Curriculum is the essential tool that maps a child’s development and guides the teacher’s planning. The fundamental purpose of all teaching is to help children master skills in the areas of social and emotional development, physical development, cognitive development and language development. Les Enfants staff is trained in the research-based “Creative Curriculum”, whose philosophy is that children learn through play. In order to take an active role in a child’s learning, it is our belief that the teacher must incorporate the following “Content Areas”, or body of knowledge, into the child’s daily classroom experiences:
Literacy – vocabulary and language, phonological awareness, letters, words, print, comprehension, books and other texts;
Mathematics – numbers, patterns and relationships, geometry and special awareness, measurements and data collection, organization and representation;
Science – the physical properties of objects, living things, the earth and the environment;
Social Studies – how people live, work, get along with others and shape or are shaped by their surroundings;
The Arts – dance, music, dramatic play, drawing and painting;
Technology – tools and their basic operations and uses;
Process Skills – observing, exploring, problem solving, and connecting, organizing, communicating and representing information.
We use a wide range of teaching approaches in our curriculum:
1 – We view a rich classroom environment as the primary setting for learning. Teachers provide materials to initiate, then guide learning in content areas in each of the learning centers: blocks, dramatic play, fine motor, art, music and movement, library, science, and outdoor/indoor gross motor areas.
2 – The teacher-directed approach requires explicit teaching and planning. This approach is used in small group and individual instruction as well as in “teachable moments”;
3 – The child-initiated approach enables the child to choose the activity and the action. Substantial teacher involvement is required with this approach, depending on the child’s development and knowledge of content, in order to intentionally prepare the environment;
4 – Teacher interactions which involve talking with children about their work, asking open-ended questions and generating critical thinking are another approach that is integral to the curriculum;
5 – “Studies” or “Projects” are in-depth investigations which focus on finding answers to questions about a topic of interest to the children. Processing skills and academic content are incorporated into the studies.
Our approach to preschool education uses age-appropriate materials and activities, incorporating the strengths of our children, families and communities to enrich the curriculum.
Our classrooms have a lot of bustle and noise! Children are up and doing lots of things, talking, playing and exploring. This kind of classroom environment differs from the old grade-school images of a teacher doing most of the talking at a blackboard while the children sit and listen quietly at their desks.
Both research and experience tell us that to be effective with young children, teaching practices need to be “developmentally appropriate”. What this means is simply that educators need to think first about what young children are like and then create an environment and experiences that are in tune with children’s characteristics. Preschool children learn far better through direct interactive experiences than through just listening to someone talk. They learn extraordinary amounts through play and exploration.
We have designed our program to fit children. It works far better than trying to redesign children! We are proud to run a developmentally appropriate program!