The best atmosphere for learning is one of acceptance, fun, fairness, consistency, encouragement, and mutual respect for each other and our planet. A predictable and organized learning environment, with caring adults, clear expectations, and appropriate consequences support the whole child-cognitively, socially, and emotionally. The outdoor play environment is an extension of the classroom, requiring the same level of adult planning, supervision, and involvement with the children. We teach our kids to be respectful of their surroundings, so our center will be in the constant state of “going green”, where we are striving to minimize our ecological footprint. We recycle, grow seasonal veggies, and otherwise try to be as kind to our planet as possible. We want our kids, families, and community to be an active role in protecting and improving where we live!
We are not a day care or babysitting service, but a developmental center. The principles that guide our curriculum has its roots in what is called DAP or developmentally appropriate practice. Each month we have a learning topic. Instead of focusing on different themes each week, we will be focusing on these subjects all month long. We will always continue to present activities and materials that reinforce our topics through art, science, math and language, music and movement, circle time, pre-reading and writing activities.
What is Emergent Curriculum?
Emergent curriculum describes the kind of curriculum that develops when exploring what is socially relevant, intellectually engaging, and personally meaningful to children. The basic idea is that organic, whole learning evolves from the interaction of the classroom participants, both children and adults. “As caring adults, we make choices for children that reflect our values; at the same time we need to keep our plans open-ended and responsive to children” (Jones and Nimmo, 1994, p3). In emergent curriculum, both adults and children have initiative and make decisions. Emergent curriculum is never built on children’s interests alone; teachers and parents also have interests worth bringing into the curriculum. The values of all the adults involved help the classroom culture evolve. The curriculum is called emergent because it evolves, diverging along new paths as choices and connections are made, and it is always open to new possibilities that were not thought of during the initial planning process (Jones and Reynolds, 1992).
Our Educational Philosophy
“Cooperative” or “co-op” defines a group of people coming together in a joint effort. A cooperative school is a group of parents or family members joining together to best educate their young children. While we are not considered a legal cooperative, we strive to conduct our educational activities based on a cooperative spirit. We commingle parent interaction (parties, parent night, family clean up day) with a professional staff of teachers to develop build community and guide each child through their school day and early childhood learning.
Early childhood development is a process that is continually changing and expanding, therefore both structured and unstructured activities are offered for children. However, our basic philosophy is one of freedom to learn, grow, and make choices. We believe that children learn through play, and we have structured the environment to reflect that belief. This does not mean that the program is not carefully planned. Staff is encouraged to be flexible and to allow the children freedom to learn at their own pace.