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Hi-Ho Preschool a busy place inside WCS

WORTHINGTON -- "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's off to school we go!" As you travel down the hall of the Worthington Christian School on the north end of the building, you will find Hi-Ho Preschool. It's not quite the setting of Snow White, but we definitely have a lot of coming and going, singing and marching, and caring and sharing with lots of little ones.

As part of our training of young children, we incorporate many different facets of development and education. One of our teaching strategies is using music. Each and every day we sing many songs that not only are fun for the students but also help them learn. Songs include the "Days of the Week, "Count to 100," "Going on a Bear Hunt" and, of course, our Hi-Ho "theme song," which is the prompt to our preschoolers that it is time to pick up and help each other get ready to head for home.

We also work on the large muscle and fine motor skills of each child by allowing them to move and play in the fall and spring outside on the wonderful playground and the rest of the year in the large gym just outside our classroom. "Red Light, Green Light" is the favorite of most of the kids as well as playing with the balls, "Simon Says" and just running around to get the wriggles out.

To enhance our students' craft skills we do many projects using coloring, cutting and gluing. We also encourage our preschoolers to develop their imaginations through many different activities, since the greatest gift of any preschooler is their creativity.

Of course, one of the most obvious goals for our preschoolers is to work on their cognitive abilities. So, each and every day as they enter the room, their first job is to recognize their name. Working on writing their name is another important aspect. At first, students work with dots to connect, and as the year moves on they work to write their name on their own. We also take our time going through the alphabet, as we work to help the preschoolers be able to recognize the letters of the alphabet and challenge them to associate the sound they make with the letter.

Of course, there is one life lesson that cannot be forgotten in a preschooler's development -- their social skills. We strive to see that all of our preschoolers learn to play with all their friends, which in turn can help them to work together. There is so much that takes place in our classroom, and we are really as busy as the seven dwarfs.

Our teaching goals are not limited to classroom structure. We also like to show our preschoolers that learning goes beyond a seat in a room and that learning can take place everywhere. In the fall we travel to either the local apple orchard or Grandpa's Fun Farm, and a trip to the fire station helps teach the kids about fire safety. Moving into winter, we go through Thanksgiving with our very own feast to teach the importance of the holiday. The kids spend the month of December working on songs and finger plays for their Christmas Tea. This is a special time for family to come and see their little stars celebrate the season.

In February we talk about dental health -- with a visit from a dental hygienist -- and celebrate Valentine's Day. Heading into spring, we travel to the hospital for a tour of the facility. We also have a police officer come in and talk about bike safety tips heading into summer, as well as educating the preschoolers to the threat and response of stranger danger. As we close the year we prepare for the closing program, which includes a graduation for the students who will be attending kindergarten in the fall. We want to see our preschoolers be well-adjusted and ready for the move into kindergarten, and so this really tops off all of our goals and work throughout the year.

Seeing our preschoolers move from our room to the more permanent classroom is sometimes sad, but we know that education and growth is an important part of any child's development. So we work according to the licensure of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. We also want to give our best to our preschoolers, so we offer limited class sizes of two- or three-day-a-week class options. We don't live in a fairytale, but we definitely strive to work towards the encouragement, betterment and education of preschool age children in our community. So it's "hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to school we do go."

Upcoming Events: Hi-Ho Open House, 4 to 7 p.m. March 26.