CREATING A CLASSROOM COMMUNITY
We create a positive social environment in the classroom to promote children’s social-emotional skills, and to help them become competent enthusiastic learners. Teachers purposefully create a classroom community by building a relationship with each child and helping children build positive relationships with each other. Teachers involve children in developing rules for the classroom community, teach them the steps for solving social problems, and respond to challenging behaviors. Teachers guide children’s behavior in ways that promote self-regulation and conflict resolution skills. A variety of approaches and strategies is used to support children’s development and learning. Recognizing the benefits of learning through play, teachers support children’s learning through the interest areas as well as through development of routines, transitions, and planned small and large group activities. Teachers assess children’s progress and plan instruction using a systematic approach that is based on the developmental continuum.
We believe children learn and develop best in an atmosphere where they are encouraged to explore, take safe risks, attempt to solve problems, and interact positively with peers and teachers. Our classroom environments are learning-center based. Learning is child-initiated, or child-guided. They control the use of materials and create their own play scenarios. Teachers use their knowledge of the child’s development and their knowledge of content to prepare an interesting and rich environment that offers children choices. We offer children choices about where to play, which materials to use, how to use them, and whether to play alone or with others. Each classroom and age level will vary to reflect individuality however, basic interest centers will include:
This area promotes language, math concepts, socialization and creativity. This begins with infants who are piling and knocking blocks beginning to see how they can cause things to happen in their world. Toddlers begin simple stacking and unstacking with the addition of simple toy trucks, cars, and dolls as part of their play. Pre-School children are constructing objects and are adding complex elements such as labeling structures and making more elaborate structures. All of the time children are experimenting and learning from their exploration while gaining social skills.
Puzzles, pegboards, beads, small building or linking materials are here. These help children develop small motor coordination, sorting and patterning that help them gain skills needed for writing and math.
Pretend play encourages the development of social and language skills. Children learn how to cooperate to reach a goal. They also learn how to negotiate and solve problems with their peers.
Both reading and writing are practiced to help children develop basic skills necessary to be successful in school and, later, in work. Infants are introduced to the richness of language and recognition of objects. Toddlers are expanding their vocabulary and connecting words to things in their world. Pre-School children learn to read left to right, to recognize themes and predict outcomes. They also learn letter names and sounds and to love reading! The children practice and refine small motor skills. The environment is rich in written language and offers a variety of opportunities for children to practice their language and literacy skills.
“What will happen if I push this button?” “Why did my plant die?” This is a place to spark children’s curiosity by offering interesting materials. Children use their senses to touch, feel, taste, smell and see. They act on objects and observe what happens. Teachers pose questions and help children wonder aloud. Children investigate and explore strengthening skills in all areas of development.
In our sensory areas children learn to work together. They experience tactile exposure and often invent elaborate role-playing situations. In addition, children learn science and math through experimenting with volume and measurement. Play dough is used in this area to stimulate small muscle control for future writing and creative art skills.
In the art area, children have free access to a variety of media. Children are encouraged to use their imaginations and to create their own unique masterpieces! This is where they learn to create freely and to express themselves individually. Children practice small muscle control by using scissors, markers and paint brushes. They are learning colors, experimenting with size and shape, and socializing with their peers. While there may be some special projects, the children’s “creations” will reflect their unique perspectives. There will be few teacher directed activities.
Music and Movement:
Music naturally delights and interests children! Music and movement provides an outlet for children’s high spirits and creative energy. Experiences help to develop both sides of the brain and contribute to children’s social-emotional, physical, language and cognitive development and learning.
Cooking is fun! It is also a laboratory for helping children develop and learn. When children participate in cooking activities they learn how food is prepared and how it contributes to their health and well-being. It also promotes pride in their ability to produce a food others can enjoy, strengthens small-muscle control and eye-hand coordination, expands vocabulary (ingredients, recipe, knead, boil, etc.), and it inspires children’s curiosity and thinking. They learn measurement concepts, develop problem-solving skills, and explore cause and effect. Children are following sequences of a recipe and carrying out multiple directions, and it is an outlet for creativity!
Small Group Times:
In the course of each day teachers conduct a variety of planned small-group activities. These activities are designed with particular learning objectives in mind. The teacher guides learning by choosing materials that invite exploration and enables the teacher to observe the skill levels of the children so that the environment can be further developed to incorporate materials that support learning goals.
Large Group Time:
The whole class gathers together once or twice during each day. It may be to listen to a story, to participate in a music or movement activity, or to discuss a topic the children are studying. These meetings enable children to learn to be part of a large group as well as to learn particular information.
This is the area where childhood memories are developed. Children have the freedom to discover what their bodies can do. They are developing large muscle control and are provided with the opportunity to participate in elaborate play that involves following directions, rules, and reaching goals. Teachers continually adapt the outdoor environment to challenge children’s motor development and fitness and to spark their imaginations!
Within each area we incorporate literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology:
Literacy- is a source of enjoyment, as children build their vocabulary and language. Skills learned are phonetic awareness, knowledge of print, letters and words, comprehension, and books as a resource for learning.
Mathematics- is learning number and operations, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, patterns (algebra), and data analysis.
Science- learning the physical properties of objects and materials, characteristics of living things, and Earth’s environment.
Social Studies- learning about people and how they live, change related to people and places, and simple geography.
The Arts- exposure to visual arts, music, dance and movement and drama.
Technology- learning about tools and their basic operations and uses.
Process Skills- observing and exploring; problem-solving; and connecting, organizing, communicating, and representing information.
Integrating Learning Through Studies- engaging children in exploring science and social studies by applying skills in order to answer questions that interest them.
Important Program Information