The preschool learning environment is primarily based on The Creative Curriculum for Preschool developed by Teaching Strategies Inc, used in high-quality early education settings throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. At the core of The Creative Curriculum for Preschool are well-planned learning centers that allow for child choice and self-directed play, small groups, and supportive teaching that prepares children for academic excellence. The development of language, mathematical reasoning, and scientific thought is emphasized throughout all the centers. Changes to the learning environment, activities, and projects reflect emerging interests and individual goals. Learning centers offer guided experiences that encompass all the skills and understandings necessary for optimum development and success in school.
Typical centers include:
- Language/Library Technology/Computers
- Construction/Blocks Science
- Dramatic Play Outdoor Learning
- Art/Creative Expression Music and Movement
- Sensory: Sand and Water Math/Manipulatives
Learning Centers are supplemented by any number of independent learning stations designed for use by one or two children.
Throughout the day, children make self-directed and guided choices using Family Choice Boards, participate in small groups and projects, join in circle-times with the whole group, and reflect upon and document their learning experiences. Children are guided to critical learning experiences that form the building blocks of healthy development. Using the The Creative Curriculum for Preschool and knowledge of the children and families as a framework, teachers use their talent and expertise to design, adapt, and invent learning centers that best serve the children in the room.
The physical space of The Creative Curriculum classroom is organized into 10 indoor interest areas:
- Dramatic Play
- Toys and Games
- Sand and Water
- Music and Movement
The 10 indoor interest areas plus the outdoor space offer multiple opportunities for children to explore, discover, and learn. Interest areas provide a setting for children to learn academic content and apply skills.
Based on more than 15 years of classroom application and the most current academic, social, and emotional research, the Second Step curriculum focuses on the three essential competencies empathy, impulse control and problem solving, and anger management.
In about 30 minutes once or twice a week, the students learn to practice prosocial behavior. The Second Step program teaches children how to deal with emotions, resist impulsive behavior, resolve conflict, solve problems and understand the consequences of their actions. By understanding their emotions and how to respond to them, students are able to remain focused on academics. Children learn to understand issues that lead to conflict and then use specific problem solving strategies to resolve and avoid them.
Teachers model and reinforce the skills taught in the lesson throughout the week.