the ability for a child has to learn and problem solve. In Charlotte, kindergarten in particular, has become very academic and task oriented, thus the prerequisite skills required for success have increased. Many children will acquire these skills between 4 and 5, but not all will, some will still be working on these skills through age 6 and 7. Both sets of children will arrive on the door step of third grade having caught up with each other on the skill sequence chart.
Both our 4 year-old and TK classes are designed to help get children ready for kindergarten.
In the 4’s, children are working toward increasing their attention span so that they can work successfully in both small and large groups, controlling impulsive behaviors, practicing fine motor skills so that they have the coordination and stamina to write and cut, move independently in the classroom, and have the necessary pre-academic and readiness skills to be confident learners.
In TK, 5 year-olds are showing steady progress in these areas but are still working on mastering these skills. This year gives them the gift of time in an environment that respects their developmental progress. Here the breadth of the curriculum is widened encompassing a more in depth language arts & literacy, pre-math, science and social studies curriculum in anticipation of kindergarten, but not duplicating kindergarten.