Our curriculum is based on our knowledge of the developmental process, the individual child’s needs and interests, and the child’s family culture. Our curriculum is “play based” and is integrated into routines and transitions; planned and spontaneous activities; indoor and outdoor play; interactions between children and between children and adults; child led and teacher directed activities; and implemented individually and in small groups and large groups. The curriculum focuses on the development of the “whole child”, that is, it considers all areas of development – physical, language, social-emotional, and cognitive. The curriculum also teaches concepts and develops skills that are meaningful to the child’s developmental understanding.
Teachers use a planning process that includes observation, assessment, developmental goals, developmentally appropriate practice and reflection. Based on this information, the curriculum emerges over time and guides how we set up the environment; the activities, experiences and interactions provided and the routines and schedules within the classroom.
Our daily schedules allow for blocks of time for indoor and outdoor free-choice activities; small and large group activities; snacks and lunch; clean-up, toileting and other routines. Classrooms are arranged in interest centers. Most of the day children are encouraged to move around the classroom at their own pace and select activities of interest. During this time, teachers interact with children to extend or enhance their play by asking questions, supporting problem-solving, offering ideas or materials, and observing or assessing what children know. Depending upon the age, some of the activities each day may be more teacher-directed or guided.
Sometimes teachers plan their weeks around a topic or issue in which the children have shown an interest; a current event in the family, school or community; or a developmental task or skill that our experienced teachers recognize as important to that age group. Interest areas, activities and materials may reflect this theme. Other topics, concepts and skills may also be integrated into the plan for that week. Often topics or themes may extend over several weeks as children’s interest continues to cause a theme to evolve. Teachers act as facilitators of the child’s natural interests and urge to learn, not as a “teacher” of specific lessons.