Our curriculum offers opportunities for learning and skill development in the areas of language arts, science, social studies, mathematics, music, creative arts, and physical development.  Children are encouraged to make choices and to participate in a range of activities that include playing with paint and crayons, clay and play-dough, water, sand, blocks, dolls, dress-up and dramatic play, music and movement and cooking.  Outdoor activities include the use of climbers and slides, sand and digging box, ball play in an open space courtyard.  Teachers organize activities and set up indoor and outdoor environments so that children can play by themselves, with others, and with a variety of materials that encourage skill such as problem solving, artistic expression, small and large muscle control, visual and auditory discrimination, hand-eye coordination, and knowledge of the surrounding world.  We strive to provide a safe environment in which children can feel good about themselves, develop respect and pleasure in relationships with others, and feel comfortable at “school” while away from home.  

Goals of particular parts of the curriculum are as follows:

Language Development – Language development is an integral part of the program with an emphasis on children learning to talk and to listen to each other, to share feelings, ideas, and information, and to enjoy books by “reading” and being read to, and by acting out and writing stories together.  It is believed that written symbolic understanding of concepts (with such activities as spelling, recognition of written letters and words, and written mathematical equations) should come after, not before children have hands-on experiences with three-dimensional realities.  We provide an abundance of opportunities for purposeful writing and reading through play experiences such as the creation of menus in restaurant play, recipes when cooking, writing boards for office and doctor play etc.  These assist in preparation for formal mastery of the alphabet and numerals.

Manipulative Games and Puzzles – These materials provide experiences with part/whole relationships, matching, designs and patterns, sequencing, one-to-one correspondence, shape and form, eye-hand coordination, likeness and differences, number, size, estimating and comparing.  Working alone and with others with manipulative materials, children engage in problem-solving and completion of tasks in very concrete ways as many of these materials develop readiness skills and concepts that will be the building blocks for success in their formal school experience.

Dramatic Play - Dramatic play allows children to work through their own understandings, perceptions, feelings, and fantasies of the world through the use of make-believe, pretend, and imaginary play.  By trying on roles during play, children learn about the social world, what people do, where they work, how they interact.  During the course of the year, props in this area will vary, giving children a chance to explore various roles and social situations.  Some examples are a doctor’s office, grocery store, restaurant, post office, construction site, etc.  Children also get exposed to and have opportunities to learn the appropriate vocabulary and skills that may be involved in these situations.  

Unit Blocks – Block building offers children the opportunity to become a mathematician, stage designer, storyteller, and architect while discovering the concepts of counting, patterning, shapes, symmetry, size, balance and stability.  Block building also affords the child the opportunity to work cooperatively with classmates enhancing their ability to problem solve while using their imagination and creativity.  Blocks offer an almost infinite variety of expressive opportunity from floor patterns or designs, to incredible engineering feats of tower building, with increasing skills over time and remain a means, rather than an end in the learning process.

Sand and Water Play – Through mixing, digging, filling, emptying, pouring, sifting and molding with sand, children learn about continuous quantity, texture, and physical attributes.  Like many materials, which are available to our program, and is an open-ended material lending itself to exploration, experimentation, and discovery.  As children try their ideas over and over, they begin to see relationships, many of which are basic to later understandings in math and science.  Sand play may also include imaginary play such as when making roads and tunnels, or turtles building nests, etc., as children again act out their experiences in the world.
     Water is a natural and absorbing medium for play.  It also has a wonderfully calming effect on young children who are anxious or feeling stressed.  With water, children can learn about measuring, pouring, objects that float and sink, dry and wet, absorption, hot and cold.  Children can also engage in dramatic play with water when bubbles, sponges, dolls, boats, whales, or dishes are added to the water to play or to wash.  This type of imaginative play with others helps in developing vocabulary, taking turns and problem-solving.  

Books – As a source of many kinds of information, books give children a greater understanding of their world.  They can also help children clarify their feelings and concerns by describing situations, which are similar to their own.  At an age of rapidly developing language skills, books contribute to word and concept recognition.  Children gain a sense of mastery as they “read” a familiar book on their own, telling the story from memory.  Familiarity with books contributes significantly to children’s motivation to learn to read as well as strengthens the concept that things written down have meaning, which is the beginning of literacy.  

Art – Through art, children problem solve, express their thoughts, feelings, and individuality, and begin to represent their world.  In a developmental art program, children develop a sense of self-esteem that comes with accomplishment, an imagination that comes with experimentation and motor control that comes with practice.  Fine motor coordination and finger strength grow and develop as children paint, sculpt, cut and glue.  They also learn about color, form, texture, and pattern while increasing readiness skills for later academic success.  
     The focus of our art program is to motivate and challenge children to use an ever-changing variety of art media.  We provide opportunities for this to occur with a wide selection of materials as they are encouraged to be their own inventors.  The focus is not the product, but with the process that provides learning and skill development as the child creates.  Hence the child’s artwork is something that they have created and they are the sole owners of their creations.

Music and Movement – With singing, dancing, finger-plays, using simple instruments, moving their bodies in planned and spontaneous ways, and in listening to music, children have opportunities to develop their muscles, learn to follow directions and take turns, develop rhythm and balance, learn new stories and phrases, become more aware of their own and others’ bodies, develop their singing voices and sharpen auditory functioning, all while having fun with sound!
     The children learn many songs over the course of the year and many quickly become class favorites that they actively engage in and share at home.  Music is involved in every class in a variety of ways, such as for clean up, to begin meeting times, as part of the curriculum/daily lesson, and to use during class transitional moments.

Science – Science is integrated into the curriculum with many activities that involve both physical and natural sciences.  Children explore physical sciences with water and sand play, unit blocks, color mixing, woodworking, cooking and outdoor play.  In these activities children experiment with many physical science concepts on a concrete level, such as solids, liquids, sinking, floating, wet and dry, pressure, motion, speed, weight, gravity.  Children have opportunities to use tools which extend their capacity to understand and construct their own physical realities including shovels, funnels, blocks, nesting measures, ramps, straws, magnifying glasses, eyedroppers, bubble blowers, scales, and balances.
     The natural sciences play an active part in both outdoor and indoor curriculum.  Children have many opportunities to observe and experience the natural world.  Activities are frequently inspired by the seasons and weather.

Math – Through play children are provided many opportunities and varied experiences to work with numbers and numerals in a natural and concrete way.  Children are provided with many activities that include mathematical concepts with counting songs, stories, and rhymes.  Children can with manipulative materials explore size, shape, pattern, and one-to-one correspondence through the arrangement of blocks, colored cubes, pegs, and unifix cubes, providing other opportunities to reinforce counting skills.

Outdoor Play – We provide space, time and equipment for active noisy play in all seasons and weather conditions except when severe or dangerous.  Outdoor play is not merely a time to “expend energy”, rather, a time where growing and learning take place outside.  It is a time for large motor development and freedom of movement in open space, as well as time for using loud and exuberant voices.  Children enjoy using sand and water, climbing, running, looking for insects and participating in simple outside games.  It is also a time for developing an awareness of the natural world – sky, trees, dirt, plants, bugs, weather, and for breathing outside clean air.

*Adapted from the Creative Curriculum by Diane Trister Dodge, Laura J. Colker and Kate Heroman

Developmental Skills 

With developmental appropriate practices, we know that children progress through predictable stages of development and that each child develops at his/her own pace.  Teachers develop lesson plans using their knowledge of specific children in the class while structuring activities so that all children can be successful learners.

Teachers would like to see children master these goals by the end of the school year.

Two Year Olds – recognize self in photograph, listen to follow directions, get along with others in a group setting, recognize and name basic colors and shapes, count to 10 by rote, introduce basic self-help skills (potty training, covering mouth when sneeze or a cough, wash hands), have exposure to and experience with basic art media (crayon, paint, glue), lace a string through beads or lacing cards, complete a 10 piece puzzle with individual pieces 

Three Year Olds – recognize own name, recognize some letters and numbers, begin to count with understanding, show signs of emerging writing skills, play cooperatively with other children in addition to parallel play, improve self-help skills, recognize and name colors and shapes, explore additional art materials, retell stories by “reading” books or use other items to act out stories, show awareness of personal space, work with teacher to problem solve issues with peers and follow teachers’ model and accept consequences of actions

Four Year Olds – recognize all the letters of the alphabet, begin to differentiate between capital and lower case, associate sounds with some letters, write own name in recognizable print, write and recognize numbers 1-10, understand concepts of more versus less and other comparisons, create patterns and graphs, demonstrate the ability to share and communicate with peers, know parts of a book and be able to tell main idea of story, learn to hold a pencil correctly, use art media to create original artwork