We believe in an inclusion program that integrates children with the disabilities and other challenges into the group of typically developing children. Individualized care and education is another goal. We believe that this will come about when we respect individual, family, and cultural values and beliefs by incorporating them into our daily routines to the extent possible. We individualize feeding, diapering, napping, and socialization. For an example, we will pay attention to the home feeding and sleeping approaches and rituals. We will find out the child’s favorite activities and the environmental characteristics at home, and we try to incorporate at least some of these into our center’s environment and routines, so the child feels consistency between home and the center.
We help to ease transitions and turn them to positive experiences. Transitions include: separation from parent, separation from caregivers at the center, moving from inside play to outside and back, transitions to mealtime, going to sleep and waking up, and going home at the end of the day.
We believe in providing activities of all sorts, which will fall into two basic categories: 1. The essential activities of daily living (feeding, diapering, etc.) during which the primary and sometimes secondary caregivers are working one on one with the child and focused on building a secure relationship. These activities are considered vital to the learning process and are carried out by caregivers trained to be gentle, respectful, and responsive to involve the child so he or she learns to be cooperative from the beginning of life. 2. Experiences that respond to the child’s individual interest and involve the senses, as well as supporting self-help skills, problem-solving skills and motor development. These occur throughout every day and along with the essential activities of daily living which provides opportunities for children’s language development in the home language and in English if the home language is other than English.
Progress is monitored and documented throughout the year and includes written observations, checklist, as well as documentation through photographs and video. Information from parents (through forms and conferences) is also part of the data and documentation.
Our continued goal is to provide a nurturing, secure, consistent, and home-like environment for all the children in our program. Through the methods listed here within our philosophy statement, we hope to assure that these goals are met to foster the appropriate development of each and every wonderful child in our care.
Research and Literature Based Philosophy
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) sets forth standards for the early childhood profession and provides a guiding light to effective strategies for the classroom. Provision of developmentally and individually appropriate activities in the classroom create an environment where children can benefit and thrive. Additionally, as an institution of higher learning, we base much of our philosophy from Educational Theorist.
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences emphasizes that different children learn through different modalities. In order to accommodate multiple learning styles, the classroom teacher is encouraged to use many different techniques to teach the children in their classroom group. Repetition of the concepts presented in different ways will engage the child in a way that uses their learning strengths.
Maslow’s Theory of the Hierarchy of Needs focuses attention on the importance of meeting the needs of the child so that they can then focus on learning task. The classroom teachers’ attention to individual needs creates a positive atmosphere that is conducive to learning.
Piaget places the young child in the sensory-motor and pre-conceptual stage of Cognitive Development. Multi-sensory experiences which result in the pleasant stimulation of the senses bear learning results. Children also need to move their bodies within a learning environment. The mind and body are connected in this holistic approach to learning. Movement is an integral part of the Early Childhood environment. During the pre-operational stage of development, the child is exploring their world and they begin to notice and classify objects according to one attribute at a time. They focus on what they see and are not yet able to apply logic in their everyday experiences. They need concrete encounters with real objects to understand their world.
Vygotsky focuses on their inter-relationship between social development and cognitive development. Recognizing the social component of learning from and with others, creates a classroom environment where each child and each adult in the environment is valued as an important component of the classroom. Children assist each other, assist the adults and adults assist the children. The classroom is alive with interaction.
Smilansky’s research draws a connection between socio-dramatic play in preschool years and the benefits to later cognitive, verbal and social skill development. Play creates an opportunity for children to develop skills and abilities that can then be applied in real life experiences.
(Adapted from the Creative Curriculum, Theory and Research Behind the Creative Curriculum, p.1-15)