Lindgren Child Care Center

Preschool

(33 months to 5 years)

Activities of social, motor, language, cognitive and sensory experiences are planned for the preschool children. They include large and small group activities for the day, music experiences with songs or dance, story telling and role playing, creative movement activities, finger plays, arts and crafts, woodworking, outdoor play and special field trips around campus.

Philosophy

The philosophy of the Preschool Program is to provide children with endless opportunities to explore and investigate the world in which they live. The children's interests are paired with educational experiences that are relevant, engaging and meaningful. We believe that children who become active participants in their learning will continue this trait through their educational careers. To assist the children in becoming active learners, we have adopted an emergent project based curriculum.

Curriculum

The Learning Environment

It is only as children search for answers to their own questions via discussion, investigation, and experimentation that they begin to grasp and understand complex concepts that are foundational to later learning. Rather than use teacher directed thematic units, teachers integrate curriculum goals carefully within open-ended projects of inquiry chosen by the children (Katz & Chard, 1989).

The Creative Curriculum® /Project Approach

Studies are models to implement investigative, project-based learning in our classroom.

Studies are one of the most effective ways for children to learn science and social studies content while developing skills in literacy, math, the arts, and technology. They support children’s wonderful ability to become totally engaged in topics and activities that interest them, and they gently challenge children to extend their thinking to ever higher levels. Studies are meaningful to children because they provide them with opportunities to gain information through direct observation and experimentation and then to link new ideas to what they already know.

Studies help children develop content knowledge, because they meet children’s need to work on projects over time and to be guided by adults who know how to help them construct understandings. Each day’s learning builds upon what was studied before, and each new study provides opportunities for children to extend skills acquired in previous work.

To engage children in a study, the classroom teacher will select a topic based on children’s interests, derived through observation; learn about the content that can be addressed; identify related investigations that will interest their children; and plan ways to introduce the topic, guide learning, and document children’s understandings.

Each Study outlines a coherent process that is based on how children construct understandings in science and social studies. The process includes:

  1. Exploring
  2. Formulating questions
  3. Finding answers to the questions through investigations
  4. Celebrating learning through culminating activities

Studies are models to implement investigative, project-based learning in our classroom. As you gain experience with project-based learning, you can use these Study Starters to generate new ideas. Whatever studies you decide to try, you will find that each offers a wealth of learning opportunities for children.

Constructivist Approach

The Lindgren Child Care Center classrooms utilize the following curriculum and theoretical approaches that fall under the Constructivist umbrella. The constructivist approach encourages self-directed discovery, hands-on, and experiential learning derived from previous experiences.  Depending on the individual children that are enrolled within the different classrooms, the below theorists and approaches are used eclectically to implement the infant curriculum:

Vygotsky: Vygotsky believed that cognitive development was a journey children explored with others. With the assistance of expert partners and guided participation, children are able to connect new experiences with what they already know. 

Piaget: Piaget provided support for the idea that children think differently than adults and his research identified several important milestones in the mental development of children. He believed that children went through four stages of cognitive development which helped them understand the world around them, just like a scientist.

Reggio: A constructivist approach that embraces the importance of the natural environment, children’s own thinking and development. It is self-guided through active engagement with people, materials and the environment.

Pedagogical Approach: Hands on approach using the different learning styles such as listening, discovering, discussion and doing.

Project Approach: It is a child-centered philosophy that allows children to become active learners as they work, learn and grow within the environment. 

The above theories and approaches are integrated throughout the day, weeks and months to support the children’s learning.

Assessment

Our chosen assessment tools are designed to be family friendly and cover all developmental domains.  The preschool curriculum is enhanced and modified to meet each preschooler’s needs according to assessment results. The Lindgren Child Care Center uses the following screening and assessment tools:

We use a variety of opportunities to assess children and share information with parents/guardians. Our assessment procedures align with our program curriculum and philosophy, in that they are non-intrusive to children’s play, they are done indoors and out, and used to help teachers follow children’s interests - guiding curriculum planning and designing the classroom environment. Information gathered throughout on-going assessment is used to determine individual needs, create goals with the families and discuss/implement plans for how these needs can best be met. The ultimate goal of assessment is to evaluate what developmental areas the child needs more experiences with and to inform planning in the classroom and at home.