Amanda Marie DiMeo
Interim Head of Preschool
718-599-7300, ext. 5020
Early Childhood Special Education
As a member of the Northside community for seven years, I am honored to be stepping into the role of the Interim Head of Preschool for the 2020-2021 school year. During such a pivotal time for our local and global community, it is imperative that we look to the future, and commit to nurturing our world’s youngest minds. I believe that one’s passion for learning is deeply rooted in quality early childhood experiences, and at Northside, we strive to provide our students with a safe and welcoming environment in which curiosity is cultivated and each child’s unique voice is uplifted.
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, our philosophy is guided by the belief that children are strong and competent individuals who must be active participants in their own growth and learning. When granted trust and freedom, children are capable of constructing their own understanding of the knowledge and competencies necessary to succeed. Having spent time as a professional musician before finding my own path to education, I believe in a community of learners in which imagination and creativity is paramount. We must nurture the whole child, developing social and emotional, language, and cognitive skills through meaningful, play-based experiences.
As a native Brooklynite, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with a dedicated team of educators, in the city that has always been my home. We are united by our shared vision of the magic of early childhood and we invite you to visit and witness it for yourselves.
Our Preschool program is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and values each child’s individuality within the context of a community. Classrooms engage in an emergent curriculum that is co-constructed by the students and the teachers. Classes take part in investigations of materials and topics that are of interest to the children and are chosen based on the teachers’ observations in conjunction with their knowledge of child development, and their objectives for the year. Through both child-directed and teacher-facilitated activities, children are given the opportunity to fully explore the world around them. A multi-sensory approach is used in order to meet the varying learning styles and developmental needs of each child. Children will engage with and express themselves through a variety of media, including, but not limited to, paint, clay, collage, music, dance, storytelling, blocks, natural materials, and recycled materials.
In the Preschool 2s program there is strong focus on transition and becoming part of a group. For many children, this will be their first time in a classroom setting and away from the one-on-one care of a parent or guardian. The teachers’ goal is to help the students begin to understand that they are part of a larger society. Activities and daily routines will help guide children as they learn to share both materials and attention with others. Sensory explorations support student growth through whole body engagement. In the Preschool 3s program teachers will build upon the students developing social skills as they continue to foster a respect for community. As topics of interest emerge in the 3s program, classrooms will delve deeper into explorations. Nurturing the students’ growing abilities and increasing attention spans, questions and theories will be explored from many angles. While time engaging in project work is an important part of the day, all aspects of the preschool schedule are filled with numerous opportunities for skill building and learning. Throughout the preschool experience teachers will use the developmental milestones set forth by the New York State Early Learning Guidelines as well as their own professional experiences, to provide opportunities that help each student meet age appropriate expectations and challenge them accordingly.
Consistency and predictability within the preschool daily schedule is an important factor toward building community and relationships among peers and adults alike. While there is flexibility in routine, the components of the day remain the same from class to class. Each group participates in group conversations at morning assembly, engages in project work, and has opportunity for unstructured gross motor exercise. Ample time is also allotted for meals, play, read-alouds, rest time and bathrooming. Students in the preschool have a rich schedule that is augmented with music and art enrichments.
In young children, music and movement is a fundamental means of self-expression. Every child’s natural interest in music is fostered through emphasis on process (rather than product or performance), creating music, music appreciation and musical games. The joy children feel when they first explore sounds and movement is the foundation for a long musical life. Such core concepts as rhythm, melody, and structure are revealed through games and improvisation. Each year, children revisit the concepts they learned during the previous year, adding new skills and deepening their experiences.
Engaging with art materials is a vital way for children to actively learn about and make sense of their world. Children at the preschool visit a dedicated art studio space and meet with a full time art faculty member to explore methods of creation, materials, and theory often within an art historical context. Through open-ended exploration, children will be guided through process-based investigations to become acquainted with the qualities and properties of materials. This in turn helps children to establish the knowledge and understanding necessary to choose materials that will best suit their artistic goals, be them representational or nonrepresentational, both now and in the future. Topics that emerge from the classrooms are often expanded on and supported by studio work, allowing students to confidently articulate what they are learning through the visual arts. The studio is a wonderful and messy space in which children will become choice-makers as they find their own unique visual voice.
3’s Five Full Day 8:30am-3:00pm
3’s Three Full Day 8:30am-3:00pm
3’s Five Half Day 8:30am-12:00pm
Afterschool and Extended Care
- Preschool 2’s & 3’s Afterschool 3:00pm-4:20pm Monday-Friday
- Preschool 2’s & 3’s Extended Care 4:20-5:30pm Monday-Friday