Early Learning Center (PK-K)
The TASIS Portugal Early Learning Center (for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, or Year 1, students) is a state-of-the-art program specializing in nurturing young minds and developing cognitive and social skills.
Guided by caring and attentive teachers, our students begin their learning in a supportive, playful, and engaging community. Our culturally diverse early years program trains our youngest students to become physically and mentally active people prepared for success in school and in life. We know that transitions from early years programs to Kindergarten (Year 1) can be challenging, so we offer lots of outdoor learning and a play-based approach.
(See sample schedules/timetables below)
We believe that effective pedagogy involves a range of techniques, including whole-class and structured group work, guided learning, and individual activity. Montessori teachers give individualized instruction that enables each child to progress through the curriculum at their own pace. The traditional teaching method is designed to teach the whole class and provide focused differentiated activities. At the Early Learning Center (ELC), these two approaches will be linked: we provide focused direct teaching for individuals and groups, as well as whole-class learning opportunities. All teachers will be close observers, assessing individual children's needs and planning next learning steps for each child.
Two Full Time Teachers Per Class
Each class of up to 22 children has two full time teachers plus a learning support assistant. The children benefit from this great blend of teaching experiences and so do the teachers, having ample opportunity to learn from each other and participate regularly in professional development opportunities.
Age-Grouped Classes and Mixed Play
The TASIS Portugal Early Learning Center has separate age-grouped classes starting at age 3 and continuing to age 6. That said, the children have the opportunity to learn and play with children of all ages though our outdoor learning and forest school program. This mixed-age group environment creates an atmosphere in which children learn to help and be helped by others, gain an appreciation for their achievements and the accomplishments of others, and are naturally challenged by their peers.
We believe that children learn by doing and should have the opportunity to move freely around their learning environment. The Early Learning Center is designed to enable children to move among the outdoor learning area, class libraries, and sensory and multi-purpose rooms. Each class contains learning areas for children to navigate and participate in a variety of directed and child-centered learning opportunities. We feel the structure of this learning environment helps children develop organizational and time management skills that lead to independence.
Personal, Social, and Emotional Development
Personal, social, and emotional development activities help grow a child’s character and provide a positive space for young students to express how they feel about, and act in, the world around them.
Through growth mindset and effective lifelong learning opportunities, children begin to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, a positive mindset, and the ability to play cooperatively, taking turns with others.
As part of our daily routine, children work as part of a group or class. They will have opportunities to talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviors and their consequences, and learn that some behaviors are unacceptable.
They will learn to adjust their behaviors to different situations and take changes of routine in stride, while being mindful of the ideas of others.
Students will learn to show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings as they form positive relationships with adults and other children.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World
Developing an understanding of the world enables children to begin understanding other people, the places where they live, and all aspects of the environment. As children learn about the world around them, they discover the past through talking to parents, grandparents, and friends. They become interested in their culture and the cultures around them. Once they start understanding the past, they begin to learn about the ways that other people are different from them, yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas.
Soon, children develop an understanding of the world that includes places and all the things within them, such as trees in the natural environment and roads and traffic in the built environment. Finding out about places begins initially when children learn about their own home and the things nearby, then later as they notice things on journeys to and from home. This awareness is extended by visiting places and finding out about different elements of environments. This aspect also focuses on learning about cause and effect and is developed through conversations with adults and other children about the things they observe.
Our outdoor classroom is an environment that encourages curiosity. Children are exposed to a wide range of resources that help them grow their knowledge about living things and their natural habitats.