Child Care with the comforts of Home
Preschool with the merits of Homeschool
Classical Learning Adventures (PV108066)
4186 Bruce Avenue
Billings, MT 59101
Full- and Part-Time Child Care and Preschool
Sunday Care Option (and Sunday-only care option)
Before- and After-School Care
Best Beginnings Scholarships welcomed
CACFP Food Program participant
We'll soon be a STARS LEVEL-2 facility!
Days and Hours of Operation:
Open Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Sundays, 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Closed for the following Holidays 2018-2019 School Year and Summer 2019:
Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day,
New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, and Independence Day
Lindsay Bell-Martinson, M.A., M.Ed.
We offer self-paying families and part-time Best Beginnings Scholarship families12 free "absent-days" each year,
we do not charge for the day if closed,
we have a few monthly payment options,
and we do not charge late fees!
Please call for more information and to set-up a visit!
Child Care with the comforts of Home
Preschool with the merits of Home-school
As a child’s habits of learning and communication begin to form, exposure to what keeps the heart and soul enchanted will positively impact his or her developing mind. Thankfully, we have our world. Past and present, the world is a beautiful place full of sounds, stories, scenery, songs, and discoveries that have either stood the test of time or remain unknown, yet to be found. The world offers us a living museum. That children explore and participate in this museum, our world, is imperative.
Stories, songs, exploration, art, pretend and play – a treasure trove of our world’s marvels and novelties – are indeed the ties that bind our curriculum. Such activities encourage curiosity and nurture a child’s sense of wonder, leading the way to natural, instinctive learning.
At Classical Learning Adventures we found an instructional gem in The Homegrown Preschooler’s curriculum: A Year of Playing Skillfully, written by Kathy H. Lee and Leslie M. Richards. Available for purchase at The Homegrown Preschooler website, the curriculum is also endorsed and sold through the award-winning publishing company, Classical Academic Press. The curriculum holds multiple accolades. Per its description at the Classical Academic Press website, Cathy Duffy, author of 101 Top Homeschool Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, gave it a top-spot 100-spot in her curriculum review. Authors in education, such as Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., Sarah Mackenzie, Rebecca Keliher, and Elizabeth Foss praise the work of Lee and Richards, citing the curriculum’s character-building component, its emphasis on cultivating wisdom and curiosity through imagination and play, and how they are “reclaiming play in early childhood” (Cheryl Swope, M.Ed.). According to Elizabeth Foss, “Everything that is important to the education and development of a young child is here—and it’s beautiful.” (Classical Academic Press, 2019 Page accessed 16 March 2019).
A Year of Playing Skillfully offers a curriculum that is thematically divided into nine months. Each month focuses on a character trait and spells out activities that go hand-in-hand with the month focused on. April, for example, heeds the onset of Spring. The character trait is, appropriately, is Forgiveness - to begin anew. Art and music, language and literacy, science and sensory/fine motor, home and social-emotional, math and manipulatives, and outdoor and gross motor plans revolve around the newness that comes with the Spring. Baby animals play a part in math, literacy, outdoor, art, social-emotional, and science plans; garden activities play a roll in sensory, social, gross and fine motor skill plans. Simply put, the curriculum offers a wealth of ideas to keep children active and engaged while paying tribute to the time we find ourselves in. Additionally, we find how the child – and, ultimately, us – have the opportunity to become a better person to others and ourselves, all while exploring and participating in this beautiful museum we all inhabit: our world. The authors suggest that the teacher (or parent) incorporate formal phonics and math instruction as seen fit, when the child shows that he or she is ready.
Along with the thematic activities and character-building foundation in our primary curriculum, Classical Learning Adventures also holds language, the word, in high esteem. Children will grow older and begin study in other areas, such as math, art, science, and history, for example, but language demands our full attention from the beginning. If a child struggles with reading, writing, speaking, or listening during the preschool years, and if this deficiency proceeds without remedy, other areas of study might suffer. Language serves as the basis of all to come in education; we consistently mind this fact. We sing the “ABC” song multiple times daily, read throughout the day, and play audiobooks even if they fade into background noise during another activity. In the age of text messages where the writer turns three words into three letters, or uses emojis in place of words altogether, there may never have been a time more important than NOW to expose children to the proper written and spoken word.
Children see and work with their names daily: we spend time on the letters in each name to foster recognition in print and in name, and we enunciate the sound each letter produces. If a child’s name contains a C or G that takes the “soft pronunciation” (e.g., Cindy or George, instead of Catherine or Gregory), or if it has a long-vowel sound (James instead of Jim), we focus on the sound that the letter produces in this scenario, but at the preschool level, we teach the “hard” pronunciation as it's the most common pronunciation – c, as in cat; g, as in goat. The s is taught as the s in sun – there’s no need to draw attention to sounds the s makes in words “as” and “rose” at the preschool age. Additionally, only short-vowel sounds are taught. Long-vowel sounds, diphthongs, and a host of letter blends will present themselves to the child in due time.
When children begin learning to read, word recognition becomes necessary in some cases when it lacks a predictable pattern and is difficult to “sound-out.” Hundreds of words out there are taught as “whole words,” or “sight words,” using what's been called the “look-say” method; the child simply memorizes the word based on the way it looks. While this is unavoidable (think of the word the), Classical Learning Adventures teaches from the phonics-based methods detailed in Phonics Pathways (Dolores G. Hiskes): each letter stands as a symbol with a sound attached to it, and multiple symbols and their sounds create words.
Our pre-writing activities include tracing lines that run straight, curve in different directions, and encourage the hand to move in a counter-clockwise formation. This lends itself to future letter formation where proper penmanship requires the hand to predominantly move left. When ready, the child will focus on tracing and/or writing actual letters (and numbers).
Mathematics and early reasoning skills entail counting; number, shape, and color recognition (in form and eventually print); ordering; and matching (and possibly addition). The day, week, and month are also focused on, along with seasons, weather, nature, and animals (as already indicated in A Year of Playing Skillfully).
Children also participate in activities that tune their fine motor skills: cutting and gluing, coloring, using "do-a-dot" markers, stickers, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, foam, etc. We've created many sensory learning tools (numbers, letters, sequences, and patterns) using everything from various fabrics to sandpaper to backyard rocks! I'm devoted to arts and crafts and take pride in the fact that a lot of learning aids we utilize – colorful flashcards, memory games, puzzles, textured lace-up (lace-around) number cards, matching games, beaded counters, various alphabets, etc. – I made myself!
Regarding play, we have blue and pink cardboard castles that cater to hand-puppet shows. Art supplies abound and our current group loves to paint. We have an extensive book collection for all ages, musical instruments for the kids to make music with, blocks, Magformers, and Lincoln Logs for building, nesting toys and buckets, dolls, and many re-released Classic Fisher Price toys that we remember from the 1980s. Our list goes on. We also have a huge back yard that entertains at all ages.
Above all, our curriculum focuses on character. Children will practice their good manners, kindness toward others, and how to be the best they can to themselves.
¿Hablá español? Está bien!