Preschool & Child Care
Children are divided into four specific groups based on their age. We have a room for 6wks -12 months, a room for 12 months – 2 ½ yrs, a room for 2 ½ -3yrs, and finally a room for 4-5 yrs old. Each room has an age appropriate focus and the curricula is outlined below.
Children explore, push boundaries and test limits. As they play, children gather information through trial and error, cause and effect, and practice. According to Sara Smilansky’s research, there are four types of play: functional, constructive, dramatic/pretend, and games with rules.
Functional play is a form of play in which children use their senses and muscles to experiment with materials and learn how things go together. These hands on experiences are the best teacher. Children learn best when they are surrounded by high-quality experiences that are imaginative, engaging and rich in language, especially when guided through these experiences by skilled, caring, thoughtful adults.
Constructive play is different from functional because the children’s actions are purposeful; they have a plan with an end goal. Teachers must validate and reinforce this type of play, and prompt them to extend it.
Dramatic, or pretend play, typically involves children taking on a role as they use real or pretend objects to carry out that particular role. Studies have shown a high connection between high levels of dramatic play in preschool and cognitive, verbal, and social ability measures in the early elementary grades.
Games with rules require a new depth of self control. Children must control their behaviors to conform to a set of rules. Games include table games and movement games. This helps a child control their behavior. Children should gear their attention toward enjoying the game, rather than winning. Each child needs the chance to choose and explore their materials alone, but learning increases when others come along to help. Friends can experiment using materials in new ways and when they stumble upon something new, they learn.
Research shows “...that children who experience play-based, active learning do as well and better on early school tests as their peers who experience more paper and drill-based, passive learning” (Elizabeth Jenkins). Aside from the fact that this is a research supported way of learning, we love this idea because young children learn better through play and words, than through words alone.
Meeting them where they are using practices based on Age, the Individual and Traditions.
Age Appropriate: As educators, we know enough about children to make broad assumptions on typical behaviors in certain age groups. This allows us to make decisions ahead of time regarding materials, room setup and activities.
The Individual: With these considerations, we then take the time to understand each individual, within each age group, to be responsive in a manner appropriate for that child. We learn more about each child through observations, clinical work and talking with families.
Traditions: Lastly, we can incorporate each family’s traditions or cultural backgrounds using direct teaching from the parents. We can also address different cultural backgrounds through our teaching which educates the whole class and helps them respect a diverse group of children.
Teachers must be intentional in all they do, right down to how they set up their environment. Through these three areas teachers can see each child as they are in order to make their learning experience have the most impact.
This approach ensures that your child isn’t receiving a cookie cutter education, but rather a unique learning experience where the teacher meets them where they are and helps bring them forward.
Thematic elements are used based on the time of the year and the children’s interests. Themes work hand in hand with our play based curriculum. The materials are rotated based on themes, for example, during our fall theme, our sensory table may have a pumpkin with the top cut off, fall leaves or corn that needs to be shucked. When children become interested in something specific, the teacher can maximize their curiosity by creating their entire curriculum around it. The classroom may change in appearance based on the theme. One day we are police officers monitoring our city, and the next day we are dogs and cat crawling around our owner’s home! Themes also help guide discussions. When the children see a book of strange underwater animals, they want answers on why God made them that way. Using research, discussion and experiments, the children learn why.
Some examples of themes found in our center include, but are by no means limited to:
Our character development program is integrated throughout the day by the examples our teachers set forth, and through circle time discussions based on photographs, pictures, and stories. We are able to create an atmosphere that reflects love by using the scripture from the Bible in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This is how God wants us to treat people. Training children to have hearts of gold, and a set of manners to boot, begins with prayer. Our teachers commit to spending time praying for the children. Teachers also place emphasis on the importance of being trustworthy, kind, giving and loving. We teach that God is loving and that’s what He desires us to be too. Character development is shown when a child uses words instead of fists, or when a child admits they told a lie, or simply when they share. Their character will largely determine where they go in life, just as much as the information they learn at school. They will make the choice, but our goal is to spur them onto the right choice.
5605 N. Marksheffel Rd. , Colorado Springs, CO 80923 | P. 719-574-0186 | F. 719-574-9384 | 6:30 am - 6:00 pm Monday - Friday