It’s August! Can you believe it? We are gearing up for a fantastic school year ahead, our blog this month focuses on our curriculum and how it benefits each child and his or her family. With that being said, I have asked our Program Coordinator from our Carver location Tiffany to give us some insight to Children of Tomorrow’s curriculum. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! ~ Mara
Hello wonderful COT Families! My name is Tiffany O’Boyle and I am the Program Coordinator at our Carver Location as well as a Co-Lead Teacher in our Preschool Department. For those of you who don’t know me, I have been working in Early Childhood for over 18 years. Even when I took a break to stay home with my own children, I kept myself immersed in the field by leading a local chapter of MOMS Club and creating age appropriate activities and field trips for that group. I do this because I absolutely love working with children and families! I have a BS in Psychology from Michigan State University with an emphasis in Family and Child Psychopathology and I find this to be one of the most personally rewarding fields to work in. Today I get to share with you one of my passions in Early Childhood, and that is curriculum. There is always lots of research happening and we are constantly finding new ways to stimulate and educate young children. So let’s dive in and I will tell you a little more about the curriculum we use here at COT!
One of the most exciting things about Early Childhood curriculum is that EVERYTHING has a purpose! What to some may just look like a child stacking 4 blocks is actually a child who is working on several skills, including cause and effect, balance, and developing a sense of confidence and accomplishment. We use our curriculum to provide all of the children with opportunities to grow and learn. This includes our youngest learners. In our Infant and Toddler rooms, we use the High Scope curriculum. High Scope is founded on the principle of Active Participatory Learning, which basically means that children learn and develop best when they are actively manipulating materials and interacting with their environment and the people in it.
One of the ways we achieve Active Participatory Learning is through Choice Time. This is a time where children are free to move about their classroom and choose which materials they would like to engage in. We ensure that they are hitting on all of the different learning domains by setting up our classrooms in such a way that they offer different areas of learning. Using High Scopes Key Developmental Indicators, we choose toys, materials, and activities to enhance those areas. We encourage choice in all of the children. You might hear a teacher say to a non-verbal infant or toddler, “You choose a book” and hold up 2 different books. These small interactions have a profound effect on language development.
As children transition up to Preschool, they will find similarities in the classroom and some new and exciting things. In Preschool and PreK we use the Core Knowledge curriculum. Core Knowledge is a scaffolding curriculum that is based on the idea that continued learning is dependent upon prior knowledge. Babies learn how to babble and makes sound before they can say a word. This is true for all areas of learning. Core Knowledge gives us a sequence of learning to follow to provide our Preschoolers with a solid foundation as they head off to Kindergarten.
A bridge exists between our two curriculums, and that is the firm belief that children learn best through experience. In Preschool, Choice Time is called Work Time. It is still the time of day where they get to choose what/how they want to engage with their environment, but with this age group we start to teach them how to be intentional with their actions. We add in what’s called planning time where the children come together as a large group to create their plans for their work time. Plans can be simple or more intricate, they may only last 5 minutes during Work Time or go on for the entire period. The important part is that it is THEIR plan. Extremely simple versions of Planning Time can be added to an Older Toddler room as well to start building that foundation.
This is just a quick and simple break down of our amazing curriculums. If you would like more information you can go to https://highscope.org/families/parents or https://www.coreknowledge.org/implementation/faq/ and click on Preschool Sequence FAQs
Looking forward to an amazing school year, happy August!
~ Mara and Tiffany J