How Our Children Are Taught


St. John ELC students are taught using play-based activities based on their natural curiosity and excitement about learning.  Children learn how to care and respect others. All our experienced teachers have an Illinois state teaching license and have graduated from a four-year university with studies in the education of young children. 


Our staff uses developmentally appropriate practice endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  This organization notes that "teachers in high-quality programs build on what your child already knows and can do. They provide materials and experiences that are challenging, but that children can do with a little help. This is called developmentally appropriate practice (DAP)."


Simply put, the use of developmentally appropriate practice means:

  • Teaching based on each child's age and stage of development
  • Helping each child meet goals that are just right for that child
  • Valuing and including each child's family, language, and culture


What Our Children Are Taught

The Every Illinois Child Ready for Kindergarten Initiative states that "a young child's learning in areas such as language and literacy, mathematics, and social and emotional learning, and development of skills such as self-regulation, curiosity, creativity, and perseverance can better prepare the child for success in school." For that reason, St. John uses a curriculum aligned with the Illinois State Early Childhood Learning Standards, Benchmarks, and Goals and with the Illinois State Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS).

Here is a sampling of activities used in the areas of spiritual, cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development:


Learning Area

Sampling of Skills Taught

Sampling of Performance Indicators*


God is love; Growing in Christ

Bible stories; religious art projects; dramatization

Language Arts

Listening, speaking in full sentences; taking turns speaking; recognizing key ideas in stories

Story listening, telling and creating; rhyming stories and songs

Social Studies

Families, people, geography, knowledge of other countries and cultures

Sharing family life and cultural traditions; schoolwide travel unit/activity

Physical Education

Fine and large motor skill development, eye-hand coordination; physical control

Play with manipulative; large motor play daily; games such as Catch and Freeze Dance


Self-regulation; empathy; respect; confidence

Stories; role-playing; reading facial expressions; challenging students while providing support



Hypothesizing, measuring, observing; understanding about the parts and functions of the human body

Nature walks; life cycle of butterflies; observation of specimens from Field Museum; identifying human body parts and functions; the five senses




Precoding through directional and counting games/activities; interactive computer/tablet exploration; interpreting musical sounds

Games (Chutes and Ladders); following and creating a treasure map; using the Internet for listening to music and animal sounds; discovering countries; digital keyboard


Building; understanding how things work

Marble Run; block zoos and castles; Lego spaceships; nanobug paths



Process art allowing for creativity; variety of methods and media

Impression paintings using leaves; puffy glue painting; painting with feathers; 3-D projects



Number sense; categorizing; sets; patterns; geometry; shapes;

more or less

Ordinal counting (1st, 2nd, etc.) while standing in line; categorizing beads; shape games; how many items are missing from a set; dice games


* View our Slide Show to see children engaged in some of these activities.

© 2020 St. John Lutheran Church Darien
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community