"each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered for himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely." ~ Jean Piaget
A child's first school experience is pivotal - it sets the tone for future learning and builds a foundation that lasts a lifetime. We want to ensure that every child's Dean College Children's Center experience is meaningful, productive, and in keeping with current research in child development.
The Dean College Children's Center is on-campus preschool for area children ages 2.9 to 6 years. The equipment and curriculum materials in the Center have been designed to encourage maximum development of a child's social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. Students work with college faculty and the Children's Center staff to plan lessons and teach in addition to meeting with parents about their children's educational development. Peer conflict resolution is encouraged and practiced throughout the day at the Children's Center.
Many parents are familiar with the traditional unit approach to teaching, where the day is organized around a theme such as transportation, community helpers, etc. We have adopted a different model, the High/Scope Curriculum, which places its emphasis instead on 10 Key Developmental Indicators essential for success in preschool, kindergarten and beyond: approaches to learning, initiative, social relations, creative representation, music and movement, language and literacy, and logic and mathematics. Interactions and peer problem solving are an integral part of the program.
Each day is organized in a plan-do-review sequence:
1. Planning time
2. Work time/free play
3. Recall and review
Children are taught to make choices and accept the consequences thereof, a developmentally appropriate task for a 3-4 year old who is struggling for autonomy and independence.
The classrooms are organized in a variety of activity areas: art and invention, dramatic play, blocks, reading/writing, manipulative games, discovery, gross motor play, music/dance, and computers.
Teachers function as facilitators. They speak in open-ended questions:
"What else could we do with this?"
"Two children want the same bike. What can we do?"
The program develops and evolves from real events in the classroom or the children's lives: an unexpected snowstorm, a new pet, a visiting baby. We do not celebrate the seasonal holidays at school since they are overstimulating to young children in a group setting. Through peer problem solving techniques, children gain valuable skills in understanding others needs as well as their own needs.
Excerpted from the preschool's website
Arrival, morning planning grouptime, worktime/freeplay, end of session recall grouptime, outdoor play/exercise.