"Our philosophy at PCK is to bring families together into an educational community. Teachers, parents, and outside resources come together to provide a rich environment where children can develop healthy physical, emotional, and intellectual capacities. In order for children to grow in these areas they must participate in a safe, secure, and friendly environment where relationships are formed with other children and a network of caring adults. Within this caring environment children must be engaged in developmentally appropriate, inquiry-based, experiential learning opportunities that gradually expand their understandings of themselves and their worlds.
In order to provide this setting our preschool focuses on three main components: physical setting, community building, and developmental curriculum. First, close attention is paided to the physical environment of PCK. Our pyhsical setting is based on Reggio Emilia's research on creating "an amiable environment where children, families, and teachers feel at ease." Additionally, the materials in each classroom are carefully chosen to enhance children's developmental experiences. Even the decorations on the walls are selected to enhance and reinforce PCK's curriculum.
Second, community building is a central force behind the success of child development at PCK. We believe it takes a village to raise a child. Taking the cooperative approach to teaching and learning emphasizes the value of relationships. We purposefully maintain one of the lowest teacher/student ratios in Knoxville in order to facilitate these relationships. In addition, families are an integral part of the learning process. They are encouraged to participate in the life of PCK, and to engage with the teachers and each other in creating an exceptional preshool experience for children. We also participate with the local community to support and enhance the program whenever we can. Community events include teacher and parent workshops, field trips, and outside presenters.
Third, our curriculum is teacher-created and based on the research of child development experts, educational philosophers, and practitioner experience. Our curriculum is founded on the research of early educational experts such as Piaget, Dewey, Malaguzzi, Montesorrie, and Vygotsky. All of these researchers support a child-centered, hands-on, experiential curriculum that respects individual differences in development. Children are encouraged to gradually move beyond their previous comfort levels and to embrace to challenges that expand their understndings of themselves and their worlds. Vygotsky calls this method "teaching in the zone of proximal development." Only once children are comfortable with previously acquired skill can they take risks necessary to gain new abilities.
The curriculum is constantly being improved and adapted based on new research and materials. Our teachers document the development of children, collect evidence of progress, and meet with parents to discuss children's growth. They also meet with each other once a week to engage in educational dialog and address curricular needs. More specifically the curriculum places a large emphasis on language development. We incorporate music, sign language, and a bilingual component into our curriculum to facilitate growth in this area. Our curriculum also includes activities that encourage social/emotional, fine motor, sensorimotor, and gross motor development. Knowledge of basic preschool concepts such as shapes, colors, letters, and numbers are all included in PCK's curriculum.
Pre-K Program Philosophy
The Pre-K program provides high quality care for children in Pre-Kindergarten. The goal for Pre-K care is to provide the children with a safe and happy environment where they can socialize with other children their own age and learn through both unstructured and structured activities. The development of independence is important for three to five year-old children. We provide a relaxed learning environment for the Pre-K class while providing the structure and readiness opportunities that support a high quality preparedness program. Our curriculum is partially based on the Knox County Kindergarten Literacy Assessment.
Excerpted from the preschool's website