"In understanding child development, we look at Luke 2:52 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." How did Jesus grow? Jesus grew in wisdom (cognitive/intellectual development). Jesus grew in stature (physical development). Jesus grew in favor with men (social/emotional development). Jesus grew in favor with God (spiritual development). In the child-centered preschool, education involves the whole child and includes concerns for all the items mentioned in the above scripture, the child's spiritual, physical, cognitive, and social development. Instruction and assessment are organized around the child's needs, interests, and learning styles. The process of learning, rather than what is learned, is emphasized. Recent research reveals that preschool children learn best through active, hands-on teaching methods such as experimenting, exploring, discovering, trying out, and restructuring. Children develop at varying rates and the school needs to allow for these individual differences. We will focus on improving children's social development as well as their cognitive development. Educators refer to this type of schooling as developmentally appropriate practice, which is based upon knowledge of the typical development of children within an age span(age appropriateness) as well as the uniqueness of the child (individual appropriateness). Kiddie Prep School embraces the following principles and practices of developmentally appropriate practice taken from this document: Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). 1. Wholeness of the child. Children are whole persons in whom physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development are integrated. Each area of development is important and affects every other area of development. Note: KPS recognizes that each child has a spiritual dimension as well, and that this area needs to be addressed. 2. Active involvement. Children must be active participants in their own learning. Manipulation of real, concrete, and relevant materials contributes to children's understanding. 3. Interaction with adults and peers. Learning occurs when children interact with people in their environments. Interactions with both adults and other children facilitate the mental manipulation and ownership of ideas. 4. Authentic experiences. Children learn best from personally meaningful experiences that flow from the reality of their lives. When school experiences reflect the reality of life beyond the school, learning is more purposeful and relevant. 5. Appropriate learning activities. Appropriate learning activities include projects, learning centers, and such activities as building, drawing, writing, discussing, and reading. Research exploration, discovery, and problem solving are examples of recommended educational experience. 6. Integrated curriculum. Integrated thematic units form the foundation for appropriate curriculum, enabling children to make connections among and between ideas and knowledge. . 7. Intrinsic motivation. Fostering intrinsic motivation has the potential to support the development of responsible and autonomous learners, that is, learners who develop a passion and love for a lifetime of learning. 8. Authentic assessment. Evaluation of children's progress should flow directly from the tasks and experiences in which they have been engaged. There is a tremendous normal variability both among children of the same chronological age and within an individual child. Children's social skills, physical skills, cognitive skills, and emotional adjustment are equally important areas of development, and each contributes to how well children do in school. Within any group of children, one child may possess advanced language and cognitive skills, but show poor social skills and emotional adjustment; another child may have advanced social skills, be well adjusted emotionally, and have good physical skills, but have poor language skills. The precise time at which a child will achieve a certain level of development or acquire specific skills is difficult to predict. Learning and development do not occur in rigid, uniform ways. Childhood is not a race, it is a journey. We need to remember that and give children adequate time to develop as thinkers, knowers, and problem solvers."
Excerpted from the preschool's website