The Family Center Early Childhood Beliefs
Our inquiry-based and integrated curriculum is influenced by the Missouri Early Learning Standards, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and current child development theory. We are inspired by the innovative public school system in Reggio Emilia that emphasizes respect for each child and the child’s ability to influence his or her own learning.
We believe young children learn to make sense of their world through play, exploration, inquiry, collaboration, and interaction with others including peers, teachers, families and their environment. When given the time and space for play, children practice regulating their emotions and further develop their social and cognitive skills while gaining self-confidence to engage in new experiences.
We invite children to explore and solve problems independently or in small groups where cooperation, collaboration and disagreements intermix through an environment that is rich in possibilities and provocations.
We believe in reciprocal learning relationships among children, teachers and families. We value all children’s capabilities and intelligence, teachers as researchers, and families as their child’s first teachers. We are a community of learners. Children, teachers and families work together to create trust and connections. Our identities are formed by our relationships and interactions with others and with the environment that surrounds us.
The Role of the Teacher
We value a co-teaching relationship where teachers maintain a balance between being learners along with the children as well as teacher-researchers who serve as a resource and guide lending knowledge to children. Teachers carefully listen, observe, and document children’s thoughts, ideas, beliefs and current understandings. Teachers engage in self-reflection and reflective conversations with colleagues and children in order to support the growth of community in the classroom and to provoke children’s thinking.
We believe curriculum is organic, emerging from the interests of the child, teachers and families.
Listed below are the Enduring Understandings of the Early Childhood curriculum. These are statements that summarize important ideas and core processes that are central to a discipline and have lasting value beyond the classroom.
- Social Emotional Development and Approaches to Learning
The child with a strong foundation in social relationships and a positive attitude and approach to learning is on his or her way to becoming a life-long learner.
The child will demonstrate the ability to take initiative, develop self-direction, organization and display a positive attitude toward learning. He or she will learn to cooperate with others through play.
- Language and Literacy
Language and Literacy development focuses on the child’s growing ability to use oral and written language to convey feelings and desires, interact with others, ask questions, think about things, represent what he or she knows, and talk about imaginary situations. Early and emergent writers and readers use a variety of means to communicate such as conventional signs and symbols (scribbles, mock letters, letters), visual art forms (painting and drawing) and other materials such as blocks, clay and collage.
- Science and Nature Education
Science and nature education provide open-ended experiences that expose children to the possibilities that exist within the physical and natural world.
Mathematics focuses on the child’s increasing ability to coordinate thinking processes and mental frameworks around mathematical concepts and problem solving.
- Music, Movement, and Dramatic Play
Music, movement and dramatic play enhance the child’s growing capacity for creative expression.