When developing our curriculum, we prioritize the emerging needs and interests of the children.
EMERGENT CHILD-CENTERED CURRICULUM/VERMONT EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS The program’s curriculum has its foundation in research that shows play (the exploratory and creative activity that young people initiate themselves) is the primary way young people develop concepts and understanding of the world. Play helps children develop skills necessary for critical thinking and leadership. Play is how children solve problems and feel good about their ability to learn. Play is not just a part of the curriculum, play is the best way to engage the children in the curriculum. Our curriculum is a balanced blend of child-directed, teacher-framed and individual learning experiences. We carefully integrate the Vermont Early Learning Standards into our curriculum planning. The daily schedule reflects time for children to be part of a large group, small group and time alone. It is set up with the belief that children need to learn how to make their own choices, learn to follow directions and respect the people and environment around them. Giving the freedom to children to make their own choices and decisions is emphasized in our program, but young children need more than just the freedom to make choices. They need teacher guidance to help them make these choices within an intentionally planned structure that promotes their sense of security and invites purposeful actions. The ability to initiate learning through purposeful play provides the foundation for lifelong learning skills necessary for personal, academic and professional fulfillment later in life.
In planning our curriculum, our teachers make the process of learning the priority. This means that how and what children do is more important than an end product. It also means there is continuity throughout the unit, with discussions followed by activities and vice versa. Activities are hands-on and encourage children to make discoveries on their own, meaning the children may take activities in a direction other than the teacher's plans. The program does not suggest that materials should be used in a single or best way, rather we invite children to find their own way to do things, and to learn from the variety of the responses of their peers. Curriculum is designed to be flexible and emergent based on the needs and interests of the children. While teachers provide an engaging intentional, environment and materials, they must also remain responsive to the unexpected interests and needs of the children themselves. When teachers scaffold the learning of children, ask open-ended questions, and share in the discovery of learning with the children, a rich community of learners emerges.
The foundation of our curriculum planning is centered on the direct observations teachers record as they engage and work with the children. Intentional observation of children provides a rich stream of important information that allows teachers to plan curriculum that is tailored to the needs of the children in their groups. E.J.'s carefully embeds traditional concepts of learning into our curriculum practices including letters, numbers, colors, shapes, science, social studies, technology, math, literacy, sign language, social-emotional skill building, writing, the arts and more. Children engage in a deeper sense of learning and understanding when the vehicle used to teach material is one in which they enjoy and are invested. E.J.'s goes to great lengths to share all aspects of the children's learning with families in written form, in displays, in classrooms and throughout the entire program. It is important to us that families share in all aspects of their child's learning and adventures at E.J.'s!
Traditional concepts of learning will be embedded into the children’s curriculum in a thoughtful, intentional manner. Some of the traditional concepts teachers will integrate are as follows: (but not limited to)
*Health and Nutrition *Community Connections *The Natural World: weather/seasons, animals/habitats, changes in the natural world *Holidays/Celebrations: harvest, festival of lights (Santa Lucia, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, solstice and the New Year) and more *Friends, families and loved ones *Appreciation of diversity and cultures *All about me *Colors *Shapes *Letters (uppercase and lowercase) *Numbers *Writing Concepts *Sign Language *Foreign Language *Literacy and Early Reading *AND MORE!
In addition to the opportunities children are exploring in the various activity centers, the curriculum provides experiences with music, movement, cooking, woodworking, math, literature, dramatic play, science, artistic creativity, sensory exploration and much more! To better understand the Vermont Early Learning Standards, please follow the link provided in the "additional resources" section of this website.