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Downtown Baltimore Child Care Inc

237 Arch Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

(410) 659-0515


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Downtown Baltimore Child Care is a private, non-profit, early Education and child care organization serving children from 12 week through Pre-Kindergarten.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We believe that Childre need to Play to Get Smart! Play is often self selected from materials and activites that are made available to children to enhance their strengths. Children are encouraged to talk and listened to with respect. They are encouraged to solve problems, develop peer relationships, and engage in self directed, focused learning, Children are encourage to see differences and understand that everyone has similarities and dofferences in looks, abilities, and family structures. DBCC encourages anti-bias learning.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught Downtown Baltimore Child Care follows all the state standards, utilizing the Maryland Model for School Readiness, for preschool children and Healthy Beginnings: Supporting the Develoment and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age for infants and toddlers.

From the Director:

PHILOSOPHY Downtown Baltimore Child Care is a place where children play to get smart! (Cooper and Jones, 2005). It is an early care and education center where young children are enriched by each other, caring relationships with the teachers, a stimulating environment, and a carefully planned emergent curriculum. DBCC’s focus on child development and play allows the children to meaningfully integrate physical, social, cognitive, and academic growth while they pursue their own interests and learn to cooperate in a group. The Theory: DBCC’s motto, “Childhood should be a journey, not a race,” defines our humanistic philosophy of early childhood education. Our curriculum does not begin with a pre-programmed schedule of themes, topics, and events designed by outside experts. Instead, it begins with each individual child. In order to learn, children first need to have their physical and emotional needs met – they need to be fed, rested, and healthy. They need to feel secure and loved. They need to feel confident and capable that their environment can be safely explored. (Maslow, 1968). Having these needs met consistently allows children in their infancy and early childhood years to develop trust, autonomy, and the skills to plan and act with purpose. (Erikson, 1963). A prerequisite for all learning is the ability to take risks. Children whose needs are met will more likely be able to explore and to take initiative for their own learning. Curriculum Development: DBCC uses the Maryland State approved Creative Curriculum as a guide for all age groups. DBCC offers a program that focuses on not only what children learn, but also how children learn. DBCC’s program integrates physical, social, emotional, and intellectual experiences for individual growth and development. Play is at the center of DBCC’s program. We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement that, “Play is important to healthy brain development.” (Ginsburg, 2006). DBCC classrooms are organized for active play. Infants in action: For infants, curriculum means more than “stimulating” the infant with toys. DBCC’s approach is based on the principle of relating to infants with respect. (Gerber, 2002). From this perspective, curriculum consists of building trusting relationships with caregivers in addition to exploring the world. Consistent care giving and routines are a vital part of our infant curriculum. Schedules are adjusted according to each child’s eating and sleeping rhythms. In this way, trust is built between the infant and the care provider. Holding and touching are determined by children’s preferences for body contact, so they can be gently introduced to sensory and motor experiences. Infants are talked to, read to, sung to, and played with to encourage the development of language, motor skills, and early peer social interactions. During infancy, as at every other age, all areas of development--cognitive, social, emotional, and physical are intertwined. Infant classrooms are especially designed so adult caregivers can easily respond to children’s language, gestures, and needs. This allows caregivers to participate with the babies as they learn to safely explore their world. (Brazelton, 1969). Toddlers and Two-year olds in action: Toddlers and young children learn best from first-hand experiences. Educator and author Bev Bos says, “If it hasn’t been in the hand, it can’t be in the brain.” (Bos, 1994). Manipulative materials such as paint, play-dough, sand, water, blocks, puppets, and props for dramatic play comprise a vital part of DBCC’s curriculum. Children are encouraged to explore and test their ideas, each in their own way, at their own level of understanding. Children are taught to make simple choices and use this skill to promote peer relations. Teachers model using language to help children learn about and label their emotions. John Medina, in Brain Rules for Baby, advises that this facilitates connecting the nonverbal and verbal pathways in the brain. (Medina, 2011). Preschoolers in action: Preschool classrooms are designed around interest centers that allow children to make choices, move freely, grow in areas of need, and develop personal interests. Learning centers are equipped so that children can pursue special projects, utilize language, create artistically, explore mathematics, and experiment scientifically. There are carpeted places for reading and listening to music. There are opportunities for cooking activities and for the care of plants and animals. Indoor and outdoor space is dedicated to a range of activities to develop large muscle skills and build strong, healthy bodies. Children are encouraged to self-select among activities that are provided to develop cognitive skills as well as enhance divergent thinking and problem solving skills. (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009). While a play-based curriculum might not look like what you would expect a preschool classroom to look like, early childhood research supports that the most valuable early educational experience for children is one that supports the development of executive function and self-regulation. (Galinski, 2010). Language development is carefully encouraged at DBCC. Children ask questions, challenge assumptions, and work cooperatively. Language is a key to every classroom experience. Opportunities abound for writing and early reading skills. From our youngest infants to our oldest children, adults read to children on a daily basis. No one needs to raise his or her hand to speak. Children are encouraged to talk and therefore they learn language in its original, meaningful context. DBCC children know their ideas are taken seriously and respected. With adult support, all children are challenged to reach beyond what they can do independently and tackle new, higher levels of skill. (Berk and Winsler, 1995). Teachers: DBCC’s teachers facilitate learning through exploration and discovery, interacting with all children as unique individuals and nurturing their developing sense of independence and accomplishment. Teachers utilize several roles to enhance children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skill development. Teachers set the stage for learning by setting up the environment; they mediate children’s conflicts, and complicate the children’s play. Teachers spend time observing in order to gain knowledge about all the children in their class, to determine the group dynamics, and to identify the strengths and needs of both the individuals and the group. Teachers assess children’s progress through observing and documenting their daily activities and using tools such as anecdotal records, portfolios, the Work Sampling System for Preschoolers, or the Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum for all age groups. After determining children’s strengths and areas of growth, teachers use that knowledge to plan for the group and for the individuals. They set goals, determine activities, and plan curricula. (Jones and Reynolds, 1992) Solving Problems/Discipline: DBCC’s focus on individual development and play allows children to plan, negotiate, solve problems, and plan again. Children’s socio-dramatic play allows them to “exchange worldviews with their peers” and with their teachers, and develop an ever increasing understanding of how the world functions. (Nimmo and Jones, 1994). An important part of our teachers’ responsibilities involves helping young children identify their own feelings and the feelings of others. It is our goal that children develop the ability to self-discipline. Limits are clear and firm so children are able to function comfortably without a lot of adult correction, but flexible enough so individual needs are met. DBCC’s children have plenty of opportunity for problem solving and conflict resolution. Answers are not automatically given to children - instead, open-ended questions are posed, “What do you think?” “What is your idea?” “How are you feeling?” “What happened?” “How can we make that better?” Conclusion: A local paper proclaimed that DBCC offers the “care of a relative in the learning environment of a private school.” (City Paper, Best of Baltimore 2008). Our enriching program provides emotional support, intellectual stimulation, creative outlets, and social interaction in a safe and secure environment. Our philosophy of education is based on a model of children as highly competent human beings, born not only ready to learn, but passionate in their quest to grow, develop, and become productive members of society. Our approach is unapologetically child-centered without any urgency or anxiety to prepare for elementary school or some unknown future. Our ultimate goal is that the cognitive practice gained by working through play scenarios and actively choosing their industry gives children their first experiences in the democratic process of developing consensus. (Jones and Cooper, 2006). We are proud to think that today’s DBCC students could one day use the skills fostered in our school and create a positive change in a family, a community, or even the world. It was many years ago when Jean Piaget said, "The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done — men who are creative, inventive and discoverers." (Piaget, 1988). This is the essence of DBCC’s philosophy!

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Class sizes are small with excellent adult to child ratios so teachers can work with children on an individual basis. EAch child is recognized as being unique with their own infdividual strengths and areas of growth.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc. is a non-profit, educational, organization whose mission is to provide outstanding, all-day, group child care, where the concurrent development of the physical, social, intellectual, and emotional aspects of the child can be fostered and nurtured. This is accomplished through individualized, play-based, interactive learning in a diverse community.

A Typical Day

7:30 – 9:00 Arrival time. Children and Parents are greeted as they arrive. Work time in the hallway or the classroom – determined by the teacher and the children. Children are free to play, talk, and interact with teachers or classmates. Dress ups are available for boys and girls as well as dramatic play. Manipulatives, sensory table, woodworking, science activities, blocks, library, and art are available.

9:00 – 9:30 Breakfast. Children wash hands and are invited to eat. Some children may continue working.

9:30 – 10:30 Outdoor play, weather permitting, (or hallway time if there is precipitation). Children are encouraged to ride bikes, climb, play in the sand, play ball, run, jump, and explore nature.

10:30 – 11:30 Work time in classroom. Children are free to play, talk, interact with teachers, or classmates. Dress ups are available for boys and girls as well as “home” play. Other areas include manipulatives, sensory table, woodworking, science activities, blocks, library and art. Special teacher directed activities such as cooking is also available.

11:30 – 11:45 Clean up time – teachers are involved with children as they put away their playthings.

11:45 – 12:00 Meeting time – group gathers to hear a story, sing, or talk about plans. Classroom problems may discussed and children may be involved in creating solutions.

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch time. Children wash hands before eating. conversation is encouraged during lunch. As children finish eating, they clean up, get their bedding, and look at books.

1:00 – 3:00 Nap Time - Teacher plays story tape, quiet music. Non-nappers work with quiet activities, such as markers and paper.

3:00 – 3:30 Wake up time. Nap stuff cleaned up. Children wash hands and sit down for snack.

3:30 – 4:30 Outdoor play, weather permitting, (or hallway time if there is precipitation). Children are encouraged to ride bikes, climb, play in the sand, play ball, run, jump, and explore nature.

4:30 – 6:00 Work time in classroom. Children are free to play, talk, interact with teachers or classmates. Dress ups are available for boys and girls as well as “home” play. Other areas include manipulatives, sensory table, woodworking, science activities, blocks, library and art.

6:00 Center closes.
(Schedule is subject to change to meet children’s individual needs.)

Building language and vocabulary takes lots of practice. Children are encouraged to express themselves verbally. There is no “hand-raising.” Children learn the give and take of language, how to problem solve using language, and how to get their needs met using language. It is also important for children to learn how to listen to another person.
Children in the pre-K are expected to learn to rely on language for problem solving. We want children to learn that language has a lot of power.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Assessments are performed using the Teaching stratgies Gold Assessment associated with the Creative Curriculum. Preschoolers are also assessed using the Work Sampling System of Assessment used by the MD State Department of Education. Parent conferences are held twice a year. Ongoing communication occurs throughout the year using phone calls, daily contact sheets, email, conversations at drop off and pick up times.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

DBCC utilizes a staggered enrollment process for new children, allowing children and parents to establish trust in their new teachers and care providers. Staggered enrollment schedules are developed individualy with individual parents.