The Enrichment Class Program at Wichita Friends School is designed to stimulate children’s intellect, emotions and physical development.
Music – During music, we use the joy and the multi-tasking nature of singing and rhythm to help our children learn and grow. In addition to the fun of singing together, our weekly music class involves listening, remembering and pronouncing words, understanding vocabulary, words, moving parts of the body in rhythm, and feeling different emotions with each song. These interlinked tasks of brain and body help children grow and develop in their early formative years.
Sign Language – In our WFS Sign Language class, children are taught to use sign to represent English vocabulary, letters and numbers as they speak or sing. Using sign supports concepts and reinforces meanings, engaging kinesthetic participation of busy little bodies — connecting young minds to young bodies. An added benefit is that kids begin to understand and produce language used by those who use sign language as their primary means of communication.
Movement – Purposeful and coordinated movement enhances physical, cognitive and social development during early and young childhood years. WFS movement classes take place in our multipurpose room and feel a lot like play. Within this “play” structure, children move large muscles in specific patterns, follow instructions about how to move, imagine and discover solutions to movement challenges and explore their motor skills, balance and self-confidence in a safe and affirming environment.
Art – In our WFS Art enrichment class, children enjoy creating and expressing themselves in their creations. Art, for young children, is play, and play is where children excel in expertise! Art class also involves making decisions, experimenting with something new, imagining something different. We use a variety of materials, we follow instructions, we try our own ideas, and we discover how colors and textures make us feel. In their art creations, young children record thoughts, ideas and feelings for which they may not yet have words, but which are communicated well through feelings and intuition.
Board Games – Properly designed team-based board games not only inspire learning, they encourage communication, collaboration and risk taking. Children build self-confidence as they collaborate with others. Board games also build communication and relationship skills as children work together to answer questions and solve problems, often discovering that together they can figure out things they thought they didn’t know. As young children are developing through their early years of “me-centeredness”, playing board games helps them move toward collaboration and awareness of others.
Godly Play/Faith & PLay — Godly Play creates space for children to connect the Godly with the playfulness and wonder of childhood. In Godly Play, we have stories of how God created everything; stories of Abraham & Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Noah, Joseph, Moses and Joshua; stories of Jesus’ birth and life and His parables, and stories of people of faith who let God shine in their lives. The poetic, non-doctrinal language of Godly Play and Faith & Play stories is carefully designed to help children discover their own level of understanding and meaning.
Engineering – In our Engineering classes we create, experiment and problem-solve. Children figure out “what works” and “what doesn’t work” — how buildings and bridges stand up; how machines move, what floats in water and what doesn’t, what shapes and angles have the most strength. Since our WFS engineering class is totally “hands-on”, children exercise curiosity at their own individual comfort level and gain confidence in their ability to create, design and problem-solve.
Library – Our WFS library has over 4,000 books – picture books, early readers, juvenile fiction, as well as non-fiction subjects like animals, weather, reptiles & amphibians, dinosaurs, bugs & butterflies, how-to-draw, Kansas, history, and many more categories. Children spend time in the library each week, browsing through different kinds of books, discovering new concepts and finding books they want to “check out” to their classroom. Being surrounded by books is a fun and stimulating experience for young children.
Spanish – Young children’s brains are ready to embrace a foreign language. Studying a second language in early years has been linked to increased performance in verbal communication, mathematical development and reasoning skills. Discovering a second language also increases young children’s cultural awareness and understanding of differences. We are pleased to offer an introduction to Spanish vocabulary and customs as one of our enrichment classes.
Worship – Although not a “class,” our Monday morning worship time is a valuable enrichment for everyone. Our Worship focuses on affirming the presence of God in everyone and in all of God’s creation. We explore God’s presence through children’s stories and through the Quaker SPICES — Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship. We also spend time listening quietly (for 1 or 2 minutes for 3-4-5 year olds) to the still, gentle voice of God inside each of us. Our time of worship together centers us in respect and love.