The physical environment of the Center has been set up to enhance our program goals. It offers challenges and encourages independence. It offers avenues for cooperative play and involvement with varied materials. It is through intense interaction with the environment that children learn about the physical properties of the real world. It is also how they test ideas, sort out feelings, and learn competency all important aspects of good development.
The learning centers in our classrooms allow child-initiated engagement in active,
hands-on experiences. It is through experiences with developmentally appropriate materials, equipment, and interaction with the teachers that children feel free to explore and experiment. Each level of learning then provides a basis for making further connections across developmental domains. In order to support children with special needs we coordinate with parents and community services, and make reasonable adaptations to the physical environment and curriculum areas as needed by each individual child.
- The classroom equipment and materials are designed for open-ended, child initiated exploration. This encourages the child to be creative, inventive, and use communication and problem-solving skills.
- The classrooms are well organized to facilitate a natural flow of activity. The children are active participants in taking care of their environment. They learn essential life skills of being responsible for their environment by assisting in setting up materials and displays, as well as putting away materials/activities when they are through.
We view the outdoor environment as an outdoor classroom where children can explore freely. The outdoor areas offer covered patios for art and water play, as well three playgrounds that offer age-appropriate challenges for each age group. The playgrounds include sand, water, bike paths, swings, climbing structures and spaces for digging, exploration, running and playing games surrounded by trees and native plants.
Thoughts On The Value of Play
Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.
- Fredrick Froebel
Play is the business of young children. It is the primary vehicle through which they learn. Opportunity to play freely is vital to the child’s healthy development. Play fosters intellectual development and permits the child to assimilate reality in terms of his own interests and prior knowledge of the world. Through play children are free to experiment, try out possibilities and practice different roles. Play stimulates creativity. It is inherently a self-expressive activity that draws on the child’s imagination. Play further develops children’s language, physical and social development. Play is critical to all aspects of the child’s learning and is an essential part of our program. By being a careful observer of children’s play teachers have the opportunity to discover the child’s interests and abilities. Beyond all these valuable reasons to support play is the fact that it is highly enjoyable. Children who are deeply involved in play are working at all the appropriate tasks for their development while they are experiencing joy and emotional well being. What could be better?