MWPCCC addresses the needs of the whole child by providing opportunities in the interrelated areas of physical, social, language, emotional, cognitive and moral growth. Play is highly valued. We encourage children to explore, experiment, ask questions, initiate activities and solve problems in ways that are appropriate to their age and stage of development. Children learn best when they are motivated by their own curiosity and innate desire to discover, know and understand. We stress a cooperative approach and nurture creativity. While we allow your child a wide range of experiences and opportunities to explore their environment, we make sure your child feels stimulated but not threatened by excessive expectations. Most importantly, we try to make your child feel at ease, comfortable and secure in a nurturing setting in order to maximize their learning potential.
All three centers have the same philosophy. We are all Developmentally Appropriate Play Based Centers, meaning we believe all children learn through play. Our curriculum is emergent where we observe the children, and see what interests them, and we grow our activities through their interests. We expand on their knowledge by asking open-ended questions. The activities are open ended, and we allow the child the freedom to choose which activities they want to do.
Parents always ask, is their child learning academics? Yes, we incorporate academics through play. We will never do dittos, or worksheets, or coloring pages, or other boring, tedious things. Research shows that children who are given opportunities to explore and grow within their environment are more successful than their peers who are only exposed to worksheets and dittos. (Gorman, J 2016) Children need to learn the appropriate social-emotional skills to be successful in school.
One aspect of academics that we are adding more of to our play this year is STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. All of our centers have activities that integrate STEAM into our curriculum every day; however, now you will see the classrooms begin to document and display STEAM activities and projects. Here are some examples of how you will see STEAM in action:
• Every day when we mix paints to find a new color, or when we mix water to our sand, we are using Science. We will be asking your child open-ended questions, to help with their critical thinking skills. Your child will learn about cause and effect, and predicting what will happen next.
• For Technology, this one is hard. A lot of the research shows that in elementary schools, and in some preschools they are offering the children more screen time as a way to integrate Technology. Since this would interrupt our philosophy statement, I have found that cameras, or early technology, such as inclined planes and even scissors work. We might involve your children in the art of photography, and watch them take pictures of what they see.
• When we build with blocks, or we become construction workers and build with the crates we are doing Engineering. The teachers may ask the parents to help us with creating ramps for our balls, or water or engineer some tunnels.
• We create a masterpiece out of paint, glue, watercolors, crayons or markers, this is Art. When the children paint on the easels, this is what gets them ready for writing later on. It’s very important for children to paint on easels, with a variety of paints.
• When we measure at the water table, or count the teddy bears, this is Math. We count all day long. In every room we use math. We count, we read books, and we talk about how many people are in their families
You may be asking yourself, what about the infants/toddlers. STEAM involves everyone, even the infants/toddlers. Based on the research from the Program for Infant and Toddler Care, we don’t do messy art with babies under the age of 12 months. However, we use STEM with them every day. We roll balls down the slide, we sing, read, and count our friends. We build with soft blocks, and the teachers ask questions, not expecting answers, you may here a teacher say, “what do you think will happen if I push this button on this toy.” The baby may look surprised when the button is pushed.
We assess the children using the SEAM, Social Emotional Assessment Measure. Where we look at the Social and Emotional development of your child. We also use a works sampling, observation based assessment where we look at your whole child's development. In this assessment, we involve the families as well.