“For the last 5 years, 100% of our parents’ survey responses indicate they would recommend Westminster to their friends. One parent wrote, “Westminster is the best preschool in Austin. Having our four children at Westminster over eleven years has taught us to be better parents, volunteers, and lunch makers. Our children have learned to have good manners, eat healthy, play hard, discover, recognize letters and sounds, count numbers, save water, make friends, recognize butterfly eggs, enjoy music, swing high, get dirty, and love learning!”
Through a caring, loving, and stimulating environment, children have the opportunity for perceptual development. Very early in children’s lives they begin to learn about the world through their five senses: vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. An environment rich in varied materials and experiences stimulates this perceptual growth.
Language skills figure prominently in intellectual development. In a rich, verbal environment, the child’s vocabulary grows, and the ability to use sentences develops. As they become more skilled with words, they learn to put their emotions and intentions into language. They begin to compare and to differentiate and to express abstract ideas. They use words as tools of thought.
Westminster understands the child’s innate drive to learn, to explore, to fill the developing brain’s urgent needs for sensory stimuli, and to satisfy this need through learning experiences. Westminster tries to fulfill this goal by:
- Offering a wide range of books and literacy resources
- Encouraging games of fantasy and role-playing
- Providing art media, music, and movement opportunities
Sharpening the child’s abilities to observe, be attentive, follow directions, and communicate while keeping a sense of wonder.
We use blocks because no other single classroom tool provides as much support for social, literacy, or problem-solving skill development.
Math and Science: space, shape, comparisons, size, order, counting, and gravity
Language and Literacy: labeling, vocabulary, planning, signs, and representation
Physical: fine motor control, spatial orientation, and hand-eye coordination
Social & Emotional: creativity, making choices, initiative, and cooperation, respect
Westminster Presbyterian Day School introduces the child to a new and different world, which results in learning to adjust and conform to others as well as maintaining one’s own freedom as an individual in a group. Westminster Presbyterian Day School helps the child to adjust socially by:
- Encouraging certain behavioral responses and personal characteristics while discouraging others
- Providing the teacher as a role model for imitation and identification
- Encouraging the child to interact with others and to form friendships
- Encouraging the enjoyment of work and play with others
- Encouraging growth in independence, self-confidence, and self-control
To help the child grow physically, Westminster provides a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for experimenting and learning.
Tools and equipment used by the child:
- Playground apparatus for large muscle development: climbing, swinging, riding, and balancing
- Sand pile, wheel toys, large hollow building blocks for large motor coordination
- Accessories to use with block structures in imaginative play
- Housekeeping materials and furnishings for playing house and dramatic play
- Puzzles and manipulative toys for eye-hand coordination
- Art supplies, picture books and simple musical instruments for expressive play and small muscle development
Tools used by the teacher:
- Alternating between quiet and active experiences
- Learning desirable health habits
- Following simple safety rules
- Learning to experience the environment through all the senses.
Emotions are a combination of physical and mental states, which react with each other. They are not moral issues. Children may feel joy, sadness, anxiety, enthusiasm, fear, hunger or delight that may result in laughter, fights, temper tantrums, and all kinds of excitement. While children are expressing emotions, we try to understand why they are acting as they do, redirect them, and if necessary, help them get necessary satisfaction in acceptable ways.
Westminster helps the child grow emotionally by:
- Helping the child see emotions as natural and acceptable
- Helping to direct and channel emotions into constructive use
- Emphasizing prevention instead of punishment
- Understanding and accepting certain limits
- Giving special attention to enhancing each child’s self- esteem
Westminster is a Christian community. The spirit of community is shaped by teachers, church staff, and parents working together both inside and outside the classroom in a cooperative educational effort. The Christian spirit in this community comes from those who understand who Christ is and what the church is about and attempt to communicate their faith through their attitudes and actions as they work with the children. We believe that spiritual growth can be fostered in this Christian community through the loving, caring relationships among our children, their parents, the Day School staff and Church members.
Our goals for Christian education are for children:
- To begin to develop an understanding that God loves them
- To develop, through example and instruction, an awareness of God’s love
- To develop a positive attitude toward the church as they are nurtured in the Christian faith and as they experience the Day School as a Christian community
- To recognize the goodness and beauty of God’s creation, and to learn to respond to God with thankfulness
Christian education is integrated into the curriculum by:
- Relating the children’s learning experiences to their awareness of God’s good creation
- Saying or singing blessings together at meal times
- Singing Christian songs
- Reading Bible stories as well as other stories to teach Christian values
- Church Time in the sanctuary and classroom with Church ministry staff
Parent Education is also important and valued at Westminster. Parents become part of the preschool staff on their “helping day” in the classroom. They are able to observe these master teachers and how they create a premium learning environment for the children. They learn how the teachers engage the children and foster critical development in all age groups. The parents are also invited to a variety of adult education programs including child behaviors, parenting, preparing for Kindergarten, nutrition, CPR, First Aid, and more.