Preschool, PreK & Kindergarten – Philosophy and Mission

Why arts-integration?

Arts Integrated learning is much more than just exposure to different forms of art while at school. Arts-Integration is an approach to teaching and learning in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. At SSC, we use various forms of art (drama, music, storytelling, poetry, visual arts, and creative movement) as primary pathways to learning. Through the arts, young children engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area. By doing so, they learn key early childhood concepts, allowing them to creatively problem solve and reach benchmarks by using his/her own individual style in which he/she learns best. We are equipping our students with the tools necessary to be successful in the 21st century and creating a sense of community through rich art-integrated lessons and activities. Differences are respected and celebrated as each child freely expresses his or her own self.

Philosophy and Mission Statement from Rachel Gellis, SSC Preschool, PreK, K Director

The South Shore Conservatory Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten is an arts-integrated early childhood learning center housed in a community school for the arts. Arts Integrated learning is much more than just exposure to different forms of art while at school. Arts-Integration is an approach to teaching and learning in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. At SSC, we use various forms of art (drama, music, storytelling, poetry, visual arts, and creative movement) as primary pathways to learning. Through the arts, young children engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area. By doing so, they learn key early childhood concepts, allowing them to creatively problem solve and reach benchmarks by using his/her own individual style in which he/she learns best. We are equipping our students with the tools necessary to be successful in the 21st century and creating a sense of community through rich art-integrated lessons and activities. Differences are respected and celebrated as each child freely expresses his or her own self. We use the arts to connect children to the material they are learning, making it much more meaningful and purposeful. We strive to provide young students with positive learning experiences early in their lives to foster their love of learning so they continue on as successful students throughout their educational journey.

In addition to the rich arts-integration received daily in the classroom, students have the opportunity to venture outside of their classroom to visit an art specialist each day. These specialists include a percussion/drum specialist, multiple music specialists, yoga specialist, creative movement specialist, visual arts specialist, drama specialist, and literacy/reading specialists. The classroom teachers accompany these students to these art specialist sessions so they too are learning artistic concepts to bring back into the classroom and reinforce. Teachers and specialists maintain a close working relationship to coordinate curriculum topics and interests.

It is our mission at the SSC Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten to raise the next generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective community members. We teach our students to think out of the box and encourage them to express themselves individually as well as a member of a larger community. Through arts-integration, we are giving our children the tools to understand that there are many ways to learn and there is no one right to learn. The more ways we teach students to learn, the more likely learning is to occur.

In addition, the SSC Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten works towards building sound socialization skills, good self-esteem, and independent thinking. “Freedom within structure” is one way we achieve this goal. Children participate in a free-choice environment structured carefully by the teachers each day to foster these skills. Center are changed/rotated daily and children are encouraged to try new areas. They are accomplished through participation in the art-integrated activities as well as traditional preschool/kindergarten activities like; manipulative structure design, dramatic play, block building, water/sand play, woodworking, language arts physical education and movement activities, life skill play, story time, snack time, show and tell, outdoor play with nature, calendar/weather, and much more.

We have an open-door policy for parents of all students enrolled in our Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten program. At any time during the year, parents are welcome to drop-in, visit, or join us for an activity. Teach us a song! Read us a story! Watch us do yoga! The teachers welcome ideas, suggestions, questions, and comments, as we like to learn also! We strive to be supportive and valuable resource for our parents and children.

Rachel Gellis
Director, SSC Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten