THE CAROUSEL SCHOOL
66 BREWSTER ROAD
WALTHAM, MA 02451
A GUIDE TO OUR CURRICULUM:
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
The curriculum of our program provides for a wide range of open-ended, hands on activities, developmentally appropriate for preschool children. These activities offer each child the opportunity to gain competence in skill areas as well as to grow in self-esteem. It is important for parents to understand both WHAT we will be offering in the classroom as well as WHY we teach in the manner we do.
WHY do we teach using a play based, child centered approach?
• Play is the way that children make sense of their world and build on their learning and understanding. Close attention is paid to the process of play where each child’s experiences are viewed as important and valuable. Through their play, children are encouraged to actively explore and test out their ideas, discover new relationships about the world, develop their problem solving abilities, expand their imagination and creativity, and learn appropriate ways of interacting with their peers.
• Child centered approach describes the process in which teachers observe and respond to the individual needs of the children in their classroom and plan experiences designed to match the children’s developing abilities and interests. Often, curriculum themes and activities will be a direct result of the interests expressed by the children in the classroom. In addition, curriculum is often tailored to meet the challenges of specific group dynamics in each classroom.
• A developmentally appropriate curriculum can be experienced by children at different stages of development and will result in each child making the next developmental step in their growth. There are universal and predictable sequences to children’s growth and development. Each child moves through these sequences at their own rate and with their own personality and learning style. All children in a group are at different stages of development at any given time. Developmentally appropriate activities allow for all children, regardless of their developmental level, to be actively and meaningfully involved in all areas of the classroom. Reading and math readiness are informally woven into all activities allowing children to continually expand on their knowledge and skills.
We expect that by the end of the year the children will have gained in their independence, in their skills in problem solving, and in their abilities to work with peers to meet their needs and convey their ideas. These are the cornerstones on which children can continue to grow and learn.
WHAT do we offer in the classroom?
Curriculum planning is based on two assumptions. First, children learn by experience using their bodies and their senses: children must touch, smell, taste, hear, and feel to understand and internalize their environment. Secondly, development occurs sequentially, and each child follows a pattern at his or her own rate. Repetition of materials and activities is vital in encouraging children’s growth and development.
Our activities provide opportunities for such learning. These experiences are provided on a daily basis and sometimes are connected to a theme unit (i.e., grocery store, space, occupations, etc.). There is a predictable daily schedule which provides children the security of knowing what is going to happen each day. Within that routine, children are empowered to make choices of activities and play schemes and are included in group experiences. All areas of learning are incorporated into each activity, thus a child showing a preference for one area over another is still experiencing and working on all skills.
Through our program, a child:
grows in self-esteem is included in our community
learns new and exciting skills is cared for and treated with respect
Through Art Materials, a child:
enjoys the sensory experience of seeing and feeling
has opportunities to plan, create, and represent learning has outlets for emotional tension and frustration
enjoys manipulations through rolling, squeezing, pounding, pushing and pulling
works on small and large motor skills
experiences the process as well as the product enjoys telling and writing stories about creations experiments with color, technique, and design
Through Blocks, a child:
chooses, compares, contrasts sizes and shapes to reinforce mathematical skills
learns to make guesses and decisions
works with others and engages in conversations
experiments with concepts of geometry and physics
Through Water/Sand, a child:
stimulates sensory perceptions and works on small muscle coordination learns to solve problems
Through Dramatic Play, a child:
plays out similar experiences and tries on new roles works cooperatively with others
participates in conversations
uses their knowledge to extend other children’s ideas practices their language skills
Through Children’s Literature, a child:
practices language skills
practices listening skills
learns new ideas
recognizes and reads familiar words
Through Science, a child:
enjoys the sensory experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting becomes aware of environmental issues
learns to care for plants and animals
experiments with cause and effect relationships
Through Music and Movement, a child:
has opportunities to experience a sense of wonder and mood expression uses their memory skills
creates their own music and rhythms
enjoys entertainment and relaxation
Through Carpentry, a child:
learns to plan and to problem solve
learns to work independently
Through Cooking, a child:
develops coordination and motor skills
reads and follows written recipes
Through Social Science, a child:
shares and celebrates the traditions, customs, and culture of self and others locates familiar places on maps and globes
Through Manipulatives and Games, a child:
uses creative, critical and rational thinking to solve problems experiences concepts of size, shape, quantity and position experiences counting and mathematical concepts