Ann Kids Day Care Center uses the Creative Curriculum, which is an established, research-based model. Its effectiveness in helping children acquire social competence and the skills they need to succeed as learners is well documented. As part of this curriculum, we gather information about each child’s developmental abilities and evaluate progress so we can modify and adjust what we are doing in our classroom so as to deliver the best individualized instruction for each child. This evaluation is communicated to families periodically during the two annual conferences, but we aim to address each child’s individual needs throughout the whole program year. While we rely on the child development theories of Piaget, Erikson, Freud, Kohlberg and Bronfenbrenner, we understand that no children are alike and develop at a different pace; therefore, we develop goals and lesson plans for children based on differentiated learning and multiple intelligences theories. We acknowledge children’s unique talents and help them develop them through assignments and hands-on activities. We offer multiple approaches to learning, to make sure they fit specific needs of each child.
All rooms in our center are divided into sections that provide exploration of the key learning areas of development. These sections have the materials necessary for mastering a variety of necessary skills. We have a dramatic play, art, math and science, block, library, and personal time areas, where children are offered various activities and prompts, as well as caregivers’ guidance, and can discover their personal talents and interest in addition to mastering the necessary developmental milestones. All areas are equally stressed and integrated through a variety of experiences and activities. Each room also has its own bathroom, which allows potty-training. There is an exit to the outdoor playground from every room, where children can develop their gross motor skills. Our rooms are decorated with pictures of diverse ethnic groups, backgrounds and professions, which reflect our program philosophy, the cultural make-up of our center, and the content that we determined is important for children. Our lesson plans incorporate multiple learning areas throughout their content delivery. We believe in Multiple Intelligences Theory and provide opportunities for children to discover their true calling. We use a great variety of educational toys and materials to support children’s learning. Our daily schedule offers multiples styles of content delivery, which balances educational activities with learning through play. We incorporate a lot of interpersonal communication skills and provide options for assignment completion in order to meet individual needs.
We use Pennsylvania Learning Standards for children from six weeks to Kindergarten. Each classroom’s content utilizes the appropriate-aged standards for a responsive and well-designed curriculum and a rich learning environment. We have a flexible day routine that allows children to advance at their own pace. We strongly believe that learning happens through play. Learning and exploring are hands-on and are facilitated through interest areas. Our program is designed to enhance children’s development in the following areas: creativity, self-expression, decision-making, problem-solving, responsibility, independence, and reasoning. We encourage openness to that which is different from us, and the ability to work and play with others.
Our goal is to ensure that children show continuous improvement, supported by ongoing assessment, in all the areas of child development: physical, cognitive, social and emotional, as well as approaches to learning, and communication and language. Currently we use Ages and Stages Assessment System, but we are gradually transitioning to the Work Sampling System. It is an instructional assessment used in preschool through third grade, which enhances teaching and learning by documenting and assessing children’s skills, knowledge, behavior, and accomplishments in multiple curriculum areas. It consists of Developmental Guidelines, Developmental Checklists, and Summary Reports and calls for continuous assessment that is summarized three times a year. By reflecting classroom goals and objectives, it helps teachers observe children’s ongoing progress and places children’s work within a broad development perspective. Through documenting and evaluating individual performance of classroom-based tasks, Work Sampling enhances student motivation, helps teachers in instructional decision making, and serves as an effective way of keeping families, educators and the community updated on the children’s progress.