Children have opportunities for artistic expression and appreciation through art and music. A variety of art media is available daily for creative expression, such as painting, drawing, paper sculpting and play dough. The social studies area is available for role playing, and with a few props and a child’s imagination, the area becomes a grocery store, a post office, a bakery, or another place children choose to bring to life.
LANGUAGE & LITERACY
Children have the desire to construct meaning and to communicate. Neurological readiness also propels this rapid development. In the classroom, children have opportunities for listening to and reading stories and poems; taking field trips; dictating stories; seeing classroom charts and other print in use; talking informally with other children and adults; and experimenting with writing by drawing, copying, and using their own developmental spelling.
Children practice making predictions and testing their hypotheses. We focus on exploring substances and living things found in the natural world including water, air, plants, trees, insects and animals. Our curriculum also offers children many opportunities to experiment with various materials such as magnets, balls and ramps.
Technology offers tremendous educational benefits, including enhanced mathematical thinking, increased creativity, higher scores on tests of critical thinking and problem solving, improved motor skills, and increased language skills. Computer use also enhances a child’s self-concept, and students demonstrate increasing levels of spoken communication and cooperation. Using technology helps children share leadership roles more frequently and develop positive attitudes toward learning.
Children apply scientific and math concepts and use technology to invent, design, and build structures as well as to recreate existing structures. Children are also given many opportunities to experiment and discover mechanical principles.
The hands-on curriculum provided helps the children develop a secure foundation for mathematical thinking. Children are given the opportunity to practice their math skills, including extending patterns and creating new ones, estimating unknown quantities, exploring numerical concepts, and solving mathematical problems.
Each child’s home culture and language are brought into the shared culture of the school and classroom through family involvement, special celebrations, and photos. The contributions of each child’s family and cultural group are recognized and valued. Children learn to respect and appreciate similarities and differences among people. Field trips or visits from community members and family members offer opportunities for children to experience the larger community and people from a variety of backgrounds.
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Social and emotional skills help children communicate, connect with others, resolve conflict, and cope with challenges. In the first years of life children have very self-centered perspectives. As they grow, their egocentric views shift to caring about others. This is the time when children may randomly begin to give hugs to their classmates or go over to a child who is crying and stand with their friend to show support.
With daily large motor experiences, children practice fundamental movement skills that help them develop good self-esteem and physical competence with a developmentally appropriate movement curriculum.
Early childhood teachers use a variety of tools to assess and document children’s development from infancy through pre kindergarten. At least once annually, the teacher completes an Ages and Stages Questionnaire for each child, and requests the family to do so also, to evaluate her or his mastery of developmental milestones. Teachers assess each child’s progress toward meeting age-appropriate cognitive, social/emotional, large/fine motor, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, creative expression, and self-help skills three times annually. The resulting progress reports are shared and discussed with family during formal conferences in fall and spring. Further, teachers prepare documentation panels for each child to show him or her in the process of mastering an important developmental skill or process.