Designed for children two years nine months to five years old, the preschool classroom is limited to 20 children and maintains a 1:10 teacher-child ratio. The classroom has a variety of activity areas that encourage creativity in group and individual play. In addition, children participate in teacher-planned, skill-based and free-play activities that center on the children's interests and individual needs.
The preschool curriculum provides the children with various learning activities in clearly defined areas throughout the classroom. Each area combines play with learning. For example, when the children play with blocks they are having fun at the same time that they are learning about sizes and shapes, spatial relationships, math concepts, and problem solving. Other areas in the classroom include dramatic play, table toys, art, reading, music and movement, and cooking. The UMCC teaching team integrates learning concepts with play so the children learn in developmentally appropriate ways in a safe, secure, and fun environment.
Often, a more specific project will take place in one of the permanent play areas, or an area may be transformed for a particular learning experience. One week the dramatic play area may become a rain forest complete with forest canopy and understory with snakes, poison tree frogs, and cheetahs. The work tables in the center of the classroom provide an area for projects like painting, cutting out gingerbread cookies, or planting seeds.