"In 1987 the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) published Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8. This national standard for all early childhood programs, revised in 1997, sets forth the position statement that "a high quality early childhood program provides a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of young children while responding to the needs of families. Although the quality of an early childhood program may be affected by many factors, a major determinant of program quality is the extent to which knowledge of child development is applied in program practices--the degree to which the program is developmentally appropriate."
Since 1982 the program at Woodinville Family Preschool has been based on child development theory and research. The relatively recent use of the term "developmentally appropriate practice" by NAEYC has served to validate our curriculum. Our philosophy has always been based on what is known about how young children develop and learn. The developmental appropriateness of the program at Woodinville Family Preschool was further validated in June 1995 with the awarding of national accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Research in the area of cognitive development in young children suggests that children learn best in an enriched, multi-sensory environment that is age-appropriate. Each child should be free to interact with this environment in a learning style and at a rate most appropriate for him/her as an individual. The preschool program in which this type of learning can best transpire is one in which the major portion of the day is devoted to free play. Free play allows each child to explore multi-sensory experiences when and how s/he chooses. Concepts can be learned in the way the child is most comfortable--through art, music, stories, math or science experiences, cooking projects, or dramatic play.
Excerpted from the preschool's website