The Children’s Center provides a nurturing environment that supports the developing child, emphasizes positive self-esteem and teaches respect for individual differences. The program offers opportunities for active play, individual choice, and group activities that help children to develop feelings of competency and independence in a child-centered environment. Being part of a shared community is actively encouraged. Center teachers emphasize cooperation and create classroom groups that develop concern for each other as they problem solve and work together.
Our classroom practices at the Center are based on our school philosophy, our beliefs about how children learn, and the role of teachers and families in creating a successful school environment. Central to our school philosophy is the belief that children are curious, competent and capable learners who are active participants in constructing their knowledge of the world. Our curriculum has grown out of this philosophy and our ongoing study of which approaches provide the best for children. Our curriculum is based on social constructivist theory that supports the idea that children learn through active interaction with the people and materials of their environment, and that they build upon their knowledge base as each new experience occurs. These interactions are reinforced through questioning, forming ideas, and testing information. Constructivist theory focuses on the interconnected needs of the whole child and provides a framework for an integrated curriculum. In the integrated curriculum all major aspects of the child’s development are interrelated and are provided for throughout the day.
At the Children’s Center we believe that children learn best when they are involved and interested in the topic. The best curriculum emerges from the child’s interest – it is not solely dictated by teacher interest. To strengthen the child’s construction of knowledge teachers support child-initiated engagement and experimentation with a variety of materials based on the child’s interest level and ability. Teachers plan curriculum based on careful observation of what children are interested in and how best to extend their learning. Teachers build curriculum that explores different topics in depth as children’s understanding of the topic grows. Teachers set up experiences for children that require questioning, investigation and problem solving. Children are encouraged to develop ideas over time, to deepen their understanding of the world by questioning, exploring and representing ideas through various creative mediums. Teachers believe it is valuable for children to be able to generate their own ideas, figure out answers for themselves, and try out a variety of solutions until they find one that works. Teachers act as facilitators of this process, aiding children in their discoveries and providing a wealth of experiences to add to the child’s knowledge of the world.