Our program’s curriculum is designed to address all aspects of child development. Children are given opportunities to learn and develop through inquiry, exploration, and play. Learn more about NAEYC here.
Nature-based learning experiences happen both indoors and outdoors. They are both planned and unplanned experiences. Examples of planned learning experiences that are part of our nature-based curriculum include writing in our nature journals, weekly visits from our animal ambassadors and animal educators, and taking trail walks for a specific purpose. Unplanned nature-based learning happens when teachers discover something interesting and make use of a teachable moment. For example, if we find an acorn that has sprouted on the playground, we can use that as an opportunity to study how living things change as they grow.
Standards-based learning experiences are planned by our teaching teams using two sources:
Standards-based learning experiences typically take place during indoor playtime. During indoor playtime, our students have the opportunity to engage in self-selected and teacher-directed activities. For example, if the skill we are working on is “demonstrates knowledge of patterns,” then the classroom teachers will set up a learning activity to allow children to perform that task. One teacher will be stationed at the learning center to observe and conference with the children so that the teacher can understand each child’s abilities and needs. Teachers have daily opportunities to work with, observe, and assess individual children and small groups on specific skills related to the standards. Learning experiences are designed to help children get better at reasoning, solving problems, getting along with others, using language, and developing cognitive skills.
Problem-based learning experiences typically take place during indoor playtime. During indoor playtime, our students have the opportunity to engage in self-selected and teacher-directed activities. For example, if we are working on a problem-based task, the teaching team will set up an area for the children to work in small groups to solve the problem. The teachers will present the problem-based task to the children and the children will have time to think about the problem, work out a solution, gather materials, build or create it, try it, revise it and share the results with their peers.
Earthplace Preschool is home to a diverse community of learners. The curriculum and learning experiences can be adapted to reflect the values, beliefs, and experiences of the families in our program. For example, we can represent a variety of family structures in our dramatic play and literacy centers. We can also have displays and toys that represent a variety of people with differing abilities and skin color. We can also invite family members to read to the class in their native language and share with us their culture.