Our philosophy of appropriately engaging children in their own learning has generated projects galore in every classroom. Through working co-operatively in groups using problem solving and social negotiation skills, each childs cognitive awareness and intellectual confidence is actively nurtured. Throughout this process, the children are growing exponentially in personal empowerment and creativity as they work together toward a common goal. Whether making baby owls and nests; constructing a wild beehive and bees; walking to Triangle Park to meet their seasonal tree; building and populating a beaver lodge; sculpting a life-size owl; creating a frog pond; making mice and mouse houses; completing height and weight chartsor taking a field trip by school bus to Open Lands, Daniel Wright Woods or Ryerson forest preserve the children are learning by doing and interacting with others.
Our curriculum focuses upon horizontal enrichment through the development of social competence, personal empowerment, independence, creativity and intellectual curiosity. Literacy, math and science are skillfully embedded in all activities using developmentally appropriate approaches. Although we encourage the use of upper and lower case letters in writing a childs name from the beginning (use of upper case letters is often a difficult habit to break) handwriting is not, and should not, be a focus in the early childhood classroom. (The neural development for use of the small muscles in the fingers and hands is often immature at this age). Conversely, there is a plethora of opportunities for children to experiment with written language, and they are encouraged to do so freely and often. The Zoophonics program with its zany sound/symbol animals introduces phonemic awareness, phonics and the alphabet using a fun-filled format. Curious Creatures keep children guessing while learning inductive and deductive reasoning strategies. Active, appropriate learning opportunities nurture a lifetime of intellectual appreciation and enjoyment.