We use the Creative Curriculum model at Adventure Center which is a research-based curriculum that utilizes developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). This means that we teach in ways that match the way children develop and learn so as to promote their optimal development and learning.
There are 5 fundamental principles of Creative Curriculum:
- Positive interactions and relationships with adults to provide a critical foundation, for successful learning.
- Social-emotional competence is a significant factor in school success.
- Constructive, purposeful play supports essential learning.
- The physical environment affects the type and quality of learning interactions.
- Teacher/family relationships promote development and learning.
Children tend to develop stronger self-regulation skills when they are in adult-supported rather than adult-directed play situations. Supporting rather than directing their behavior gives children the best chance to develop their own regulatory skills.
Early pro-social behaviors such as cooperating, consoling, helping and sharing have been found to predict later academic achievement. Children are more likely to use pro-social behaviors when their teachers use positive guidance strategies and a curriculum that emphasizes the value of community.
Young children's social-emotional development involves learning how to understand their own and others' feelings, regulate and express their emotions appropriately, build relationships with others and behave prosocially in groups. These crucial skills have been found to predict successful kindergarten transition, early school success, and even later accomplishments in the workplace.
We help children develop these social-emotional skills when we:
- Offer opportunities for children to work together and to learn social skills. Pair more advenced learners with less advanced peers.
- Help children detect and interpret cues about how other people feel.
- Read stories to children about various emotions. Discuss why the characters look, feel, and act the way they do.
- Use positive strategies to guide children's behavior and help them learn how to cooperate with others.
- Teach turn taking, sharing, and model cooperation.
Every day, children find a variety of art materials available on our shelves. Drawing, painting, pasting, molding, and constructing are not only enjoyable but also provide important opportunities for learning. Children express their ideas and feelings, improve their coordination, learn to recognize colors and textures, and develop creativity and pride in their accomplishments by exploring and using art materials.
We are just as interested in the creative process as we are in what the children make.
These building toys are among our most valuable learning materials. They come in proportional sizes and various shapes. When children build with blocks, they begin to understand math concepts. For example, they learn about volume when they find the number of blocks that fill a certain space. They compare the heights of their buildings and learn about geometric shapes (triangles, squares, and rectangles). When the lift, shove, stack, and move blocks they explore weight and size. Each time they use blocks, children make decisions about how to build structures and solve construction problems.
Children often use blocks to represent the world around them, perhaps a road, a house, or a zoo. As they work together, they learn to cooperate and begin to understand friendship.
Children love to take on different roles and enact real life experiences. They use props and make-believe to deepent their understanding of the world.
Pretending is very important to your child's development. Children who know how to make believe develop good vocabularies, which are important for reading. They learn to cooperate with others, to solve problems, and to think abstractly. All of these skills are important for success in school. When children pretend, they recall and re-create experiences. To do this, they need to form mental images. For example, to play the role of a doctor, children have to remember what tools a doctor uses, how a doctor examines a patient, and what a doctor says. In playing a doctor, or other roles, children learn to cooperate with others and to share their ideas.
MUSIC AND MOVEMENT
- Singing and moving to music gives children a chance to hear and appreciate different kinds of music, express themselves through movement, and practice new skills. The children love our daily time for singing together, and it helps them learn to cooperate in a group. Here are some of the things we do to encourage a love for music and movement.
- Listen to many different kinds of music.
- Play instruments to make our own music.
- Give the children colored scarves and paper streamers to use as they move to music.
- Chant during our daily routines such as cleaning up.
- Sometimes we take music outside and the children dance and act out songs.
Physical exercise and fresh air are important for your child's health and well-being. We take children outdoors every day so they can run, jump, swing, climb, and use all of their large muscles. They move around, breathe fresh air, and catch balls and bugs. They look up to watch the clouds, birds, and they climb high to look down.
SAND AND WATER PLAY
Although you are probably used to seeing your children splash in the bathtub and dig in the sandbox, you may be surprised to know that the Sand and Water area is an important part of our school program. Both sand and water are natural materials for learning
When children pour water into measuring cups, they are exploring math concepts. When they drop corks, stones, feathers, and marbles into a tub of water, they are scientists who are exploring whether objects sink or float. When they comb sand into patterns, they learn about both math and art.
Young children have many questions about the world around them. They ask, " Where did the puddle go?" "What do worms eat?" "How can I make my truck go faster?" "Do fish go to sleep?"
In our classroom, the Discovery area is a place where children explore and investigate to answer their questions. They observe, experiment, measure, solve problems, take things apart, and handle the materials and living things we put out. They predict what will happen as a result of their actions.
In the Discovery area children do what scientists do. They ask questions, plan and conduct investigations, gather information, construct explanations, and communicate findings. They also learn important scientific concepts as they study plants, animals, magnets, properties of materials, light, shadows, how things work, rainbows, the human body, our senses, how things move and change, and more. In addition to learning science content, they learn how to solve problems together and how to communicate with others.
TOYS AND GAMES
Puzzles, various table blocks, small construction materials such as Lego pieces, board games, and collections of objects (including shells, bottle caps and buttons) are some of the materials in this area. When children use toys and games, they explore how things work, use their imaginations, strenghen and control the muscles in their hands, work cooperatively, solve problems, and learn content area concepts.
When children cook, they have opprotunities to learn about nutrition, to be creative, and to prepare their own healthy snacks. Cooking teaches academic skills too. When children learn to follow picture recipe cards they develop skills for reading and writing. Measuring ingredients gives them a lesson in math. Whipping egg whites and melting cheese are lessons in science.
When children cook, they are scientists, observing what happens to flour when they add water to it and guessing how high we should fill a muffin tin so the batter won't overflow. Cooking is very special part of our program. It is one of the few activities children get to do that is also done by adults. In their dramatic play, children pretend to be grown-ups who make and serve meals. They also read books and sing songs about food, but while cooking, children actually behave as grown-ups We would love for you to come in and introduce the class to your child's favorite foods.
The library is where children gain the foundation for reading and writing. It is also a place where children can relax and enjoy the wonderful world of books.
We encourage children to look at books, retell stories, and scribble and "write" throughout the day. Sometimes children dictate stories that we write down to share with everyone.
We read stories with the children every day. Reading introduces new ideas, helps children learn how to handle problems, and encourages them to love books. As they listen to us read, their own reading skills begin to develop.
**During all of these activities, teachers are talking with children about what they are doing. We ask questions and encourage them to think, talk, experiment, and express their feelings.