The Early Childhood Years are critical for developing a sense of pride, community, and self-esteem which are essential building blocks for future learning and success. Our emergent curriculum is grounded in the understanding that all children are naturally curious, capable learners. Rather than imposing discrete blocks of time for teaching specific subjects, we embrace early childhood as a flexible continuum that allows us to adapt classroom activities to student interest. Children learn about themselves and the world around them through investigation and discovery, with open-ended hands-on projects, process-oriented art, dramatic play, and social interaction.
The Foundation of the Early Childhood Program
The Learning Environment
Early Childhood classrooms offer a “just right” space for our youngest learnings. This means flexibility to move about, gravitate to area of interest, and engage in the most immediate, relevant ways. In Transitional Kindergarten, this means fostering a learning environment that promotes a deeper exploration of curriculum and increased autonomy.
Exploration and discovery are part of every day while healthy peer interactions build confidence and community. Regularly changing our environment meets the needs of the most curios children and outside time helps us take advantage of both planned and spontaneous play opportunities.
The Teacher as “Researcher”
Teachers serve as nurturer, guide, and partner in learning and discovery. Collaboration is facilitated not only among students but also between students and teachers. Teachers are valued for their experience and inspiration—working as co-constructors of knowledge and actively learning alongside their students.
Observation and Documentation
In the early childhood program, teachers are vigilant observers, constantly listening, noting children’s behavior and growth, and adjusting classroom activities to support each child’s needs. Student portfolios demonstrate capabilities in a personal and meaningful way rather than formal written progress reports. The portfolios are composed of photography, video and written notes documenting children’s work and representing their thought process.
Classroom activities include open-ended, in-depth studies of everyday topics. These are child-initiated, active learning experiences, through which children feel ownership of their learning. As such, they become increasingly motivated learners who can grow as individuals and collaborators.
Learn More About our Early Childhood Program
Traditional academic “disciplines” are explored at appropriate developmental levels and driven in large part by student interest and inquiry. But it is never too early to learn! Our youngest learners are introduced to Spanish, music, and physical education right from the start. Process-based visual arts activities ensure plenty of opportunities for self-expression, and the various developmental domains (literacy, math, science, etc.) are woven into the play-based curriculum—providing a solid foundation for the more structured instruction that begins in kindergarten.