HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND A COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE
The Office of Early Childhood believes in:
An inclusive educational program that builds on learning experiences which develop passionate lifelong learners who cooperatively, as well as independently, work to create, investigate, and solve problems.
An instructional program that accelerates learning for all students, builds on the strengths and interests of each child, involves children in ALL steps of the learning process, and documents students’ growth and development through authentic assessment.
A variety of powerful teaching strategies that include technology and vivid concrete learning experiences which engage students in meaningful, centered experiences and that address all learning modalities.
The Creative Curriculum Overview
Creative Curriculum is one of four State approved curricula. Creative Curriculum provides for positive interaction, social emotional competencies, constructive play and Teacher-Family interactions. Creative Curriculum is research based and is offered in English and Spanish, which supports Spanish speaking students. The curriculum is comprised of a comprehensive collection of daily practice and knowledge building.
The theoretical perspective that The Creative Curriculum for Preschool (Dodge, Colker, & Heroman, 2002) focuses on the constructivist view. Constructivists believe that students construct understanding by making sense of their world (Posner, 2004). The major ideas of the constructivism view are that learners have to be engaged and active in constructing ideas and concepts (Brandon & All, 2008). In education, when using the constructivism theory, the teacher is to engage students during dialogue and conversations. Also, teachers need to encourage and allow students to make discoveries in a collaborative, student-centered, and interactive learning environment (Brandon & All, 2008). Brandon and All (2008) stated that educators should design lessons that are aligned with the current state of student’s knowledge. Educators become facilitators and coaches. Constructivist rejects the notation of rote memorization.
The Learning Environment
Value of Learning Centers: In the Early Childhood Department, we believe in a center-based approach to learning. Each center is carefully arranged and planned for a quality experience and a fully enriched environment. All classrooms will have a library area which is the largest area in the classroom.
The classroom design is so critical when giving our preschoolers a quality education. Not only should the atmosphere be nurturing and safe but it should also be organized and arranged in a way so children can navigate smoothly throughout the day. A good classroom design can promote positive behavior and increase student cooperation. It sends a comfortable message to students and has defined learning centers for easy transitions and relaxed planning.
Clearly each school is different and the classroom design will depend on various factors such as size, fire exits, windows, etc. However, all classrooms are organized and thorough with each learning center in mind. When considering classroom design, we consider how each center is used. For example, we do not put the block center (noisy) next to the library center. Classrooms must all have a natural flow. Furniture is also very important and should be sturdy, durable, and not plastic. Shelving should be appropriate for children and materials should be within reach. All furniture should be high enough for children but low enough for teachers to see throughout the classroom. All materials should be labeled with a word and picture so children can participate in clean up time.