From the Director:
We follow the guidelines for early childhood teaching developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Guided by research about how children most easily develop and learn, we practice developmentally appropriate teaching. In a developmental approach to teaching, teachers know that decisions about what should be learned, and how and when it would best be learned, vary by child. At CDS, preschoolers learn through play. Play is children's work; it is the way that young children discover, interpret and come to understand the world. Through both cooperative and independent play, children explore, test ideas, acquire information and draw their own conclusions. For example, imagine a group of children building a block structure. During that activity, students are simultaneously learning fractions, cooperation, taking turns, the properties of wood, making plans, disappointment, acting as a leader or follower and the excitement of completing a project. Children need an environment with opportunities for active exploration and involvement. We provide this through our use of developmental learning centers. Both indoors and outdoors - in our rich playground and farm and garden areas - teachers create learning centers designed for different developmental activities. These centers allow children to pursue their interests at their own pace and engage in meaningful activities that lead them to learning in a natural, yet directed manner. Classrooms have specific areas for art, music, sensory exploration, reading, listening, building and using manipulatives. Spoken and written Spanish is routinely infused into the program. The children's interaction with these materials, with each other and with their teachers in thoughtful, directed play nurtures the development of the whole child and ultimately fosters growth of early reading, writing, math and science skills, laying the groundwork for successful future learning.