Preschool Academics

Learning Through Play At MudPie University Preschool, we believe that young children learn best when given the opportunity to discover through play and that nature provides the perfect venue to explore science, math and literacy concepts. Throughout the year, we use the cycles/seasons of nature to guide and enhance learning.

Instruction and Class Size MPU preschool classes are limited to 8 children.  With this 1 to 8 teacher-child ratio, MudPie University (MPU) is able to offer a safe and welcoming environment for families and children. Preschool classes are taught by an Illinois state licensed teacher with an advanced degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance.

Philosophy  Healthy social-emotional development is the core focus of the MPU program. Learning takes place through a combination of child-initiated and teacher-directed activities.  Our curriculum is play-based and children have opportunities to develop a wide variety of skills (including literacy, numeracy, motor, artistic and language skills) through hands-on investigation.   MPU believes that active participation through play is best practice for developing problem-solving skills and love of learning.

Curriculum  MPU uses Learn Every Day:  A Preschool Curriculum. This is a comprehensive curriculum, based on research, written by national experts, and designed so that all children can learn.

  • Aligns/meets Illinois-mandated early childhood standards
  • Incorporates most recent findings in early childhood practices
  • Covers seven domains – Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Prewriting, Cognitive, Language, Self Help, and Personal/Social

Zoo-Phonics  Preschoolers at MudPie U learn to identify letters and letter sounds with Zoo-Phonics.  What is Zoo-Phonics?  Zoo Phonics is a  hands-on, whole brain  approach to learning the alphabet. Children learn the sight, sound and an action for each letter.  Learn more about the Z00-Phonics program here.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Each of STEAM’s five subjects share a common approach and focus. They require gathering and using evidence to create knowledge or solve problems. STEAM learning happens naturally everyday as children explore, play, and try new things. When young children have the opportunity to investigate the world around them, they learn and experiment with new STEAM skills and theories. Research shows there is a positive relationship between early STEAM experiences and future success in school.

Classroom Hydroponic Garden 

Hydroponics in it’s simplest form, is growing plants in water, without soil. When students explore how to grow plants hydroponically, they get a more in depth  understanding of what makes plants grow and where the food they eat comes from.  Children at MudPie U will grow vegetables hydroponically in the classroom throughout the year.

Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly

What’s in the milkweed patch?  Milkweed grown on the property provides plenty of opportunity for children to explore and discover.  One of our favorite things to observe is the transformation of the Monarch from egg to to butterfly.  It’s really amazing to watch! Check out one of our caterpillars in action here.


1000 Hours Outside

Spending time outside is an important part of our program. At MPU we spend time outside daily in all sorts of weather. Outdoor experiences provide an opportunity for children to explore, discover and appreciate the natural world. Outside time keeps kids active, strengthens fine and gross motor movement skills and enables children to test physical limits.