At Hatch, we create products to develop the critical skills preschoolers need to master to be successful in kindergarten. Current education research identifies emergent literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and social-emotional skills as essential for school readiness. While physical, social-emotional and cognitive functioning make up the three primary developmental domains, educators know these are interrelated in complex ways. All of the domains require attention because each influences the other. Hatch products focus on all domains and the links between them, a requirement for high quality learning and development.
A high-quality early education experience means including more academic areas such as letters and counting, as well as helping to build traits like being inquisitive, persistent, and independent. It is possible to motivate young children to learn concepts on their level by building on their natural eagerness to learn. Hatch products combine child-directed discovery along with direct teacher instruction on basic pre-academic skills such as vocabulary, language, and math.
Learning occurs best in a supportive social context. Cognitive readiness can be achieved in ways that support the whole child. Teacher scaffolding needs to adjust and adapt to each child’s competencies. Play supports all domains of children’s learning. Hatch products help preschool teachers become “multi-faceted” by organizing the environment; facilitating, managing and teaching children as they play and explore with materials and activities. Child-directed learning adds to the teacher-directed activities. This leads to a successful balance for optimal learning.
As pre-Kindergarten children are exposed to written language, they develop an understanding of print, letter naming and phonemic awareness. It is important for preschoolers to build vocabularies that tell them about the world. They learn how to use language to form relationships, develop categories and solve problems.
Experiences with oral language allow for the development of listening comprehension, vocabulary, and language competence. Using sounds in words to process spoken language is essential for successful reading. Young children must become sensitive to hearing and using sounds in words.
Knowing that letters make up words and being able to connect the letter with its sound forms another important foundation for successful reading; along with having a basic understanding of book and print concepts.
Hatch products take a balanced approach to emergent literacy. Our products combine language- and literature-rich activities that are connected to whole language acquisition. We believe the focus should be on increasing meaning, understanding and promoting a positive attitude toward language. With clear and direct instruction around skills needed for the development of fluency, children move more smoothly along to becoming proficient in reading.
During early childhood, children naturally sort, count, find patterns, compare quantities, and move through space. Young children also exhibit a noteworthy capacity to formulate, represent, and solve simple mathematical problems and to reason and explain their mathematical activities. These activities are the beginnings of foundational skills that will help children successfully learn math in school. Unfortunately, in many cases in early childhood settings, children get very little mathematics instruction.
Beginning math skills build an important foundation for more complex concepts later in life. Young children learn that numbers show how many, describe order and are used to measure. For geometry, early concepts mean recognizing shapes, directions, and locations; and their relationships. Classification and using information to ask and answer questions are early data analyses concepts. Preschoolers can have exposure to algebra as they learn about patterns; and that patterns represent relationships.
Hatch products introduce these math concepts through activities that apply the basics of math to children’s everyday lives, in a developmentally appropriate sequence:
- Free exploration of materials (becoming aware of and describing attributes and properties of materials),
- Spatial relationships (vocabulary for position and direction),
- Classification (sorting items into a specified position or set based on attributes),
- Patterning (arranging items in a specific sequence based on attributes),
- One-to-one correspondence (matching items) and set comparison,
- Ordering (arranging items by an attribute of size), and
- Numeration (understanding the concept of number)
Young children are extremely interested in learning about the world around them. Learning best from experiences that are personal, they are active and intrinsically motivated. Children thrive when they are allowed to have choices and participate with other people in activities that cultivate solving problems through experimentation.
The Hatch approach to science with young children is action-oriented and inquiry-based. We believe that for the early childhood period, having teachers focus on process is actually more important than preschoolers knowing a large number of science facts .
Hatch Products provide an environment in the early childhood classroom that supports science learning for preschoolers with a selection of appealing materials for exploration and manipulation. We develop activities that allow adequate time for children to formulate and test their ideas and a social atmosphere that conveys that questioning and experimenting.
The study of how people live, work, get along with one another, find solutions to problems, and influence and are influenced by their social and physical environment begins with children developing relationships with the important people in their lives, learning to communicate and exploration of their immediate surroundings.
Eventually children understand more about their larger community, then gradually more about their expanding community and in due course come to view themselves as citizens in a society. As they embark on this journey, young children are developing a beginning awareness that can be connected to the main social studies content areas such as geography, civics, economics and history.
Hatch Products expose children to social studies by presenting activities in the context of relevant situations. Our products support children’s active participation in society:
- Build on what children currently know. For instance, after studying neighborhood and community, move on to the home state.
- Develop concepts and processes of social studies instead of presenting facts in isolation. For example, create visual maps illustrating the classroom, the school, and/or community.
- Offer hands-on activities. Let children draw a timeline of when each of them was born or make a chart to show how many brothers and sisters each child has.
- Draw on relevant social studies all through the year. Have discussions with the children about class problems, revising class rules as a result, or have children think about the concept of scarcity with respect to items or activities from which they want to choose.
- Make the most of child interests. Reflect on why the outdoor city pool is closed to swimmers in the winter or what makes an airplane stay in the sky.
Social and Emotional
Positive social-emotional development engages children in learning which is important for cognitive growth and academic achievement; and promotes positive peer relationships. Both, in turn, ease adjustment in early childhood. Social-emotional skills buffer children against risk and promote mental health. Children who fail to gain these competencies during preschool more often experience learning problems and academic delays.
To engage and participate successfully in learning experiences and to build positive attitudes about school, Hatch products help young children acquire age-appropriate emotional security and social skills. Two key areas are the ability to self-regulate and to relate well with others, both adults and peers. Among others, skills that facilitate success in early schooling include being able to identify emotions accurately in themselves and others, coping skills, pro-social skills for interactions to be positive, managing negative emotions, enjoying learning, and being able to work somewhat independently.
Hatch products promote positive outcomes:
- Create an environment that promotes every child feeling good about coming to school,
- Design an environment that promotes child engagement,
- Focus on teaching children expectations,
- Teach skills that children can use in place of challenging behaviors, and
- Provide opportunities for children to develop critical social/emotional skills using the backdrop of cognition in a variety of familiar as well as new contexts and environments.
We provide children with challenging tasks and meaningful activities that can be mastered, and chaperone these efforts with support and encouragement to ensure the development of a robust sense of self. We believe that students who have been verbally encouraged to set their own goals experience increases in confidence, competence, and commitment to attain those goals. Hatch products help define a high quality preschool experience that fosters the growth of key social-emotional skills by tying together specific teaching practices with research-based curriculum materials.