Early childhood education practice and research have found that a child’s emotional, social, and cognitive development are interdependent. Our program encourages positive peer and social relations, development of critical thinking skills, and facilitates the development of self-esteem by fostering independence and problem-solving skills by providing children with opportunities to experiment, explore, question and play.
Our curriculum is both emergent and constructive. This means that classroom themes, projects and activities often emerge from the children’s interests or from events in the classroom day or community. We further believe that children construct their knowledge rather than merely receiving it from adults. Children have questions and things that they wonder about. Adults strive to provide the means for children to discover the answers.
Children construct their own ideas and theories about their world through play and social interaction, and through experimentation and exploration. The teacher observes and plans carefully to enhance and extend children’s learning. The teacher generally plans for a week at a time. The teacher welcomes parents to contribute to the curriculum by suggesting activities or by facilitating projects while Parent Helping. The teacher will share the classroom activities and emergent themes with our community through monthly newsletters as well as through occasional documentation—pictures and words—that will allow everyone to follow the classroom events as well as the learning process. Throughout the curriculum, children’s emerging interests in writing, reading and numbers are strongly supported and encouraged.
If the group has a particular interest at the time, the teacher will plan activities and group gatherings around that theme. The teacher may introduce songs, read books, present pictures, and provide materials to support the children’s interest for as long as it is an interest. Sometimes this may mean a day or two; sometimes the group may become engrossed for a longer period of time.
The classroom is set up with learning centers as well as planned, adult-directed activities. Learning centers include arts, language arts, math & manipulatives, building and construction, science, and dramatic play. The classroom is organized with materials available at children’s level to encourage maximum independence. The daily classroom schedule includes large blocks of time in which children, with support from adults, make their own choices about how to use their time.
Each day, the following are typically provided:
- An art activity-almost always process, not product oriented,
- An activity that supports collaboration, such as a game or puzzle,
- Something tactile for manipulation, i.e. playdough, flubber, ooblech, etc.
- A logical-mathematical activity, i.e. manipulatives for weighing, sorting, etc.
- A literacy activity, i.e. story writing, pattern building, shape tracing, etc
- Something in the sensory-table to scoop, pour, strain, etc.
- Some sort of gross motor activity, i.e. hopscotch, beanbag toss, fishing, etc.
Most activities are self-guided, with some requiring adult-assistance, such as a messy art projects, cooking projects, games with rules, etc. These activities are in addition to the materials available in the room on a daily basis. In addition, we recognize that some days, things just don’t go according to plan. The teacher’s agenda (or lesson plans) are pointless if children have no interest in a planned activity. I accept this and am willing to be flexible in order to provide an activity that the children want to do that day. I also feel it is important to express that in all of my planning, it is vital to us to present unbiased materials and adequate supplies to ensure the comfort and success of anyone who may participate in an activity.
In addition to attending to the developmental needs of the child in areas of social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth, I am also committed to incorporating non-sexist, multi-cultural, and anti-bias learning experiences into our daily curriculum. I continually strive to provide materials, activities and an environment that reflect a respect for, and celebration of, diversity in race and ethnicity, physical appearance and ability, and family composition and lifestyle. My goal is for every child and family to feel welcomed and supported in our school.
- Fosters each child’s sense of self-identity
- Fosters acceptance of diversity among people by allowing children to ask about and explore differences
- Encourages critical thinking about bias by helping children to identify acts of discrimination and stereotypical images in their world
- Fosters each child’s ability to stand up for her/himself and others in the face of bias.
We avoid sex-role stereotyping in the classroom. We want all children in our school to feel strong and capable, as well as gentle and nurturing. All children are welcome and encouraged to participate in all types of play and learning.
Our anti-bias curriculum is supported by a variety of multi-cultural and bias-free books, dolls and other learning materials as well as specific teacher-directed activities and experiences that are a regular part of the classroom. We strongly encourage your support, involvement and feedback regarding these efforts. In addition, families are invited to contribute to the curriculum by sharing ideas or materials with the teacher or while working in the classroom. We hope you will consider sharing your special skills and knowledge with the children!
Holiday & Birthday Celebrations
Holiday celebrations have long been a challenge for early childhood educators. In our efforts to implement an Anti-Bias Curriculum, we strive to honor and respect the cultures and traditions of all who participate in our program. Our school has several holiday celebrations on our calendar, and we wish to work together to determine the most appropriate way to enjoy these celebrations as a school community. It is our hope that we can create opportunities to come together in a ways that are appropriate and enriching for the children and adults who are a part of our community.
We appreciate and value every child, and like to celebrate what is special and unique about them every day, as well as on their birthday. If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday at school, please do not bring sugary treats (i.e. cupcakes). We will provide a birthday crown, a birthday candle, and sing, “Happy Birthday” at snack (or lunch) time. We welcome you to bring birthday napkins and healthy snacks, which can be made at school as a class cooking project, if you wish. “Special” snacks such as fruit kabobs, granola bars, or finger foods with “fancy” toothpicks are also popular. The energy level exhibited around sugary foods can be extremely high in groups of 15 or 18 children! Your child is at school in the morning for just 2 ½ or 3 hours. Please save sugary treats for your child’s family and friend celebrations. Your support in this matter is greatly appreciated.
Additionally, please DO NOT DISTRIBUTE birthday party invitations at school. Young children are very sensitive to being excluded from anything, especially birthday parties. Children, and even parents, can experience hurt feelings when they do not receive an invitation. Please feel free to contact other families at home by phone, email or snail mail to extend party invitations. Thank you in advance for your understanding.