Picket Fence Classroom Environment
Curriculum is the design of experiences and activities developed to help children increase their competence. Developmentally appropriate curriculum provides for all areas of a child’s development through an integrated approach. Children learn by active participation and first hand experiences.
Children’s development and learning is assessed in the context of classroom activities. Teachers objectively observe children in play, collect facts about each child’s interest and abilities, analyze and evaluate the collected information and then use what they have learned to plan the curriculum. This assessment is the key to planning for the individual needs of children and the group.
Our classroom curriculum areas include:
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The Components of Our Classroom Environment
Doing the activity (the process not the product) is what our program views as important, not the end result (product). Art education is a meaningful force in the total learning program and its goal is to motivate the children to pursue art activities and enjoy experiences that lead to general overall development. Children will be allowed to grow and learn at their own pace and in accordance with their own abilities and interests, this helping them develop sound and positive self-concepts. Art offers and emotional release for children, the opportunity for socialization and language development, and the opportunity to further develop fine motor skills, including eye-hand coordination. These opportunities lead to increased perceptual growth, and subsequently to greater cognition.
Dramatic play happens in the housekeeping area. This is a place for the spontaneous, imaginative role-playing children engage in during free play. Role-playing takes on a special meaning for each child. Children express their thoughts and feelings about family members and the people in there past experiences as they act out roles. Through role playing children confront their fears, learn to distinguish what is “real” and what is “fantasy” and develop an understanding of the world around them.
Books are for reading, sharing, enjoying, and for communicating ideas, both at school and at home. We have classroom books, library books, and books with CDs. The children also make their own books as well. We encourage children to look at books alone or with other children or adults. We read to children everyday. All activities lead to important pre-literate skills.
Manipulative help children develop small motor skills, eye-hand coordination, pre-reading and prewriting skills. The children generally move in and out of these areas (science, math and small motor), as they become interested during the free exploration time. The child can use most of the materials alone.
Some of the materials are self-correcting in nature in that a child can see when he/she has made an error and can make the correction without adults telling him/her.
Games help children further discover and learn about classification, seriating and visual discrimination. Games may be played by one child or may be enjoyed by a small group of children. Playing games is an excellent opportunity for children to develop social/coping skills. In our program the emphasis is on fun and learning, not “winning”, “better”, or “faster”.
Mathematics for young children is learning about concepts of size, classification, seriating, and patterning. Learning comes from manipulation of materials and exploration of the relationship between objects. Activities for the children will provide opportunities for verbalizing thought, clarifying ideas and exchanging viewpoints.
Singing and dancing are creative arts. The goal of our music program is to bring the children sheer enjoyment through song and dance, and hopefully make their lives richer. Music gives children another medium through which they can express their thoughts and feelings.
Large Motor Activities
Running, climbing, jumping, gymnastics, and loud, exuberant voices are part of childhood! Activities in this area assist the child in becoming aware of the manner in which his/her whole body is coordinated. This awareness allows the body to move freely and release the child emotionally and intellectually to explore all areas of learning. We go outdoors twice daily; for walks or to play at the playground.
Blocks are a medium, which promote the development of many concepts and skills such as size, shape, ordering and classifying. These concepts and skills are basic to the disciplines of mathematics, science, social studies and language arts. Blocks stimulate creativity, offer opportunities for social and emotional development, and give a child a “sense of mastery”, or accomplishment.
Preparing food is enjoyable, exciting, and a source of never-ending knowledge for young children. It is an opportunity for them to sharpen observation skills through use of the senses. They taste and compare sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. They smell the aromas of various fruits, vegetables, and spices. They touch and feel consistency, soft, smooth, wet, dry, and sticky. They listen and hear snapping, beating, grating, pouring, and popping. The experience of preparing food introduces new vocabulary (measure, teaspoon, baking powder, etc…), naturally encourages socialization, and promotes a positive self-concept through a sense of accomplishment, I did it myself!