We encourage children to be enthusiastic, self-confident, and independent learners. Our curriculum respects individual learning styles and changing interests, and promotes growth in all areas of development:
Social: children learn from adults and one another by observation, imitation, and interaction.
Emotional: we provide a safe environment where children can develop pride, self-confidence, independence, self-control, and a positive attitude toward life.
Cognitive: we promote curiosity and help children develop the abilities to solve problems, ask questions, and express their ideas, observations, and feelings.
Physical: activities help children build their small and large muscle skills and feel confident and comfortable with their own bodies.
We use integrated, theme-based activities and conversations to reach our goals. Each child is assessed through several techniques including anecdotal notes, observations by the teacher, and conferences with the children through portfolios.
Children have opportunities to engage in one-on-one activities with the teacher, small group and large group activities, and independent play. Activities for the whole group are for short periods of time and suit the age and ability of the children. Supervised play and small groups predominate.
Our classrooms present open-ended activities so that each child can be challenged at his or her present level of development. Children learn through active, hands-on exploration. Concepts and experiences from one area can be transferred to other learning areas within the classroom and throughout life.
How play progresses toward learning
Math: Children explore a wide variety of materials in order to develop math concepts. Our programs help to develop the skills of patterning, number concepts such as sorting/classifying, etc.
Science: Children observe, solve problems, ask questions, probe, classify, explore, and communicate. Teachers keep children actively involved by changing play: children are exposed to magnets, insect collections, aquariums, balance scales, and more. Children also cook, observing the physical changes of ingredients as they are added to a recipe.
Language Arts: The teachers choose activities that create a foundation for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The child is encouraged to communicate ideas verbally and with writing and pre-writing skills. By listening to a story and talking about what happened, children learn to love books, remember details, and express ideas.
Art: Art materials encourage individual expression and free choice. The children have experiences with finger-paint, easel paint, clay, wax, wood, fabric, and more. Art enables the child to symbolically represent something; this use of symbol is a factor in reading and writing readiness. As children create an art project, they can plan and implement an idea.
Music and Movement: Children sing action songs, skill building songs, folk songs, work songs, and finger plays together. They learn to participate cooperatively in a group. Musical instruments offer experiences with sound and rhythm. Exposure to a variety of music encourages children to develop individual preferences and become aware of music as a form of expression. Creative movement opportunities improve rhythm and encourage creative imagination.
Multiculturalism: Experiences throughout the classroom provide opportunities for children to learn about other cultures. Children prepare food from other places, play games from around the world, sing ethnic or folk songs, read literature about other people, explore a variety of musical instruments, and hear about differing family traditions and holidays.
What children learn from our conversations with them
The way in which we speak to children is tremendously important—it’s a key factor in encouraging them to become successful students. We watch how children play and talk with them to find out how they are developing, what they are thinking, and what they are trying to do. Our words and conversations validate and build upon the child's thinking.
We describe what children have done or learned, such as, "I see that you have created a picture at the easel."
We invite children to use their words to describe their observations, such as, "Tell me how you created this color on your picture."
We help children examine what they have made and look for new possibilities, such as, "You’ve made many walls in this block building; what else does a building need?"
We teach children how to make believe, an important skill for abstract thinking, by asking questions like, "Are you serving muffins at your bakery today?"
We help children look for solutions to a problem, such as, "I see that this container is full. What else could we use to carry this toy?"
We encourage children to explore their own feelings, particularly in situations where emerging social interactions occur. Teachers of younger children use words to identify feelings. Teachers of older children encourage them to stop, identify, generate, evaluate, and plan on how to solve social problems.
Through conversations, we help children to be creative, to solve problems, and to think for themselves.