By Jodi D'Angelo
Valley Pre-School (VPS) has a special enrichment program for the four-year-old classes called Catapult. The current session has the exciting theme, Superhero Academy. Each week the class starts with a book depicting superheroes. The children learn the characteristics of superheroes such as some take their names from an animal’s super senses or abilities like spiders. They even learn about everyday heroes such as doctors and nurses.
“Children tend to be more invested in something they are interested in and superhero play is definitely something that interests them,” said Catapult teacher Christie Goldman, who was a teacher’s assistant at VPS and holds a M.S. in Early Childhood Education. “Because of this, students tend to focus more and more easily learn problem-solving and teamwork.”
To attain more knowledge of superheroes, the class is divided into two sections. One half makes a superhero costume such as a mask or shield while the other half of the class does physical and mental challenges associated with superheroes. This includes climbing, jumping on the trampoline and using their legs to swing on the outdoor swings. They also have challenges such as solving clues to save hidden “victims” and going through mazes of webbing to free one.
“It’s important to create an environment that supports having children use their imagination,” Goldman said. “The Super Hero Academy allows the children to use their imagination and we guide them on how to make the play more meaningful and real. Superhero play can make them feel empowered, brave and in control of their world.”
During the last class of the Catapult session the children present their new super hero’s name, the costume they made and what powers they have.
“I am really looking forward for parents and caregivers to see the excitement on the faces of the children when they talk about their new characters because I know all the hard work they have put into the project,” Goldman said.
Other Catapult programs in the past have included a puppetry program, circus, and ballet dance classes. The next session is the very popular Lego-building.
“The Catapult program is just another one of the many ways that shows how special Valley Pre-School is and how it helps children prepare for kindergarten,” Goldman said.
Valley Pre-school is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 school year. For more information please call 860-653-3641 or visit valleypreschoolinfo.org