Curriculum

Hummingbirds, Robins,
Woodpeckers, and Falcons
(Age Three to Five Years)

The Guiding Principles from the NAEYC Criteria and the Early Learning and Development Standards go hand in hand with the Educational Philosophy of Earthplace Preschool. 

The Guiding Principles are as follows: 

Young Children:

  • are capable and competent. 
  • learn best when their needs are met.
  • are unique in their growth and development.
  • develop within the context of their family and culture.

Families:

  • are the primary caregivers and educators of young children.
  • are critical partners in all early learning environments.

Early Learning Environments:

  • support young children to learn in the context of relationships.
  • reinforce the importance of the cultural context of young children, families, and communities.
  • provide opportunities for active exploration.
  • provide meaningful inclusion of children with special needs.
  • provide experiences that are relevant and integrated across domains of development.
  • intentionally promote the development of skills and knowledge.
  • provide opportunities for children to benefit from diversity.
  • support children's language development in their primary language.

Communities:

  • believe that all children deserve high-quality early learning experiences.
  • offer a variety of resources that support early growth and development.
  • strategically plan to meet the needs of children and families.

In planning the curriculum, setting up the environment and choosing teaching strategies, the teachers take into consideration each child’s background and developmental abilities. This means that we think about the child’s culture, community, approach to learning, language, family structure, religion, interests, other important factors affecting the child, and we observe the child to discover the child’s individual needs.

Staff selects materials, equipment, and furnishings to support the curriculum, the program goals, and the desired outc

Physical


In the Physical Standards of the Connecticut Curricular Goals and Benchmarks, the three areas that we will be focusing on are: Demonstrates control, balance, strength, and coordination in gross motor tasks; demonstrates coordination and strength in fine-motor tasks; participates in healthy physical activity and practices appropriate eating habits, hygiene, and self-help skills. 

Large Motor

We encourage the children's large motor abilities through outdoor play including running, jumping, riding, throwing, balancing, and climbing. We also take trail walks, use indoor obstacle courses, and have a scheduled gym time with tunnels, scooters, bowling, hula hoops, bean bag toss, Frisbees, and large motor games. When outdoor opportunities for large motor activities are not possible because of weather conditions, air quality, or unsafe environmental conditions, we are able to set up activities in the Lunch Club Room, Malloy Room, or the auditorium. We can use the same items we use for the scheduled gym time. We supervise these activities at the same high standard with which we supervise outdoor play. We adhere to the standards set forth in the books Active Start: A Statement of Physical Activity Guidelines For Children From Birth to Five Years and Appropriate Practices in Movement Programs for Children Ages 3-5. These are published by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in alignment with the National Standards for Physical Education. These could include the same activities used in our scheduled gym time. We do not set up any activities that would need mats for protection. 

Fine Motor

We set up activities that assist in developing eye-hand coordination and fine motor control. Our writing tables, peg boards, manipulatives, puzzles, art experiences, and easels all help to further these skills. In the classroom we encourage the children to care for themselves independently. They learn and practice the skills involved in getting in and out of their own coats, pouring their own water, and eating on their own.

Personal and Social


In the Personal and Social Performance Standards of the Connecticut Curricular Goals and Benchmarks we will encourage ten areas of development: Shows self-direction with range of materials; sustains attention to task; participates in teacher-led group activities; manages transitions; follows routines and rules; uses words to express emotions or feelings; shows empathy and caring for others; interacts cooperatively with peers; works to resolve conflicts; and recognizes similarities and appreciates differences between themselves and their peers.

Group Times
Group times are set up so that all of the children can be successful. This means that they are fun, active and of an appropriate length for the age group. Teachers plan cooperative art projects and group games and model kind, empathetic behavior towards all of the children. In order for children to develop positive play skills, the teachers keep the classroom and the outdoor space full of novel, challenging activities. As situations arise, teachers help the children to use words with their friends to make play a positive experience. We nurture the children to increase their feelings of self-worth and self-confidence. We want them to become more adept at expressing their feelings in a constructive manner. The teachers set up the room to be accepting of each child's developmental level, learning style, language, race, religion, gender and physical and mental ability. There are activities available for expressing feelings through play and art. The teachers encourage the children to learn that they are an integral part of the class through meaningful conversations, empathetic mirroring of children's feelings and encouraging independence at each child's own level.

Independence - Caring for Themselves
Children are encouraged to become independent in caring for themselves and their possessions. For example, children are taught to wash their hands upon arrival and at other appropriate times during the day. The Seniors are then capable of remembering on their own to wash their hands before snack, which is set up as a center. Children are taught to hang up their own coats and to eventually get in and out of their coats, hats, etc. on their own. Toileting is also handled in a progressive manner with the Twos being helped with the beginnings of toileting, to the Juniors who are asked to try the bathroom, and then ending with the Seniors and Fives, who can generally use the bathroom as needed.

Cognitive 


In the Cognitive Performance Standards of the Connecticut Curricular Goals and Benchmarks, there are fourteen areas that we work on in the classroom. These are as follows: engages in scientific inquiry, uses a variety of strategies to solve problems, sorts objects, recognizes and makes patterns, compares and orders objects and events, relates number and quantity, demonstrates spatial awareness, uses complex sentences and vocabulary to describe ideas and experiences, understands and participates in conversations, shows understanding of stories, displays knowledge of books and print, recognizes similar sounds in speech, identifies printed words and uses writing to convey meaning (scribble writing and invented spelling).

The basis for cognitive learning is scientific learning which includes observing, exploring, noticing, experimenting, commenting, describing, predicting and planning. We encourage the children to develop these skills through teacher directed activities and materials available in the classrooms.

Math

To promote mathematical thinking we offer open-ended problem solving experiences with water, sand, paint, blocks, number puzzles and manipulatives to enable the children to sort, make patterns and compare and order objects.  These skills will enable children to make a connection between number and quantity, to use number related vocabulary, to count from 5 to 10 objects, and to understand 1 to 1 correspondence. 

Language

In the area of language learning experiences we encourage children to build words into phrases and to build phrases into sentences. We encourage them to become more adept at using words to communicate with friends and teachers. Teachers involve the children in conversations, help them to use words with one another to solve problems and introduce vocabulary building experiences, such as cooking, trail walks or animal encounters. Teachers work with children to notice rhymes in songs, stories and finger plays and to create their own rhymes and poems. In working with language acquisition and understanding the teachers consider the languages that the families speak at home. Teachers collaborate with the families to incorporate words and phrases that support children in school.

Literacy

In the area of literacy we want the children to learn to love books and to understand how they work and come to understand that written print is oral language written down. Literacy is encouraged with activities involving books, such as reading at group and individual time, establishing a cozy reading area, writing at the writing table, taking dictation, making charts, cooking from recipes, name recognition experiences, identifying  familiar signs such as Stop and Exit, and making their own books and games such as alphabet bingo. In the area of understanding what written print is, we work on recognizing letters and their sounds in the context that written print always has meaning.  Pre-writing skills are also an important part of literacy. Children experience writing tools such as crayons, markers, and pencils. They come to understand that writing is different from drawing. Children develop from scribble writing to using letter-like shapes and some conventional letters. Clip-boards, different kinds of paper and writing tools are available in all learning centers. 

Creative Expression


Our program is designed to foster the development of children’s dramatic, musical, creative movement, creative language and artistic interests and abilities. In accordance with the Creative Expression Performance Standards of the Connecticut Curricular Goals and Benchmarks, we are encouraging the children to build, construct, draw, use language and paint to represent their own ideas and feelings, represent experiences and fantasies in pretend play, and sing and respond to music.

Dramatic Play
In the classroom, we set up a variety of dramatic play opportunities in our housekeeping area so that children can represent their experiences and fantasies in pretend play. At different times, we may pretend it is a store, a veterinary office, a hospital, a spaceship, a post office or other location that allows the children to role-play in a variety of situations. Likewise, on the playground, we encourage construction, fishing, gardening, boating and other active scenarios.

Music and Movment

To engage the children in musical and creative movement activities, we use musical instruments, scarves, singing, dancing, CDs and a scheduled music class. Children are encouraged to use their language creatively in making up songs and singing spontaneously.

Art

Teachers provide the children with quality materials with which to experiment with painting, drawing, pouring, mixing and molding. Mindful and accepting of different approaches to the same subject matter, the teachers promote artistic exploration with thoughtful, non-judgmental support. The children are given opportunities to build, construct, draw and paint to represent their own ideas.

Writing

The children are encouraged to dictate, write and illustrate their own stories. 

Building

In the block area children are able to experience building, designing and decorating with pictures and words and then using their creations for dramatic play.

 Good Health Practices


We have added the area of Good Health Practices. Teachers model and teach good health practices, showing children how to blow their noses, wash hands, dress appropriately for weather and eat healthy snacks.