Located within the “Monsignor F. Tomadini campus”, The Early Childhood Center comprises four sections:
PRE-NURSERY (2 to 3 year-olds)
NURSERY 3 (3 to 4 year-olds)
NURSERY 4 (4 to 5 year-olds)
KINDERGARTEN (5 to 6 year-olds)
The early childhood years are among the most formative for a child’s education and therefore ideal for easy and enjoyable English language acquisition. Children who attend the Early Childhood Center acquire a solid and secure background in their Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, and Physical Development. As they move their way up, greater focus is given to Literacy, Mathematics, Expressive Arts and Design, and Understanding of the World. The skills and abilities acquired throughout the Early Childhood years will continue to grow as the children transition into our Elementary and Middle School programs. In ECC, the curriculum is carried out entirely in English; admission to the ECC does not require previous knowledge of the English Language.
Our goal is to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding, by being attentive and sensitive to the needs of every child. A positive and supportive environment helps each child develop a sense of self-esteem and the social skills needed to function in a group setting.
Each section has a teacher and a teaching assistant, and an additional teacher supports learning as needed across classrooms. All staff contribute to create a nurturing and enabling learning environment, making the most of our large and bright classrooms and generous outdoor space.
In line with our school mission, we plan for an instructional program which fosters independence, integrity and individual growth. Through exploration, discovery and hands-on learning, the children learn to take risks within boundaries. Whilst boundaries are consistent throughout the ECC, learning expectations progress as the children grow and develop.
The Udine International School curriculum provides individual and distinct programs in the four ECC classes. Within each class, programs are differentiated according to the age and the stage of development of the students. Teachers use collaborative planning to ensure continuity and alignment between programs.
The Pre-Nursery program focuses on the well-being of the child in their first school experience. Teachers create an environment to foster independence, social and adaptive behaviours. There is a strong emphasis on Communication and Language through stories, songs, nursery rhymes and fingerplays, and on Physical Development, with a balance of fine and gross motor skills. As the year progresses, each child grows in their awareness of themselves and their classmates, their classroom, and of school life with its routines. Focus in the curriculum is given to mark-making activities using a wide variety of tools and materials. Through hands-on activities and exploration, the children are introduced to basic mathematical concepts, such as counting, colours, shape and size.
Our warm and inclusive classroom environment supports the children’s emotional and social development, which is fostered through learning to take turns, to share, to play as part of a group, and to identify and express feelings. The children begin to understand the importance of looking after themselves, their peers and their classroom, and become caring individuals as they learn to look after living things, such as small animals and plants. Communication and Language development progresses through activities such as listening and responding to sounds and stories, understanding and following directions, and a growing ability to communicate in English. Daily opportunities for ‘hands on’ experiences both in the outdoor and indoor environments allow children to develop their motor skills. Great emphasis is given to Pre-Literacy through mark-making opportunities, sound recognition and discrimination games, and building interest in books. Sorting objects, counting and recognition of numbers, shapes and size are only some of the mathematical concepts introduced in Nursery 3. Expressive Arts and Design involves providing children with opportunities to express their ideas and their creativity through art, making music and role-play.
In Nursery 4, play becomes more planned, intentional, and collaborative. Social skills lessons teach the strategies students need to negotiate resources, ask for help and solve problems. In Expressive Arts, students combine tools and materials from all areas of the classroom to create props for their role play, while developing fine motor skills. At circle time, gross motor skills are incorporated into music and movement activities, then reinforced through indoor and outdoor learning. More structured learning takes place in the areas of Phonics, Reading, Writing, and Maths. Daily Phonics sessions focus on blending and segmenting sounds, and students begin making the connections between sounds and letters. Comprehension and vocabulary skills are developed and enriched by Shared Reading lessons. All Language Arts activities cultivate oral language development, so students become more competent at initiating and responding to dialogue in English. Storytelling skills also emerge, as students orally narrate personal experiences, represent them in pictures, and at the end of the year, add some words to their stories. In Maths, we focus on patterns and lines, number sense to 20, and an introduction to shapes and measurement initially through multi-sensory techniques and then consolidated through play. Understanding the World topics, embedded into reading and writing activities, are reinforced through role play, visits from guest speakers and exploration of the local area.
The program is based on the principle that a five-year-old child is enthusiastic, curious and ready for a learning experience within a school setting. It incorporates an appropriate balance of work and play-based learning experiences.The curriculum aims at further developing their Personal, Social and Emotional skills, as well as their academic skills. The children work on resolving conflicts, expressing their emotions, being respectful and responsible individuals as their friendship-making skills grow. Daily opportunities are provided for the children’s development of oral language, listening skills, ability to follow instructions, and comprehension as they listen to a wide variety of stories. Through indoor and outdoor learning experiences, children are provided with the tools to develop their skills in a variety of subjects which comprises: Literacy, Mathematics, Science/Social Studies, Expressive Arts and Design. Focus is given to children’s handwriting and the ability to apply their phonic knowledge to read. The development of mathematical concepts involves logical thinking, object classification, patterns, recognition and use of numbers for problem solving. Science and Social studies are introduced and carried out throughout the year by investigating, exploring the environment, and enhancing their observational skills as they learn about the world we live in. Expressive Arts and Design is an integral part of the curriculum which assists children in learning how to use their creativity and imagination in role-play, music and story making as they use different tools and techniques.