WIA accepts students into our dual-language instructional Early Childhood Education program as early as 3 years old. Additionally the child must already be potty-trained and able to sit still (calmly and with focused attention) for at least twenty minutes. We are able to accommodate both Native English Speaking (NES) children as well as English Language Learners (ELLs) from multiple ethnic backgrounds. Children are taught to read write and speak in both the English and Arabic languages.
A major emphasis is put on the child developing independence, and a character of sharing, caring for others and for the environment. We promote students towards a path of self-control, individual choice, self-direction and problem-solving, rather than a totally teacher-controlled classroom.
Our WIA early childhood teachers are highly trained in traditional developmental and Montessori methods for teaching reading, math and other basic academic skills. Teachers are continually learning supplementary methods and creating original, unique instructional materials at the appropriate level for 3, 4, and 5+ year old students, not only in language areas, but in science, geography and other cultural subjects.
The daily schedule starts with a “Circle Time” or morning meeting that begins at 8:10 AM. This is the time that the teachers present new materials, lessons and activities, and children learn daily routines like checking the weather, the calendar, and some songs and finger plays. This is the critical part of the day, so parents must drop their children at school on time to receive the full benefit.
Our program includes block periods to learn Islamic Studies, Qur’an, Arabic and physical activities both indoors and outdoors (including gardening in nice weather) plus art projects related to content. The youngest children have a nap time after lunch, while Kindergarten students learn new skills based on the Virginia SOL’s for their level.
Pre-K and Kindergarten are both “language rich” environments where the children are exposed to dual language games, storybooks, pre-writing, dramatic play, small-motor activities, vocabulary building and assessment of comprehension of words, phrases and sentences.
By the end of our Kindergarten program at WIA, most of the children are reading English at or way above grade level. Some are already reading “chapter books” in English.
The details of our WIA Early Childhood Islamic Montessori curriculum are described fully on this page. (link).