Our curriculum is developmentally appropriate, emergent, and constructive. This means that our curriculum:
- Is appropriate to the developmental stage of each child.
- Is concerned with the process of learning rather than the product.
- Allows the child to set his/her own learning pace.
- Builds on the childs own interests and abilities.
- Encourages the child to question, hypothesize, experiment, discover, solve problems and develop cognitive processes.
- Recognizes the value of play in a childs cognitive, so cial, emotional, and physical development.
Classroom themes, projects and activities often emerge from the children's interests or from events in the life of the classroom or larger community. For example, in September Sitkas streams are filled with salmon and the woods are full of ripe berries, so we venture outdoors for hands-on experience, then bring these themes back into the classroom with related stories, drama, science explorations, cooking projects, and art.
The children's interest in fire fighting led to a trip to the fire station.
Children are encouraged to construct their own ideas and theories about their world through play, experimentation, and social interaction rather than simply receiving the information from adults.
For example, children might explore the properties of weight and motion by constructing ramps and rolling objects; they learn much more through this hands-on experience than they would from an adult's verbal explanation or demonstration of these principles. Teachers observe and plan carefully to provoke, enhance and extend children's learning.
Play is the developmental task of children through which children come to know the world and their place in it. Through play and planned activities, children experiment, problem-solve, develop social skills, and creatively construct knowledge that is the basis for further learning.
Through our rich curriculum, stimulating classroom environments, and creative play opportunities children gain the skills needed for more formal learning in kindergarten and beyond. Our curriculum emphasizes the process of learning rather than the product.
For example, we are more interested that children experience a rich, interesting and fun literary environment than prompting them to recite the alphabet. Our goal is to allow children to develop skills and experience success as a natural extension of their inner curiosity and joy in learning.
We strongly support the development of language with a curriculum and environment rich with opportunity. The daily schedule and physical environment are planned to encourage small-group and one-on-one interactions, which are recognized as best for language development. Exposure to high quality children’s literature is woven throughout the curriculum, and language and literacy are integrated into all activities.
The daily classroom schedules include large blocks of time in which children, with support from teachers, make their own choices about how to use their time. Children are given ample uninterrupted time to fully engage in the chosen activity.
The preschool day also includes group time. Teachers join with the children in song, dance, fingerplays, drama, and games. Teachers then engage children in small reading and story groups. Group time concludes with a shared family-style nutritious snack.
9:00 - 9:15 a.m. (1:00 - 1:15 P.M.) Circle Time
The day begins with a brief but important community gathering. Children join together with teachers as a large group for songs, dance, movement, fingerplays, and group sharing. Teachers introduce the planned activities for the day.
9:15 – 11:10 AM (1:15 – 3:10 PM) Free Choice
After Circle Time children are free to choose from planned activities, or may delve into creative activities of their own design.
Planned activities during this time may include cooking projects, art projects, and science experiments. Children also have free access to books, writing supplies, blocks, puzzles and games, construction toys, props for dramatic play, dress-up and housekeeping supplies, art materials, and dolls. Children may also engage in outside play.
10:15-10:45 AM (2:15 – 2:45 PM) Snack Time
Children take a break from their activities for a small group family-style snack. Meal-time social skills, nutrition, independence and the joy of sharing good food are emphasized.
11:10 - 11:30 a.m. (3:10 - 3:30 p.m.) Story Time
Small groups of children join individual teachers for story time. Teachers and children inmmerse themselves in good books, then extend the stories through related drama, artwork, and games.
THE PRESCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
The school environment plays a crucial role in the learning/teaching process. Because we recognize that small group activities are best for development of language, literacy, and social skills, the rooms are thoughtfully designed and prepared by the teachers to encourage small group pockets of play where social learning, language, and constructive play flourish.
We believe the children should have opportunities to see themselves reflected in the school environment. We document and display childrens school experiences by creating wall displays of photos and artwork accompanied by childrens stories of the experience. Photo albums are on prominent display. Each child has a portfolio filled with artwork, photos, and childrens stories. The environment is designed to be stimulating without overloading the senses, and careful attention is paid to building acoustics.
Specific aspects of the school environment include:
THE LOFT ROOM This room is designed to encourage dramatic play and also allows for large motor skill development. The room has two lofts that lend themselves to amazing creative play. One has a built-in “puppet theatre” that at times becomes a post office, storefront., or…?
THE ART ROOM This room is the scene for planned and spontaneous artistic expression. The large wall easel is supplied with paints, a variety of painting tools, chalks, and collage materials. Shelves display a variety of art supplies. Children’s work is displayed prominently here and throughout the school and is often accompanied by the child’s story of the artwork.
THE PUZZLE ROOM Shelves display puzzles, construction toys, and games. A sensory table is filled with a variety of materials for exploration, such as sand, cornmeal, dry beans, marbles, or rice, and containers, small toys, and tools for further exploration with the material.
READING AND WRITING AREAS Books and writing materials are readily accessible in all areas of the preschool. Teachers support the inclusion of reading and writing activities in a wide variety of preschool experiences.
THE BLOCK AREA Our extensive set of large wooden blocks is housed on shelves labeled with shapes to allow for easy organization. Adjacent shelves house a variety of people, animals, cars and other props that support creative extensions of the block play.
DRESS-UP AND HOUSEKEEPING AREA Our wonderful play kitchen area and extensive dress-up collection support rich dramatic play and exploration.
THE PLAYGROUND Our playground is nestled in the wonderful Pioneer Home Gardens. Children have opportunities to build, garden, dig, ride trikes, climb, slide, play with balls, and run, run, run!