The Children’s School at Saint John’s strives to create an experience that is pleasant and enriching for all. It is our belief that children grow best when surrounded by positive feelings and an atmosphere that promotes a sense of belonging, mutual affection, respect and trust. The Children’s School at Saint John’s assists in developing the “whole child” so that he or she becomes fully alive physically, emotionally, intellectually, mentally and spiritually. Each child is unique, possessing an unknown and unlimited potential for growth and an intellect to be stimulated and enriched by caring educational professionals.
We endeavor to provide a wide variety of experiences, which will challenge and encourage the children to grow, play and learn. Play is the child’s primary medium of learning – the avenues of self-expression, organization, and making sense of the world. Learning occurs when children are actively involved with people and materials in an environment that is happy, safe and secure. Therefore, by providing a developmentally appropriate experience, we will also be laying a strong academic foundation that will provide children with skills necessary to succeed in every phase of their life.
The Children’s School at Saint John’s integrates The Letter People, Handwriting Without Tears, Everyday Math, and Journey’s Reading Series into its everyday program. Like our belief, these curriculums are also based on the philosophy that children learn best through hands-on activities that address the needs of the whole child. Weekly opportunities are provided for teachers to facilitate development in domains- language, emergent writing, math, science, social and emotional, approaches to learning, physical health and development and creative arts. In addition, our curriculum reflects the belief that children need a balance of child-initiated and teacher-facilitated activities each day. This approach is grounded in sound child development theory and practices. IT also reviews state and national standards for early childhood education and takes these into account when planning.
Goals & Objectives:
o To promote interactive learning and encourage the child’s construction of knowledge.
o To encourage development of positive feelings and disposition toward learning while leading to acquision of knowledge and skills.
o To provide content that is relevant, engaging, and meaningful to children.
o To incorporate materials that respect and support individual cultures.
o To build on and elaborate children’s current knowledge and abilities.
o To facilitate integration of content across traditional subject matter.
o To encourage active learning and allow children to make meaningful choices.
o To foster children’s exploration and inquiry.
o To promote the development of higher order abilities such as thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making.
o To promote and encourage social interaction among children and adults.
o To respect children’s physiological needs for activity, sensory stimulation, fresh air, rest, and nourishment/elimination.
o To promote feelings of psychological safety, security, and belonging.
o To provide experiences to promote feelings of success, competence, and enjoyment of learning.
Areas of Development:
It is our goal to create a multi-dimensional and comprehensive program for children to experience an assortment and inclusive of well-rounded activities. The following domains will be incorporated into our curriculum and weekly schedule of activities.
Fine & Gross Motor
Social Studies & Science
The children are introduced to developmentally appropriate materials and activities through the use of learning centers within the classroom. These centers are hands-on areas that include the areas of development mentioned above. Through the use of these centers the children will be encouraged to investigate their surroundings, solve problems, and think independently in a manner that supports their freedom and to learn at their own pace. Learning centers are continuously updated and changed to meet the changing interests of the children and to support and enhance a developing topic or curriculum idea. Learning centers also provides the teachers with an opportunity to observe activities and assess children’s developmental progress.
Our learning environment is supplied with an assortment of materials and supplies to offer children an array of opportunities for investigation, manipulation and utilization. It is our belief that each child develops at his or her own pace through their own particular learning style. Therefore, it is essential that plenty of attractive and stimulating materials be assessable to children during both independent and teacher-directed activities for exploration. Subsequently, each classroom is equipped with a stable supply that attracts to many senses. A typical classroom consists of the following staples:
o Blocks: unit, lincoln logs, soft, cubes,
o Manipulatives: legos, bristle blocks, potato head, pegs, lacing shapes
o Literacy: books, matching games, listening sets, writing utensils, alphabet games, puppets
o Science: water & sand tables, animals, magnets, cooking
o Mathematics: color & shape games, measurement, counting bears, puzzles
o Dramatic Play: dress-up clothes, dolls, cooking utensils, mirrors,
o Art: paper, glue, scissors, paint, textured paper, sequence,
Family Participation & Communication:
We strive to develop partnerships will our families to support children’s learning. Both parents and teachers play a key role in achieving the well-being and healthy development of each child. We believe that good communication is the beginning, and we offer various opportunities to encourage comments, concerns and suggestions.
• Parent Information Center
• Letters and Notes
• Parent/Teacher Interactions
The Children’s School at Saint John’s believes it is important that teachers of young children understand the need for assessment in the classroom setting, evaluate children and take stock of their growth and development. We strive to implement daily methods of authentic assessments within the classroom setting to show what children can do, what they know, and what they learn. Our goal is to paint a more accurate picture of who the child is and how the child is growing and learning over time.
The following methods are incorporated throughout the year on each child enrolled in the program:
- Approximately, within 45 days after enrolling in the Center, each family will engage in a Social Conference. This first meeting is a time to get to know each other, to share information, and to discuss in greater detail goals for the future. Additionally, the teachers will discuss the findings. This is a screening tool completed by both parents and teachers and then discussed in length that incorporates questions and observations to track developmental progress and to identify potential developmental delays.
• Work Sampling/Ounce: A tool used to observe and document children’s growth and progress which reflects common activities and expectations in early childhood. It takes place in the context of everyday classroom experiences and consists of actual examples of classroom activities. This performance system assesses and documents children’s skills, knowledge, behavior, and accomplishments as displayed across a wide variety of education domains and on multiple occasions. It consists of three complementary components: 1) Developmental Guidelines and Checklists and 2) Portfolios. Parents are provided written copies for review.
- Conferences are held after the completion of the assessments ~ two times a year ~ to share and translate between teacher and parents. This is an opportunity to share information, ask questions and adjust developmental plan.
Conducting ongoing observations and making preliminary checklist ratings give teachers information that will guide instruction. Listening and watching children closely, discovering the diverse ways children show what they know and can do, will enable teachers to incorporate this information into their instructional planning, and thus making teaching more intentional and responsive to the needs within the classroom.
All observation and assessment materials will be kept confidential and only shared with necessary individuals within the School who are involved with the direct care of the child. Assessment results will only be shared outside the School with written permission to do so by the parent.
Observation and documentation will begin upon entry into a specific classroom through formal and informal methods.
SHARING RESULTS/FAMILY INVOLVEMENT:
Completing an overall evaluation of each child will give teacher time to reflect on each child, to create an individual profile of their achievements, and to view the “whole child.” Once a child’s performance is evaluated comparisons can be made to standards for children of a similar age. In addition, a child’s current performance can be compared with his/her past performance as evidence of personal progress and growth. Once final ratings are recorded, teachers can highlight specific examples from observational records to illustrate strengths and areas of concern during parent-teacher conferences.
Face to face conference will be offered after each reporting period. Additionally, parents are always welcomed to request a meeting to discuss any area of concern at any time throughout the year.
Together, parents and teachers can review and direct a plan for the future. This plan will include both short-term and long-term goals, identifying the child’s areas of need and interests, and provide the opportunity for future child progress. Additionally, supportive materials and referrals can also be discussed if necessary as a result of the assessment process.
Work Sampling/Ounce Profiles: Will be used during the year as an ongoing assessment of children’s growth and development across the domains of early childhood education.