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CDC Preschool: Big Day for PreK

CDC Preschool: Big Day for PreK

Founding Principles:  Big Day for PreK reflects the very best research and teacher practice on how young children learn and grow.

Social-Emotional Development It is important that children develop the behaviors and traits that will enable them to function productively and collaboratively in school and society. Every theme in Big Day for PreK has a social-emotional focus that emphasizes what is essential for helping children be future-ready.

Integrated Learning Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), intentional play, and teacher-led instruction focus on big ideas and guide children in the development of knowledge, skills, and concepts that will prepare them for school success. Big Day for PreK provides learning experiences that integrate all domains, including social-emotional development, oral language, literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and physical development.

Partnership With Families Young children benefit when the school forges a respectful partnership with families and communicates regularly with them about what children are learning and how they are progressing. Big Day for PreK honors children’s families as an integral part of the learning process and helps families extend children’s learning at home

Language Development Every aspect of a child’s day presents an opportunity for language development by modeling and reinforcing conversation, vocabulary, and sentence structures across social and academic settings. Language development is embedded in every component of Big Day for PreK, as are experiences that explicitly target emergent reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Responsive Instruction The goal of PreK is to prepare young children for success in school. Research has identified the key benchmarks that are accurate predictors of future achievement. Continuously monitoring each child’s progress against these benchmarks is critical. The instructional model of Big Day for PreK is based on a reciprocal process with daily observation of the key indicators and daily responsive instruction for individuals and small groups.

Themes Big Day for PreK lessons are organized into eight engaging and child-friendly themes. Each theme includes materials and activities that build knowledge, skills, and concepts that foster integrated learning. The themes broaden as children understand more and more about the world around them.

Weekly and daily lessons build on a social-emotional focus and a knowledge focus that help children learn about themselves and their world as they move toward kindergarten readiness. The flexible content allows teachers to incorporate their own favorite themes into the classroom.

  • Theme 1: Ready for School   
    Social Emotional Focus:  Cooperation
  • Theme 2:  My Family   
    Social Emotional Focus:  Kindness
  • Theme 3:  Our Community   
    Social   Emotional Focus:  Responsibility
  • Theme 4:  Awesome Animals   
    Social Emotional Focus:  Attention
  • Theme 5:  Imagine It, Make It    
    Social Emotional Focus:  Initiative
  • Theme 6:  Growing Up Healthy  
    Social Emotional Focus:  Self-Awareness
  • Theme 7:  Natural All Around Us  
    Social Emotional Focus:  Curiosity
  • Theme 8:  Moving On  
    Social Emotional Focus:  Persistence


“Big Experiences” Launch Learning

Children acquire new knowledge skills and understanding every day through experience, intentional play, teacher guidance, and a rich curriculum that integrates social-emotional, academic, and physical development. Big Experiences Provide Integrated Learning Opportunities Every day in Big Day for PreK is built around three Big Experiences—one or two Circle Time and Story Time lessons—that provide an anchor for conversation, play, and learning. Carefully selected activities ground the entire class in a common Big Experience that integrates learning domains.

Small Groups Build on the Big Experiences to . . .

  • Focus on key predictive skills in emergent literacy—phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge—and mathematics.
  • Promote responsive instruction and provide activities for children who need additional practice or one-to-one instruction.
  • Offer teacher support for reteaching using new examples, simplified procedures, or alternative modalities.

Learning Centers Extend the Big Experiences and . . .

  • Connect to the current theme and week.
  • Provide opportunities for intentional play and independent exploration.
  • Promote development of social-emotional skills, including independent work, sharing with peers, making friends, and resolving conflicts.
  • Have features such as Problem-Solving questions that encourage children to think through solutions, Play Scenarios for encouraging children to engage in pretend play, Ideas for Writing formats, and resources.

Meaningful Conversations that Build Oral Language and Vocabulary  Oral language development is at the heart of Big Day for PreK instruction. Support for meaningful conversations build oral language and vocabulary throughout the day. Routines are designed to foster vocabulary acquisition using theme words, story words, content-area words, and academic language. Shared reading and guided play create opportunities for children to develop and practice their new language skills.

A Rich Literacy Environment Fosters Vocabulary Development From the very first moment children are in class, they are engaged in conversation and encouraged to express themselves verbally, building vocabulary and fluency. Program materials carefully and creatively provide access to the vocabulary of school and beyond.

For Families Big Day Online Family Space is the only bilingual communication tool that offers families a virtual window into their child’s learning and enables all families to extend learning at home. This powerful tool helps engage families and encourages them to take an active role in their child’s education.

Online Family Space

  • Information about current lessons and classroom activities
  • Quick and easy access to Big Day BookFlix
  • Fun With Clifford activities chosen specifically for preschool children
  • Relevant resources about child development and Kindergarten Readiness
  • Downloadable books, resources, and activities
  • All materials in English and Spanish

Ask your teacher for the Big Day for PreK on line log in to access your parent space.

Full Day Preschool Summer Curriculum

This summer thematic units includes pretending, painting, packing for a special trip, making and playing games, blowing bubbles, and asking lots of “why?” questions. Packed full of fun and learning the curriculum:

  • Focuses on key literacy and math skills needed for beginning kindergarten
  • Integrates science, social studies, physical development, and more
  • Includes Conscious Discipline® strategies for social-emotional development