Our curriculum is child centered and play based, utilizing topics of interest to the children such as themselves and their bodies, families and diversity, seasons, animals, and transportation. Activities and projects related to the topic are offered in different contexts throughout the classrooms to encourage learning- in the dramatic play area, art projects, science explorations, games, stories, books, songs, and recipes. The children experience their learning of the topics in a variety of different ways that are stimulated by their natural curiosity and encourage discovery, initiative, and inquiry. Teachers support and encourage that curiosity by helping them to notice, wonder about, and describe the things that the children observe and know. Throughout each thematic unit, teachers seek to create a variety of ties between the theme and the children’s families, cultures, and languages.
As an independent center, we pride ourselves in offering a unique curriculum opposed to a pre-packaged commercial product. In order to maintain the high standards of curriculum every child deserves, both classrooms utilize Massachusetts state frameworks to help plan their unit, activities, and projects. Our Preschool Classroom actively uses the Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences (found at http://fcsn.org/pti/topics/earlychildhood/preschool_learning_eec.pdf). The Toddler Classroom actively utilizes the newly created Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers (found at http://www.eec.state.ma.us/docs1/workforce_dev/layout.pdf). These frameworks help ensure that all areas of child development are covered in curriculum planning and include the learning areas outlined below.
Language Arts - Early language arts is a critical area that overlaps with and incorporated into every area of curriculum planning. It also serves as an integral part of a young child’s social emotional development. Throughout early childhood, children develop a basis for verbal communication, beginning with nonverbal social exchanges. We support pre-reading skills through the Whole Language approach. This makes learning to read as natural to the children as when they learned to talk. Children are read to throughout the day and are always welcome to sit on a teacher’s lap for a story. Big books are read daily with the whole group, in a setting that fosters enjoyable interactions. Favorite songs are sung together while pointing to the words on colorful charts. Activities grow from the stories. The stories are acted out. Vocabulary is expanded naturally as they learn more about the topic. The children are surrounded by a language rich environment.
Math - Math in early childhood begins with concrete daily experiences. It is embedded in almost all daily classroom activities such as block play, dramatic play, sand & water play, and outdoor play. Activities and scenarios are provided that allow children to recite numbers in order, compare quantity, comprehend position, match objects in one-to-one correspondence, and sequencing.
Science and Technology - The foundation of early science is embedded in inquiry and exploration. It fosters a sense of curiosity about the natural world around them. Discovery and curiosity is fostered through first-hand, concrete experiences. Science can be explored in a variety of backgrounds, including earth and space sciences, physical sciences, and life sciences. Technology is encountered in an early childhood setting in simple ways. Essentially, it involves finding out how things are constructed and what can make them work differently or better. Technology does not always mean computer games in the classroom. We provide various opportunities for technology exploration, such as simple machines, having keyboards or calculators in dramatic play, or taking things apart to see what is inside of them.
History and Social Science - History and social science at this age is built on experiences in a child’s family, school, community, state, and country. Activities are provided to make a child feel valued in all of these various settings. Children and teachers work together to create classroom rules. Cooperation, sharing, and respect of these rules help children acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed in community life.
Health Education - Outside of making conscious efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and nutritious eating habits for all of the children enrolled in our program, health education also involves helping children be more conscious about the many ways in which they move their bodies. Physical activity and movement allows the brain to internalize foundations of laterality (left and right) and directionality (up, down, in, out), key parts of early brain development. Activities that develop large muscles through gross motor play gives support to the small muscles in the hands and fingers. All of these aspects of health education help children build skills and confidence in using their bodies.
The Arts - The arts in early childhood plays a vital role in developing, maintaining, and sustaining curiosity, expressiveness, and creativity that every young child displays. Making art encourages children to explore, experiment, and engage their senses in endless ways. Children often express what is important, trivial, appealing, or frightening to them through what they choose to sing, paint, or act out. Every child’s art is appreciated and valued by the teachers for it’s uniqueness.
Adaptations - Our center’s curriculum is developed in a way that allows for continual adaptation to the various needs of children within our classrooms. Teaching teams actively make adaptations for children with vision, hearing, language, or physical disability or delays. The state frameworks used in curriculum development easily allows for these adaptations to be made.