There are several different philosophies regarding early childhood education, and a variety of curriculum models. But since it’s been proven that children have different learning styles, why should pre-schools limit themselves to just one approach?
Park Place Children’s Center is a pre-school, not a daycare center. Our goal is to implement the highest quality, developmentally appropriate practices to help prepare children for success in kindergarten. This preparation begins in the infant room, and age-appropriate experiences are offered in each class to encourage children to explore, create, discover and learn.
Our teachers receive on-going training in a wide variety of curriculums and teaching strategies. They understand how to discover each child’s predominant learning style, and how to tap into each child’s potential. Each teacher’s weekly lesson plan incorporates projects and activities that best meet the needs of the children in that particular classroom. A theme-based approach is also implemented to incorporate a variety of fun, school-wide activities.
Park Place Children’s Center uses The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool as its foundation. This comprehensive, scientifically-based early childhood curriculum is based on widely accepted research and theories of child development and learning. The Creative Curriculum provides an environmental framework that focuses planning around indoor and outdoor interest areas. There are clearly defined goals and objectives, and The Creative Curriculum explains how to teach content in ways that respect the developmental stages of preschool children.
A developmental assessment is provided for each child, detailing the skills that children in that age group typically master. These assessments guide teachers in planning appropriate activities, and then observing how and when the children grasp and master each skill. The assessments measure cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, social, language and literacy skills. Parents and teachers review these assessments at regular intervals to ensure that children are progressing properly.
It’s true that children learn best through play. While playing, they develop their own knowledge through creativity, interaction, exploration and imitation of role models. However, the best pre-school programs balance self-discovery and teacher direction. Providing specific toys and activities in the appropriate learning environment promotes independence, fosters decision-making skills and encourages hands-on involvement.
At Park Place Children’s Center, our aim is to help children gain confidence, positive self-esteem, and a love for learning. Children who learn how to share, express their thoughts and feelings, and exhibit appropriate social skills have developed skills and abilities that will last a lifetime.
Park Place Children’s Center follows a typical school year schedule, where children stay in each classroom for a full year, and “move up” to their new classroom every August. When toddlers move up to their K2 classroom, their teachers move with them. Since this is a prime time for separation anxiety, moving with their teacher minimizes the emotional effect on the children. Although they move into a new classroom, they have the comfort of having the same teacher and friends in their class. This allows for a much smoother transition and allows children to continue developing important skills without having to first become comfortable with a new teacher. This is a period during which communication skills blossom and potty training begins. Being with a caregiver/teacher that the child knows and trusts enhances the learning experiences in these and other key areas.
The following year, the children have a new teacher in their K3 classroom, but this teacher loops up with the class to K4 the next year. This is primarily for an academic reason. When it’s time to move up to K4 , the teacher knows exactly where each child is academically, socially and emotionally. She is aware of what each child knows, how they learn, and what they need to continue working on to be fully prepared for kindergarten. Having the same teacher in K3 and K4 also allows the teacher to expand on lessons learned in K3, and prevents duplicating or omitting learning areas and skills.
Keeping children and teachers together has several benefits. Close relationships between children and their primary caregivers can flourish. Research shows that it takes children several months to establish a bond with a non-parent. Therefore, moving from room to room should be done as infrequently as possible to minimize tough transition issues for the child. Continuity of care also allows children and their teachers to really get to know and become comfortable with the “culture” of their classroom. They don’t have to spend time every few months trying to get to know a new set of rules, friends and ways of doing things. Relationships between parents and teachers are also enhanced. Knowing that your child’s teacher really knows your child – their habits, behavior patterns, likes and dislikes – gives parents comfort that their child’s needs are being met by someone who loves and understands their child.