Our preschoolers, naturally, do the most advanced work in literacy, and the older preschoolers who’ve been with the program longer are doing the most comprehensive learning. Remember, though, that this doesn’t come with strict enforcement of rote memorization, testing, homework, or any kind of penalties. The content is relatively rigorous and we keep to schedules, but the teaching has a soft edge, which improves receptivity and retention. We want it to be fun, stimulating, and engaging, without planting the seeds of any negative associations in a kid’s head. If a child has difficulty at any point, there’s no dwelling on it, because he or she is on to something else, lickety-split.
Preschoolers learn sight words, letter sounds, phonics, vowels, consonants, letter blends, and trigraphs, which are groups of three letters that make a sound, such as sph or eau. Outside of Little Newtons, trigraphs are rarely taught before first grade. Our preschool-age children might focus on vowel sounds on Tuesday and Thursday, for example, and then on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, they might study transportation words, such as car, train, bus, boat, and bicycle. The children learn to break down words, and over time, their knowledge base builds and expands.