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CURRICULUM

Spirituality

  1. Based on the vision of Shir Shalom
  2. Activities and content are based on family and cultural components.

MasterMind Approach to Education

  1. Utilizing theories of Gardner, Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Waldorf, Reggio, Montessori.
  2. Based on the premises of teaching to the individual child’s strengths, interest and relationships.
  3. Building on each child’s present and future success towards developmental milestones needed for higher learning.
  4. Using all areas of brain processing to comprehend emergent concepts.
  5. Play is a child’s work.  Children are given the freedom to explore their environment independently and with guidance choose their daily activities. Studies show that children who get to choose some activities in preschool have better life outcomes. Studies show that when children have the chance to make choices at the tender age of 3 or 4, rather than having all dictated by teacher, they have better long term social and life outcomes on a variety of measures.
  6. ABCs and 123’s – Emergent literacy and math skills are strong predictors of a child’s later school success.  Our environment enhances these skills and interest by providing the opportunity and exposure to these concepts in every area of play and learning.
  7. The emphasis on daily activities relate to the whole child.  All teaching is directly connected to life experiences. The Learning Center places an emphasis on the use of art and nature in the classroom.  Using the outdoors as an extension of the classroom is a crucial piece of the curriculum.
  8. Social skills and emotional intelligence are fast becoming the buzzwords in education. More and more research is being done regarding the need for the young child to be self regulated in order to learn. There is no other program that is actively and consciously building on these concepts.   We are helping children get ready to learn by addressing their abilities “to handle their emotions and knee jerk reactions. “  This means being able to pay attention and problem solve so when get to higher learning they can:
    • keep track of time
    • keep track of more than one thing at once
    • meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
    • engage in group dynamics
    • evaluate ideas
    • reflect on their work
    • change their minds and make mid-course and corrections while thinking, reading and writing
    • finish work on time
    • ask for help
    • wait to speak until they’re called on
    • seek more information when they need it.

INDOOR ENVIRONMENT

  • The physical environment of our school speaks for itself. The rooms are spacious, airy, clean, well lit and – above all – safe. There is more than just sufficient space for our children and teachers to foster success in all children and families. Our state of the art sky lights provide natural light that further complements the feeling of openness created by all the windows to the outdoors.
  • There are a wide variety of materials available for the children to use during the school day.  Each room is organized with specific areas of the child’s development in mind usually complementing the other areas near by. Some of these areas usually include: arts and crafts, dress-up, block play, a reading corner, and activities for children to work on individually or in small groups.
  • We also provide an indoor environment that caters to a child’s gross motor skills everyday.  Research shows that children need to move to activate parts of their brain for heightened learning.  This is done using specific indoor equipment and activities above and beyond running around in a gym.

OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT

  • Our playground was specifically designed as a natural playground.
  • We view the outside environment as an intricate part of the classroom. Year round easels have been created to further connect art and nature.  Being outside is part of everyday at The Learning Center.
  • There has been much discussion and research recently about nature and it’s affect on children and learning. Naturalized playgrounds provide more opportunities for diversity of play, further supporting social interaction and physical development of a wide range of children. Our playground will meet the individual needs according to stages of development, learning styles, personality types, friendship patterns and culture.
  • Direct contact with nature allows the minds of children to develop a sensitive appreciation for the earth.  More and more children are being deprived of this opportunity.

PARENT COMPONENT 

  • Understanding each individual parent child relationship and its impact on learning are crucial for the success of the child attending The Learning Center.
  • Separation is as much a child process as it is a parent process.  If needed we provide the opportunity to make this a healthy process by having a parent room so a child can take a moment to visit the parent during class and then return to their group of friends.
  • Parents are an intricate part of the continued progress a child makes.  Our standard is to include parents in communication about what is taking place in and out of the classroom setting and welcoming their expertise about their child.
  • We embrace the many individual differences that define a family and how the child sees their role and others in the family.
  • We offer a variety of classes, services, and resources that parents can choose to be a part of.

NUTRITION

  • Healthy eating is a strong part of The Learning Center.  Snack is more than just food.  It is another way to help children learn about community and one another.
  • Every child has a role in getting ready for our snack experience from setting the table to voicing their likes and dislikes.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are a mainstay of learning about healthy eating and taking care of ourselves.
  • Helping one another by passing foods or asking a friend to open their string cheese is encouraged and provides a sense of independence.

CHILDREN’S ART

  • Every child is different so their art work should reflect their differences.
  • All work is presented in an open ended way to help children learn the developmental benchmarks needed but in their own interpretation.
  • The Learning Center encourages the process of the art and exploration of mediums not just the finished product.
  • In choosing activities consideration is always given to the role the body and mind of each child works and interprets the directions. Knowing what a child needs to enhance the pre- skills of early reading and writing is used during the art process as well.

A Day at The Learning Center

9:00 Come on in!-Children put their “stuff” on their mats and bring an adult with them in the room.  This is our transition time.  Children are encouraged to walk around the room with their parent and calmly find an activity to do while the rest of the group is arriving.

9:20-The transition numbers come out to get the children ready for Circle Time.

Nobody wants to be interrupted when they are working hard or in the middle of doing something.  This prepares everyone for what happens next.

9:30-Circle Time.  Circle Time at The Learning Center is not your typical Circle Time.   This is an interactive group time.  Our focus is getting our mind and body ready to learn. The Hocus Pocus Box may sound magical to the kids but it is a brain warm for the rest of the day.  An obstacle course is pure fun for preschoolers but we now know kids in motion get their brain working as well.

9:50Structured Group. This may be building blocks as a group, creating through different art mediums, journal writing, story-telling on tape, creating snack for later…the ideas are endless.

10:10- What’s Your Plan?  Everyone has to indicate what their intentions are for Free Play.  They may only attend to it for a short time but once they commit they need to follow through.

10:15-Free Play.  Nothing at The Learning Center is without rhyme or reason so Free Play is not free.  This is where the young child really learns the playground politics of life.   Sharing, taking turns and breaking down the steps to interact with others is at its peak at “Free Play!” All this goes on at the same time they are learning the academics of pre-reading, writing, math, science, etc.

10:45 Transition Activity

Everyone has a turn to wash their hands and then find their placemat at the table.  We wait for our friends because that what friends do.  Jobs are posted as everyone sets the table

10:50-Snack.  We hope this will be a true social event at The Learning Center.  We encourage lots of quiet conversation and socializing. By putting on soft music and dimming the lights we add to the ambiance.

11:15-Outside.  Weather permitting we go outside everyday!  Kids do much better when they get lots of movement.  Inside or outside this is the time we recharge our batteries with an assortment of activities.

11:40Clean-up. Whether you played with it or not everyone gets a chance to pick out something from the Clean-Up Bag.  This is usually done in groups of 2 or 3 children so they have to work together!  Being able to organize, sort, categorize and work with others is all a part of cleaning up.

11:50-A story! A story!  The literature read at The Learning Center always packs a punch! What better way to help children understand their own behavior than hearing about a character that does the same thing in a book!  From mitzvahs to tsores, from rhymes to prose, fiction or non fiction early literacy is one of the foundations at The Learning Center.

12:00-Goodbye!   Our day is done…Rest up there is always tomorrow!