Early Learning Center (PK-K)
The TASIS Portugal Early Learning Center (for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students) is a state-of-the-art program specializing in nurturing young minds and developing cognitive and social skills.
The ELC Advantage
Learning to Read
Learning to read is not a skill that develops naturally—it must be taught explicitly. The first step is learning that words are made up of individual speech sounds, called phonemes. Phonemic awareness is a well-researched predictor of later reading success. At TASIS Portugal, ELC students practice phonological awareness skills in a fun, engaging manner using the Heggerty Curriculum™. The ELC years provide students with a solid foundation in reading skills that helps them become successful readers.
Self-regulation is the ability to attend to and adjust emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It is a good predictor of academic and social success, helping students pay attention in class and get along with teachers and friends. At TASIS Portugal, during the ELC years, we focus on building a strong foundation in social-emotional learning, which includes self-regulation (following the ELLI framework), mindfulness, and a growth mindset. For students who require additional social-emotional support, we have a dedicated pastoral team that includes an experienced school counselor.
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
Besides offering a “typical” array of activities designed to develop young students’ fine motor skills, such as building blocks, coloring, painting, and playdough, we also place a strong emphasis on handwriting skills, which remain important even in our high-tech age. We use Handwriting Without Tears™, a curriculum designed by an occupational therapist, to instill handwriting confidence in young learners. In addition to fine motor skill development, we also focus on gross motor skills. Students practice these skills during physical education classes, dance lessons, and yoga in class. There is a wide array of active after-school activities available to them, and they regularly explore the outdoors during forest school outings.
For students who are not yet fluent in English, the ELC provides an English immersion environment and a head start in an international school community. Multilingual co-teachers and assistants ensure rapid English language development. For students who may still require English support upon entering Elementary School, we have a dedicated student support team that works efficiently and effectively to help students achieve proficiency, typically within two years on average.
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.