CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION
Our curriculum is developed through teacher observation and evaluation of each child. Concepts and skills are introduced which are appropriate to each child’s stage of development, which reinforce social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth. Concrete, hands-on activities and experience are planned according to a calendar of themes and units which are relevant to the children, providing meaningful learning.
According to the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who has exercised the greatest influence on early childhood education, children’s learning occurs as a result of tactile experiences with objects in their environment. By manipulating objects and exploring on their own, they obtain information. As they relate new ideas to information they already know, more learning takes place. Children move beyond rote memory recall when adults provide them with concrete materials and guide them through their own first-hand discoveries. Sensory interaction is essential if children are to handle symbols well later.
Erik Erickson explains the development of personality by the ways in which children interact with the environment and how they solve problems. The direction of growth is affected by the way that the environment supports the child and the way the child fulfills the standards of significant persons. A child feels a sense of accomplishment and belonging through successful child-initiated activity as well as adult-child interactions.
For over sixty years, the Gesell Institute for Human Development has studied the motto and social behavior of children through language and adaptive skills. While the rate of growth is different for each child, it is highly patterned and predictable and cannot be rushed. Age norms are not to be used as standards or expectations, but as averages to assist in assessment of growth. Appropriate manipulative and symbolic play activities will support the stage the child has attained.
Academic workbooks and worksheets which demand visual, motor, and cognitive ability beyond preschool development create emotional stress and a sense of failure for most children, and do not lead to significant strides in learning. The whole child goes to school, not just the brain. A child’s intelligence needs to be supported by the rest of development, using the child’s potential for school success. Rather than pushed or hurried from one stage to another, children need to be prepared by experience for each major change.