INFANT AND TODDLERS
The infant and toddler programs utilize the CREATIVE CURRICULUM guidelines in planning for sensory and early educational experiences. While incorporating many of the features of the CREATIVE CURRICULUM, the teachers are also encouraged to develop their own thematic activities under the supervision of the Educational Director. All infant and toddler classrooms engage in sensory activities that may include noodles, rice, cornmeal, paint, play dough, water, sand and clay. An appropriate circle time is held each day in each of these classrooms where children sing songs, listen to stories and engage in finger plays. Toddlers are encouraged to build with blocks to strengthen their gross motor skills and to utilize fat pencils, paint brushes and crayons to develop their fine motor abilities. Music and rhythms are an essential part of the program for developing mathematical awareness and sensory integration, important goals at this early age. Eye hand coordination is enhanced through painting, drawing, and playing ball. All these activities, physical, aesthetic, and literacy based are important precursors for a successful school experience in the early grades.
The preschool programs encompass a project approach to learning, which is more in depth than a thematic approach. The children in these rooms may be involved in long term projects where they investigate and immerse themselves in a series of interrelated activities designed by their teachers to provoke their curiosity and sense of discovery. Children in this room engage in complex block buildings, sculpture activities, and large scale papier mache creations that are community based. They acquire cooperative learning dispositions through their many group experiences of building replicas of their environment and investigating phenomena in the natural world. An essential feature of the preschool classrooms is the documentation of their work through experience charts, photographs and individual narratives which may be tape recorded.
Literacy activities continue to become more developed in the preschool classrooms with children encouraged to dictate their stories into a hardbound book forming a collection of individual stories. Children are encouraged to borrow books from the classroom library and they are able to listen to stories several times a day. Circle time activities include cumulative weather charts as well as calendar and job responsibilities. Every effort is made to build upon children’s prior learning experiences to extend their educational activities as opposed to maintaining a static routine of less challenging tasks.