Much dedicated consideration and research went into selecting an approach that encompasses our views and ideas about children. The outcome is a Reggio--inspired curriculum; a project and inquiry-based approach that values the child as strong, capable, and resilient and embraces their desire to guide their own learning. This desire inspires an emergent curriculum, which is a way of planning that is based on the child's interests at that time. Learning is a natural, everyday occurrence and children thrive and gain the most knowledge when they are truly interested in a topic.
Imbedded in our beliefs that children have rights, we inherently feel that children have a right to high quality early childhood education. We provide an environment rich in materials, natural experiences, and social interaction, leading to a variety of learning possibilities. Educators encourage children to make discoveries, to play with and build on their own ideas, and to interact with others in a meaningful manner. The environment is ever-changing, as it's built to be responsive to children's need to explore and reflective of their interests. When children come into their program, they feel a sense of belonging, as much of what surrounds them was created by them or aimed to engage them.
You will see...
Children engaging in both environmental and interest-driven projects throughout the year
Portfolios in reach that display children's experiences and work
Children documenting their own and others work and creating dialogue
Boards of observation; photographs, dialogue, work samples
Projects in process and completed on display throughout rooms
Goals for Young Children
To learn through active involvement with people, materials, projects, and the community
To become independent, responsible, and empowered
To feel secure, supported, and respected
To learn to plan many of their own activities, carry them out, and talk with other children and their teachings about what they have done and what they have learned.
To learn to express their feelings and build rewarding relationships
To naturally gain knowledge via project work, group activity, and individual experiences; allowing them to grow socially, emotionally, and physically; and build skills in language, literacy, mathematics, art, science, and social and culural studies
What is Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)?
"Developmentally appropriate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development.DAP involves teachers meeting young children where they are (by stage of development), both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet challenging and achievable learning goals." -National Association for the Education of Young Children
For more information, visit www.naeyc.org/dap.
Examples of DAP
- Potty training when a child shows interest and readiness
-Introducing age-appropriate materials and experiences, allowing children to grasp concepts when they are ready and interested
- Balance between amount of time spent in free work and project work. Children should spend a large portion of their day in free work
Examples of what is NOT DAP
-Worksheets, rote-drilling, teaching at children
-Expecting children's work to look like an adult model. Their work will look like they created it.
-Expecting a child to do as another child their age is doing. Children learn at their own pace and have their own personalities. Childhood is colorful, not black and white.