"We believe that young children learn best through what they do best - play. They are eager seekers of knowledge about themselves, others and the world around them. Active play engages both the body and the mind. It is our job to create a safe and exciting environment that intrigues the children who spend their days with us and provokes their curiosity. We must also provide the nurturing and emotional support that helps children develop the self-confidence to meet the world head on.
While many adults may view play as frivolous or aimless, children are really very purposeful when they play. They experiment and learn about the physical world. They begin to learn about other people and their feelings and about their own feelings and how to express them. They make choices and plans. Play helps them organize and test ideas and feelings, solve problems and try new things. They find pleasure in accomplishment and discovery. They make mistakes and learn to make good decisions.
Language and communication are fundamental to our program at every age level, from the youngest infant through the twelve-year-old after-school student. Teachers talk to and read to children and help them find their own words when they are ready. They answer the myriad questions that children have and encourage children to express their feelings and ideas with their own stories. At the preschool and Pre-K levels, teachers transcribe the children's stories, often accompanied by their drawings and paintings. We believe the communication is essential to learning and living together and we work hard to give the children the skills they need to succeed.
We are often asked what we are "teaching" the children. We like to point out that children are always learning, whether we are "teaching" or not. We provide a setting in which children at all age levels can explore by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Toys and equipment are rotated on a regular basis to keep the surroundings fresh and intriguing. Activities are planned that encourage the children to think, not simply receive information. Experiments with all sorts of materials, from art to science to building to movement, challenge children to master new skills and concepts.
Our program offers developmentally appropriate activities at all age levels, activities that take into consideration how children learn as they grow through various age levels, and allow each child to progress at his/her own pace. We use the emergent curriculum approach by which teachers plan activities in response to children's interests and integrate activities from all developmental areas into the plan. We believe that learning is a lifelong pursuit, that each of us grows each time we learn something new. We hope to instill in children a thirst for learning and a satisfaction in doing one's best.
Inherent in all that we do is the nurturing and support from skilled teachers who truly delight in each child's achievements. Teachers value each child as an individual with unique talents, needs, likes and dislikes. They listen to and observe children in order to be able to understand and respond to needs and concerns. They encourage the self-esteem, self-confidence and self-control that is essential to learning. They help children learn to be friends and develop relationships. They celebrate the diversity in our population, understanding that it brings with it a wealth of creativity, experience and new ways to see the world.
Excerpted from the preschool's website