Gan Yeladim has created a curriculum that reflects the philosophy of the Emergent Curriculum Model and is consistent with the standards for a developmentally appropriate program.
The Emergent Curriculum originated from the innovative educational philosophy known as the Reggio Emilia Approach. The Reggio Emilia Approach to preschool is recognized worldwide for its theoretical kinship with Jean Piaget, John Dewey, and Vygotsky among others. A developmental approach such as this is characterized by child-directed curriculum, the center based environment, parent involvement, and the viewpoint that the classroom is a community.
An Emergent Curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadows, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the Emergent Curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement.
Projects, also emergent, are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests which arise within the group. Considered as an adventure, projects may last one week or could continue throughout the school year. Throughout a project, teachers help children make decisions about the direction of study, the ways in which the group will research the topic, the representational medium that will demonstrate and showcase the topic and the selection of materials needed to represent the work.
Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. Multiple perspectives promote both a sense of group membership and the uniqueness of self.
Teachers as Researchers
The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children. Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children's work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate thinking and children's collaboration with peers. Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.
Documentation of children's work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents. Pictures of children engaged in experiences, their words as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking, and the children's interpretation of experience through the visual media are displayed as a graphic presentation of the dynamics of learning.
Great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom. Environment is considered the "third teacher." Teachers carefully organize space for small and large group projects and small intimate spaces for one, two or three children. Documentation of children's work is displayed both at the children's and adult eye level. Common space available to all children in the school includes a tumble room and an outdoor playground.
To allow adequate time for children to engage in our full and rich curriculum, Gan Yeladim does not provide television, video viewing, video games or computers at school unless a specific activity is planned by the teacher as an enhancement to an educational unit or project.
+ Math & Manipulatives
+ Writing Center & Library
+ Dramatic Play
+ Sensory Discovery
+ Block Play
+ Music & Movement
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The classroom environment at Gan Yeladim is considered to be the most effective learning tool we can offer our students. Young children naturally seek independence when their environment is full of purposeful activities, is aesthetically pleasing, and has order. Our classrooms are designed to give the impression of “home”— creating a gentle transition from home to school. Children have the opportunity to use hands-on materials that teach early skills graphically and conceptually. Our environment includes the following centers:
Math & Manipulatives
The math and manipulatives center offers activities that encourage problem-solving skills and fine-motor control. Children will have the opportunity to use a variety of hands-on materials that are designed to promote early-mathematical concepts such as counting, sorting, measuring, patterning, as well as shape and number recognition.
Writing Center and Library
Communication, vocabulary development, literature appreciation and an understanding of the “function of words” in sentences are aspects of language skills emerging for young children. The writing area and library offer a wide-range of materials that support the development of language comprehension and expression. Writing materials provide artistic expression and fine-motor coordination.
The dramatic play center provides children with the opportunity to imitate real life using child-sized materials that encourage socialization, self-expression and self-help skills. The repetition of specific tasks, such as dressing-up and tying shoes, helps children gain self-confidence and coordination.
Sensory Discovery Table
This dynamic center provides children with the opportunity to manipulate and explore materials that isolate specific qualities of art and science that promote sensory-perception and integration. While fine-tuning their senses, children learn concrete concepts such as heavy/light, large/small, rough/smooth, loud/soft. Students will explore anything from light and color to magnetism and weather.
Blocks and building props are essential in the toddler and preschool classrooms. As children construct buildings and design structures, they use critical thinking and problem solving skills and develop perception skills. Blocks provide hands-on experience in balance, proportion, measurement and basic math & science concepts. Building props expand each child’s use of building materials and encourages cooperation and imagination.
Music & Movement
Music & movement present children with the opportunity to socialize with their teachers and classmates while they develop visual, auditory, and kinesthetic awareness. Group activities encourage a positive self-image and help children gain a sense of self-direction and independent thinking.
The art center is a great outlet for self-expression and visual and sensory exploration. Children create amazing pieces while learning about the basic elements of art including color, value (light/dark), texture, and shape. The art center has a wide variety of art materials that the children may choose at anytime to create their own masterpieces. When children are engaged in the artistic process they are able to expand basic concepts of art elements, as well as language, and problem-solving skills.
Cooking projects not only help children create healthy eating habits but they also provides a rich educational experience that encourages a wide range of skills, including critical thinking, decision making, vocabulary, fine motor development, beginning science, sequencing, following directions, pre-reading, and math practice. Cooking projects also help promote our family setting as the children work together to prepare, serve, and eat a variety of foods.