Classrooms

BUSY BEES

  • Ages 18 months to 3 years
  • Maximum enrollment of 16 children in two groups of eight: Stripes and Wings
  • Ratio: 1 teacher to 4 children

The Toddler classroom is a very active, energetic, fun-filled place. Behind the scenes teachers strive to create the most developmentally appropriate, loving, learning-filled environment possible. We want your child to develop a desire to learn and to have fun doing it!  

The Busy Bees split into two groups—called Stripes and Wings—in the morning before lunch. Weather permitting, each group has its own circle time, indoor choice time and outdoor play time. The two groups share the same routine, but at opposite times to maximize exchanges between individual children and their two teachers. In addition, because each is a group of its own, the activities may vary due to the children’s interests. Small group play promotes personal contact between children, quiet exploration, and one-to-one attention from teachers. It is easier for children to be heard and understood and it allows for the teachers to gain increased knowledge about each child. All this makes for a more enjoyable time together.

Both Stripes and Wings are very active, inquisitive and highly adventurous groups. Toddlers love to explore and try different things, so each day is always filled with new activities as well as Toddler favorites. Days are spent reading books, singing songs, doing finger plays at Circle Time, sneaking some hugs and cuddle time throughout the day, hanging out in the dramatic play area, building towers, putting together puzzles, going on walks, sensory activities and doing various art projects (which means we sometimes get messy).  

Throughout the course of the day, we take frequent walks around the Georgetown University campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Art projects are varied and diverse, using many forms of media and materials. We’ll even bring things in from our walks to use for our art projects. Above all, we have fun learning and practice managing our emotions so we grow into awesome little humans.

BUTTERCUPS

  • Ages 2½ to 4 years (approximately)
  • Maximum enrollment of 24 children total in two groups of 12: Blossoms and Roots
  • Ratio: 1 teacher to 6 children

In the Buttercup classroom, as at Hoya Kids in general, we believe emergent curricula is the most effective means of working toward our goals for children and teachers. We recognize that all children have different strengths and needs, and we aim to meet each child on his or her level. Additionally, children often do their best learning in different ways. Thus, we provide experiences that are visually-oriented, that challenge all of the senses, impact fine and gross motor development, support social and emotional growth, and much more.

Many parents ask what their child will be learning in Buttercups. For this we have no easy answer because we seldom plan curriculum in advance. Yes, children will learn concepts of numeracy and discuss the letters of the alphabet. However, the primary developmental tasks at this age focus on mastering self-regulation, forming a more complete concept of others, developing self-help skills and coping with increasing autonomy and responsibility. We do our fair share of "pre-academic" activities, but at this stage, we know it is far more important to help children develop pro-social behaviors and problem-solving skills through child-centered play. Without respect for others, creativity and critical thinking, true academic success is hard to come by.

We seek to help children become active and positive members of a learning community and instill a love of learning, rather than have children memorize rote facts or toil over adult-directed projects. While we discuss a range of topics, we ultimately believe that ideas and learning, whether centered on social skills or pre-literacy concepts, are most salient to children when they are presented in a context that is relevant and developmentally appropriate. An emergent curriculum gives teachers the flexibility to tailor activities to the needs of the group or a particular child. It also gives children the power of choice and a sense of contributing to their daily activities and surroundings.

The children design the blueprints for the classroom.  We never know what a curriculum web will look like until it is finished—but we try our best to incorporate all of our learning centers and tap into every child’s learning style. Believe it or not, we have found ways to learn about airplanes, babies, grocery shopping and even horse races (inspired by one child’s excitement over the Kentucky Derby a few years ago) through art, sensory experiences, dramatic play, pre-literacy activities, building blocks, and anything else the children can come up with—and we are always on the lookout for new ideas.

KOALAS

  • Ages 3½ through 5 years (approximately)
  • Maximum enrollment of 18 children total in one group
  • Ratio: 1 teacher to 9 children

In Koalas, as at Hoya Kids overall, we focus on helping each child feel safe, loved, and valued by everyone. Our goals are to help each Koala learn through exploration and hands-on activities, develop a positive self-image, nurture independence, learn problem-solving strategies, resolve conflicts, empathize with classmates, work and play both independently and cooperatively.

We also know from kindergarten teachers that is as important that children be able to follow classroom routines, recognize and control emotions, and respect himself/herself, peers, and property as it is to know some letters or numbers or colors.

Koalas will have plenty of time to explore books in our classroom. This will encourage him/her to obtain a greater understanding of the relationship between written and verbal language, as well as word recognition (not to mention cultivate creative and imaginative play!). Likewise, Koalas will have plenty of time to play outdoors. We have a nice playground located across from the entrance to Hoya Kids and we also use many areas on campus as our extended 'playground.' Both indoors and outside, Koalas will get messy at times and use their senses in discovering their surroundings.

In the Koala classroom the teachers' most important job is to help children feel safe and comfortable to learn, play and explore. We feel it is important to allow all children to navigate their own learning, so that they develop their own interests, learn to ask interesting questions, and nurture their own creativity. Every child learns differently and at an individual pace; we will embrace the diversity in our classroom, celebrating successes as well as meeting challenges together as a team.

We will also help your child value each classmate’s unique characteristic, including his/her own uniqueness. We look forward to getting to know you and your child in Koalas!