Relation of Our Program to Growth Characteristics

Physical Growth

Independence is "routines" such as handwashing, taking off and hanging-up coats, and toileting is encouraged. Self help skills in feeding such as spreading and pouring are encouraged.

Much equipment is available to encourage both large and small motor activity. Specific teaching of skills is done in response to the child’s needs and interests. For exapmple, when a child is stuck on top of a jungle gym, guide him in discovering how to get unstuck, rather than just lifting the child down. "Keep holding on with your hands and reach down with this foot," (and touch the specified foot). "I’ll help your foot find the step," (and you physically guide his foot to the right step).

The program may encourage development of specific skills by the varied equipment provided, and the way the environment is organized.

Emotional Growth

Listening, sitting at their level, using their names, expressing appreciation for their accomplishments, helping when needed and encouraging independence, are all things that promote the child’s sense of self-worth.

Their ability to stay at school without their mothers; their discovery that there are other friendly adults who will help them; their solutions to physical, social, and intellectual problems will promote independence and self-confidence for the child.

Respect for the child’s feelings, while limiting their expression of those feelings, helps the child to learn self control. You can express these sentiments in many ways, like –"I know you are angry that you cannot have that toy right now, but Billy needs a chance to play with it for a few minutes before he will be ready to give you a turn. It’s alright to feel angry, but I won’t let you grab the toy. You will have to wait." Or –"Sometimes we are afraid of things that might make loud noises. Do you want to watch the fire truck through the window?" Or –"It is hard to say good-bye sometimes. I will stay with you while your mother leaves. Would you like to sit on my lap until you feel ready to play?"

Social Growth

Some children need to watch for quite a while before they are ready to join in. Do not feel you have to make the child do anything. On-looker activity is a very real form of social behavior. It is participation- a stepping stone of group interaction.

Certain areas/activities of the school promote spontaneous group play. We need to arrange equipment and provide props to encourage such play. Our playhouse, and dramatic play settings such as a McDonald’s, fire hat and hose, and block people and animals, are examples of such areas/activities. Cooperative painting on a large paper turns a usually solitary activity into a social one.
Physical skill activities such as jumping off the board, sliding, bean-bag tossing, etc, teach routines for taking turns as well as physical skill. Negotiation of the use of space and equipment in the sandbox teaches social problem solving.

The adult’s role is primarily in arranging the environment. During play, the adult supervises the observance of a few rules such as "People aren’t for hitting", "If you didn’t build it you don’t knock it down", and "We take care of our toys". The adult also acts as a resource suggesting additional equipment or play roles as the child’s interest indicates. Sometimes the adult may add word- vocabulary-to help the child enrich their play. For example, "The person who adds up your groceries is called the checker", or "Every grocery store needs a stocker to fill the shelves back up after the people buy things".

Intellectual Growth

Because Children have a need for self selection, and younger ones need frequent changes and activity, a variety of activities is provided. In order for children to be able to find play spaces independently, a minimum of one and one-half play spaces per child must be available.

Many opportunities are provided for children to use language. Enough adults are present to introduce new words in meaningful contexts. Child to child talk fosters increasing fluency and clarity. Language skills are also developed through music, stories, and language games.

The most effective teaching is done in response to the child’s needs or interests. We sometimes encourage these needs and interests by the materials we provide. Other children will also be stimulating to the child.

- by Teacher Debby