ABOUT OUR PROGRAM
Children’s days in the NLRSD Early Childhood Program are comprised of open time for play, exploration, and collaboration. Days are not driven by the clock or teacher agendas, but aspire to be responsive to the children’s work and play. The NLRSD early childhood staff is committed to creating a place where children can unfold with joy, wonder, and delight.
We believe curriculum happens ALL DAY and it encompasses everything that happens during our time with the children. We believe that “ordinary moments” offer “extraordinary possibilities”. Even the most mundane moments hold great potential for surprise, wonder, discovery and learning. There are always questions to pursue, theories to develop, hypotheses to investigate, and discoveries to celebrate. Curriculum is embedded in every routine, activity, action, and interaction.
Long periods of time are reserved for children to work and explore, giving them time to engage deeply with materials, each other, and their ideas, questions, and challenges. Short periods of time are spent in large group with teacher and children talking, reading, writing, and thinking together. All the while offering children many opportunities to represent and re-represent their understandings. Children are invited to draw their idea for an “invention”, paint their block buildings, or use clay and/or wire to re-create a leaf. When children represent and revisit their experiences and understandings using a range of media, on different scales, from one-two-three dimensions, they extend and deepen their thinking.
Classroom spaces offer children the opportunity to engage in sensory exploration, dramatic play, building and construction, creative expression, problem solving, writing and drawing, and reading. Children work with their peers or alone, immersed in building with blocks, dressing up, reading books, working with clay, paints, and other media, constructing with boxes, pvc pipe, wood or wire, writing letters, drawing pictures. Teachers watch and listen to children, documenting their work in photos, video/audio recordings, and written notes, offering support and resources to extend their work and thinking.
“Our challenge as educators is to participate in the moment without controlling it; ...to remain present and engaged in the experience as it unfolds; [to follow] the child’s path of interest rather than focusing on a predetermined outcome or plan.”
(Alise Shafer, Evergreen Community School)