Our program is entirely designed to meet the developmental needs of each child. Our physical classroom environment, both indoors and outdoors, is equipped with furniture and equipment specifically intended for use by young children. Our classroom materials and activities are setup to afford children many paths to exploring and experimenting both with and without interaction with a teacher. Our curriculum emerges from the interests expressed by children, and there is enough flexibility and openness to accommodate children’s various learning dispositions. Most importantly, teachers are keenly aware of each child’s personal needs and are exceedingly responsive to these.
The curriculum is planned with primary consideration given to the needs and interests of the children. This child-centered approach, by design, demands that teachers provide materials and activities that support the topics central to children’s play, family, community, and anything else that is meaningful in the children’s lives. To be clear, children learn within the context of the play. Nonetheless, teachers must observe children closely and help them to connect to a process for constructing knowledge in more explicit ways. Thus, through projects and with the support of documentation, teachers help to inspire children’s own inquiries and designs, which always must connect to children’s play.
Fundamental to our curriculum is to provide high levels of access for children to the essential basic materials: blocks, clay, paint, sand, and water. Teachers support children as they learn the characteristics of and techniques for interacting with these materials. These basic materials have value because children, who inevitably are functioning at a variety of developmental levels and interests, can begin to use them right away. Positive guidance from teachers and possibly their skilled peers furthers the child’s opportunity for advancing his or her understandings related to the materials. As children gain mastery in the use of these materials they can use them to experiment, to represent their ideas, to express creatively and to further their play scenarios.