"If a program is truly developmental, it provides experiences to challenge each child at his or her personal developmental level. In a developmental classroom, much less time is spent teaching children in a whole group. The classroom provides a balance of whole group, small group and individual activity with periods of quiet work and active exploration. It is equipped with a wide variety of rich learning materials which children use in different ways dependent upon their prior knowledge, their interest and/or the interact with children and adults in the room in order to acquire skills, knowledge and explore interests.
Materials are concrete, three-dimeensional and are open-ended, allowing children to use them very differently based upon their developmental level. For instance, blocks may be manipulated and stacked by young children, but become rich resources for exploring number relationships, geometry and other math concepts for older children. Each child is seen as an individual with unique strengths and needs. It is the teacher's role to identify those strengths and needs and to tailor opportunities and challenges for learning and growth for each child no matter what their developmental level.
Integrated curriculum is one that connects diverse areas of study by cutting across subject-matter lines and emphasizing unifying concepts. It combines many subject areas into a cohesive unit of study that is meaningful to students. An integrated curriculum often relates learning to real life. it also recognizes the importance of basic skills and the "incliniation to use them"(NAEYC, 1996). A NAEYC classroom utilizes the concept of an integrated curriculum focusing on themes or units of study apppropriate for children of preschool age. For instance, a preschool class may be concentrating on a unit about food. The study would integrate several subjects areas such as math ("count the number of grapes," what shape is the slice of pizza?"), music (songs about food), art (creative use of foods to make a piece of art), reading (stories about food), and of course cooking (hands-on opportunity to make a certain food).
Developmentally appropriate practice encourages a mixture of teacher-directed and child-directed activities. Teacher-directed learning involves the teacher as a facilitator who models learning strategies and gives guided instruction. Child-directed learning allows the child to assume some responsibility for learning goals.
Developmentally appropriate programs promote children's active exploration of the enviornment. Children manipulate real objects and learn through hands-on, direct experiences. The curriculum provides opportunities for children to explore, reflect, interact, and communicate with other children and adults. Learning centers are one means of providing active learning experiences. Field trips, real life experiences--such as cooking, reenacting historical events or stories, and conducting scientific experiments are some examples of the learning experiences with which we provide our students.
We are dedicated to the best practices in meeting the cognitive, language, physical, social and emotional needs of our children. We look forward to working with you and your child."
Excerpted from the preschool's website