Preschool is where learning begins for 3- and 4-year-old students at University School of Milwaukee. As our very youngest learners, our prekindergarten students are part of a community where social-emotional development and age-appropriate academic learning are combined with personal attention and care to support child development. Our teachers introduce language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies concepts daily as part of play and social interactions.
Our prekindergartners are also provided with countless opportunities to begin to understand their roles in the larger world, and the growth they experience in confidence and pride is evident throughout the school year. Guided by their teachers and peer interactions, both within the classroom and beyond, prekindergarten students learn and grow individually while exploring cooperative play and interaction with classmates. With both full-day and morning-only programs, families are provided with options that best fit the start of their child’s educational journey.
The prekindergarten curriculum in USM’s Preschool combines core subjects integrated into the school day as well as additional classes taught by specialist instructors. Visual arts, led by the classroom teacher, are an important part of the prekindergarten classroom experience.
Subject-area student outcomes are an important part of how our curriculum is developed and how our students are evaluated. The following lists, broken out by subject area, provide some examples of student outcomes for the end of the prekindergarten year.
Our prekindergarten children enjoy the benefits of having USM’s entire 125-acre campus to explore throughout the year. In the main building, the children travel to the theatre to watch older USM children act and perform, to the art gallery to view student and faculty installations, to the greenhouse to earn their green thumbs, and to other classrooms and makerspaces to check out what the “big kids” are learning. When outside, they enjoy an outdoor classroom featuring a dry stream, as well as various nature trails, wooded areas, gardens, and ponds to explore.
Prekindergarten teachers also regularly welcome older children, teachers, and other special guests to the Preschool to bring even more adventures and opportunities to learn right to the classroom. And there is no limit to the number of fun, new places to find to pack up snacks and head off on a picnic. The exploration and study of birds is a big part of prekindergarten, and each year families join them for a birdhouse painting night, with the final products then hung around campus for all to enjoy. At the end of the year, children—along with their parents or other special guests—celebrate a wonderful school year with a memorable trip to Doctor’s Park in nearby Fox Point to collect rocks, sing songs, share gifts, and enjoy special treats.