Smarties Academy is a full-time, year-round group learning environment for children ages six weeks to five years of age. At Smarties we strive to create an environment that is engaging and helps each individual child reach their developmental milestones through age-appropriate curriculum and activities.
Children ages 6 weeks through 4 years receive full Spanish language immersion. All activities are in Spanish, rather than teaching Spanish as a separate subject. In the older pre-K classroom children receive their instruction in Spanish and they practice an early reading program in both English and Spanish in order to prepare them for Kindergarten.
Studies have shown bilingual brains to be better at processing information than those who speak only one language . In the classroom, this can mean bilingual children more easily focus, will develop sharper cognitive skills, and have increased mental flexibility and creativity. Additionally, in this global environment language skills are becoming ever more critical. Children who are exposed to another language from a young age have also been shown to better retain their language skills and are more easily able to attain additional language skills when older.
Smarties Academy thrives on the talents of our teachers, parents, and guests. We invite musicians, artists, and community workers to help us make each child’s experiences at Smarties exciting and memorable. Additionally, parents are always welcome to volunteer to celebrate different holidays, cultures, read stories, or lead a show and tell.
Outdoor play is critical for all children. We make sure that outside play it is not just free time. The outdoors is a continuation of our classroom and there is so much to see and learn! Some of the scheduled outdoor activities that kids love are: bug hunts, walking in the rain and jumping in puddles, making mud pies, planting herbs and vegetables, making nature trails, pretend picnics, recording outdoor sounds, building forts with giant boxes, blowing bubbles, hiding and digging for treasure, playing “follow the rope” and constructing outside art. In the summer months children also take part in outdoor yoga and exercise classes. When the weather is too “grey” to go outside, we still enjoy exercising through Baby Yoga and dance. With a little imagination we can also transform most of our outdoor activities and bring them indoors
The Smarties Academy Infant/Toddler Program is designed for children ages six weeks until approximately two years. The program provides a warm and nurturing environment - one which offers opportunities for discovery and growth for our youngest students.
Teachers focus on providing plenty of love and nurturing as well as offering interactions that lead to the development and mastery of skills, emergent language, sensory skills, and fine and gross motor skills. In addition to full Spanish immersion, Smarties teachers practice infant sign language in the younger children’s classrooms as a means of encouraging children to communicate basic concepts (“more”, “milk”, etc.) before they are physically able to verbalize language.
Teachers feed, rock, hold, and play with infants on demand so that the babies receive the attention and stimulation they need. We have very low teacher-child ratios, which enable us to provide this kind of care.
Our infant/toddler rooms are designed to be warm, safe, and secure. We have colorful objects, mobiles, sensory-tactile materials, and infant-sized furniture which provide an ideal environment for young children. All children participate in outdoor play and adventure at various times throughout the day. Infants and toddlers are also taken outside for walks in the Smarties Academy strollers and the children, even at a very young age, love these explorations.
We use the Creative Curriculum, a flexible, evidence based, early childhood education program as a basis for our program. The materials we use offer the child experiences and opportunities to reach their milestones and master the skills necessary for continued physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive growth. There are a variety of materials available to children and include stacking blocks, interlocking rings, hand instruments, puzzles, dress-up and pretend play toys and equipment, as well as sand/water tables for pouring and splashing.
As with the infant and toddler program Smarties Academy uses the Creative Curriculum, which is a flexible, research-based, early childhood education program. This curriculum has weekly themes where children explore various concepts and ideas and gradually repeat them over the course of the month. Children learn best through recalling!
In the pre-school program children are now ready for more experiences in math and literacy. Our program builds further upon concepts introduced in infancy. Classrooms are equipped with a wide array of materials to refine motor development, which is necessary in the proper development of the hand and arm muscles that will later facilitate writing. Classrooms are interactive and have a variety or workstations to encourage the development of different types of skills and promote a variety of leaning approaches. Skills necessary to prepare children for writing, such as punching, sewing, threading, and cutting are practiced.
Children are increasingly aware of their environment, and our teachers will work with them on reinforcing and supporting toilet training, personal hygiene (children clean their teeth after lunch), socialization, self-help, and following directions.
The Pre-K program builds on the skills developed during the pre-school year. The classroom retains the same design elements, but the activities and work stations are organized to help prepare children for Kindergarten. There is an additional emphasis on independent learning.
Children receive their instruction in Spanish and practice an early reading program in both English and Spanish. They continue to build on the phonetics foundation laid in the pre-school program, and children are encouraged to learn and master new vocabulary and other pre-reading skills. Based on each child’s readiness they are encouraged to read and to learn to write what they are reading. Children engage in activities where they are taught to understand one-to-one correspondence, tallies, the basis of addition and subtraction.
In socialization, children learn more about who they are and their place in world. Many pre-school programs focus on academic readiness but Smarties Academy places equal emphasis on developing the child as a whole and ensuring that they are happy, confident people who can work together as part of a community.