Preschool age children are learning to learn and they are very capable of learning a lot in an environment that helps them make meaningful connections across all the domains of development. Children need hands-on learning experiences to develop their skills and knowledge. They learn by doing, and they need time to practice what they are learning, to ask questions, to investigate, and to use what they are learning in everyday activities. We believe in meeting children where they are and giving them the experiences that will enable them to blossom. Most importantly, we recognize that learning needs to be joyful, child-friendly, and play filled.
Our curriculum includes a balanced schedule of free choice and planned activities; quiet time and physical play; group activities and individual attention. The Creative Curriculum is taught in all classrooms implementing a comprehensive approach based on the vital role of “play” in children’s learning. Our classrooms are organized into interest areas and our teachers use a variety of approaches and take an active role in the children’s learning. Academic content is integrated into everyday experiences.
The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum is used in our four year old and transitional kindergarten classrooms. This curriculum is based on the knowledge that children learn best when they are able to manipulate objects, build, sing, and draw. The program uses music, movement, and multisensory manipulatives to teach the core readiness skills including crayon grip, letter and number recognition, number and letter formation and body awareness.
Our Classrooms are designed around learning centers and are equipped for developmentally appropriate play. Our children are encouraged to ponder process and apply experiences. We want them to be curious and eagerly seek information. We encourage risk-taking, problem solving and flexibility. We mold them to become imaginative, creative and inventive. And with your help, we foster persistence, attentiveness and responsibility.We continuously evaluate our classrooms programs, materials and equipment using the ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale) standards. The ECERS program was developed by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Play Centered Learning- Children learn through play. Preschool age children are beginning to become curious and confident in their ability to learn and they enjoy exploration and discovery through play. Play contributes to the building of gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, sensory, social and emotional skills.
Language/Literacy- Helping preschoolers develop a close and enjoyable relationship with books is a vital step towards literacy. Our classrooms have a library center where children can enjoy books on their own, through listening to a story on CD or by curling up on the teacher’s lap and being read to. This “cozy quiet area” is filled with pillows, stuffed animals and puppets. Materials like flannel board stories are available for extending stories that have already been shared in the classroom.
Blocks- When children build with blocks they are learning math concepts such as the number of blocks it takes to fill a space. They are learning about geometric shapes and they are sorting, stacking, comparing sizes and investigating units. In the block center, children have to also work together, share and learn to cooperate.
Dramatic Play- In dramatic play, the children are pretending or making believe and in doing so they are practicing many skills and attempting to understand what happens in their world. The children are learning to cooperate with others and solve problems.Science/Sensory- Children need many safe hands-on opportunities to explore and experiment with their natural world. Collections of natural objects, magnets, magnifying glasses, and living things allow the children to explore color, size, shape, weight and textures. Art- Drawing, painting, pasting, molding and constructing of art resources allow the children to develop their own creations. Individual expression is encouraged as children develop creativity and pride in their finished art work.
Math and Manipulatives- Puzzles, geoboards, unit and attribute blocks, pattern and matching games, beads and counters are just some of the resources that allow our children to have many hands-on opportunities to explore quantity, size and shape.