"Our philosophy is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) developmentally appropriate practices. Children's play is a primary vehicle for developmental growth. Children learn best by doing; it requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world be live in. In the early years, children explore the world around them by using all of their senses. In using real materials such as blocks and trying out their ideas, children learn about sizes, shapes, and colors, and they notice the relationships between things. Therefore, child-initiated, teacher-supported play is an essential component of developmental appropriateness. Examples of developmentally appropriate learning activities for three, four, and five year olds are:
Language, activity and movement.
A great variety of experiences, including small motor skill activities.
Print-rich environments as language skills develop.
Increased experiences that expand interest into the community.
Meaningful group experiences as attention span increases.
Indoor and outdoor opportunities for expanding use of all motor skills.
Basic math, memory, and problem-solving experiences.
In addition, we believe that the educational environment that most effectively promotes significant learning is one where:
the individuality and uniqueness of each child is valued, respected and trusted;
external threats to self such as rejection, criticism, competitive evaluation, reward, or punishment are at a minimum; and
the child is free to explore the materials and resources that are available in light of his/her own interests, potential, and readiness.
We provide many alternative activities for the children, and encourage them to make their own choices. The children may choose from any available option, depending upon their mood and personal preference. A child's opportunity for choice is only removed when there is concern for the safety of oneself, others, or the damaging of property.
We encourage our children to be autonomous in all respects. In addition to choosing activities, children are free to decide what results they want from their chosen activity. Offer to help a child in an activity only if they seem frustrated. Independence extends to snack and bathrooming time as well. Although it sometimes may take longer for a child to pump the soap, pour the water, clean the spill, these are all important parts of their learning and development of their self-esteem.
We encourage children to resolve their own conflicts. Think of yourself as a mediator rather than a problem-solver. Let them try to work it out first, instead of immediately intervening (except when a child is in physical danger). We want them to develop the skills to communicate. Take the children by the hand and help them communicate with words how they feel and what they don't like. Remember, it takes TIME, but it really pays off!
We emphasize personal responsibility. This includes helping to clean up the classroom as well as interpersonal behavior; if a child accidently hurts another, the child could help care for the person who is hurt by getting a drink of water, a cool cloth, a tissue, etc. If someone spills something at snack, a friend might offer to help clean it up. Let children feel empowered by taking part in these events; it develops empathy.
Be positive. If a child is engaging in an unacceptable behavior or activity, help him/her find an acceptable alternative. If a child can't throw the blocks, what CAN they throw? Bean bags? Scrunched up newspaper? What CAN they do with sticks? Dig? Throw them over the fence? Play a drum?
Remember that the classroom belongs to the children, and their ideas may not be the same as adults. Take time to listen to their view; ask questions, and watch the beauty of childhood unfold before you!
We have a number of routines within our day's activities. Our goal is to provide a familiar and comfortable environment for the children, however, our schedule is always subject to change based upon the needs of the children on a particular day.
We encourage children to respect one another, the teacher, parents, and themselves.
If discipline is required, its purpose must be to help the child to learn acceptable alternative behaviors. We teach through meaningful consequences that are relevant to the behavior at issue. Under no circumstances is physical punishment, threats, or intimidation of any kind permitted.
Toy guns, swords, etc. are not permitted in the classroom. Games that involve imaginary gunplay or similar action are discouraged by offering alternative ideas and providing other forms of power play. Some ideas include pretending to put out fires, playing hospital, moving equipment and materials, standing up to paint, providing capes, using louder voices, and allowing time and space for big muscle movements. Another alternative is to help navigate the \"gunplay\" so that people feel safe, aware of their actions, etc.
The special nature of Cedar Lane Nursery School is the close working relationship between parents and teachers, a relationship which fosters an understanding of child development and parent/child relationships which parents can carry over into their home environment for the enrichment of their personal family life. The bi-weekly participation of parents in the classroom, the parent education presentations on topics of interest to the school community, membership and our contact with professional associations such as PACT, MCPPNS, MCCA, and PCPI enhance our philosophy of children, parents, and teachers working and learning together
Excerpted from the preschool's website