About Hills Preschool
Our Program and Mission at Hills Preschool
The use of Developmentally Appropriate Practices in our program is key to enabling our children to become successful lifelong learners and members of society. In our early childhood setting, we strive to provide activities which are both age appropriate and individually appropriate. We understand and keep in mind the typical sequence of development of children within an age span as we plan our environment and activities for our children. We also understand and keep in mind the individual uniqueness of each child as we plan experiences which match each child's developing abilities. The environment is designed to allow for participation by each child at his/her own individual developmental level. The staff act as facilitators in fostering each child's learning.
Provision of Large Blocks of Time for Child-initiated Activities
Our program provides large blocks of time for child-initiated activities which are interspersed with other more structured activities, such as story, snack, outdoor time. Times for activities are flexible throughout the day and allow for spontaneous changes in projects or activities that may need more or less time. In addition, activities are planned to enable individual children to take a longer or shorter amount of time to work on their own projects. For example, if center's time is over and a story is about to begin, a child may complete his project while others begin the story. S/He joins the group after s/he has finished. If the centers time needs to extend for many children in the group or for the whole group together, story may easily be postponed.
Encouragement of Positive Interactions Among Staff and Children
Our program encourages positive interactions by working with children individually or in very small groups to build positive peer group relationships. By actively participating with them in their work, we foster respect, cooperation, collaboration, stability and trust. For children needing guidance, we use redirection and guidance in helping children understand their interactions. In addition, the learning environment is planned and arranged to facilitate child work and play. A variety of learning areas are provided, where children can work individually or in small groups. Materials are accessible to the children. Within the school, the counselor facilitates activities which focus on collaborative work and play. Upper unit students help the children with specific activities, such as taking the children to the media center to choose and check out library books, or reading to them during the day.
Enhancement of Children's Self-Concept
We enhance our children's self-concept through mutual respect and acceptance. We value the feelings of children in our program and give them guidance and support in their endeavors and interactions with others. We facilitate resolution of their conflicts and help them to know they can work through their struggles positively and successfully. As we model respect and encouragement for each other, our children become self-confident and develop a positive self-concept.
In addition, to build increased, positive self-esteem in each child, our program provides a positive, child-centered room atmosphere provides opportunities for success at all levels through open-ended activities provides relevant opportunities for developing responsibility, such as errands, assisting adults, assisting peers
Children are given many choice opportunities throughout the day where they are encouraged to make decisions, test their ideas, try new experiences, and feel ownership of their actions. The teacher and staff are supportive as they encourage each child to make choices throughout the day. Activities are open-ended, with a discovery approach as the entry level. Activities allow for a variety of developmental levels, as well as specific types of learning needs, e.g.: speech and language, social interaction or cognitive learning. Children are active helpers with routine tasks. Self-esteem is enhanced through each child's accomplishments, projects and small group activities, and by responsibility and trust given by staff.
Promoting Children's Positive Dispositions to Learn
We promote positive dispositions to learn by recognizing children's accomplishments. We model curiosity, ask questions, and problem solve with them. Using open-ended activities, which provide interesting and attainable challenges, we value each child's efforts and work. Continual preparation and change in the learning environment enables staff to accommodate the children's natural explorations, ideas and interactions. Children make choices in planning their own work. On-going decision-making and choice selection are encouraged throughout. To help children build positive dispositions to learning, we :
- provide individual assessment of interests
- provide child-initiated centers and projects
- give children ownership of their room (e.g., children may plan and rearrange their room, incorporate multicultural, nonsexist materials; e.g., clothes in the house corner, multicultural dolls, pictures of other countries in blocks area, chopsticks to use, etc.)
- provide a variety of centers and projects which revolve around the interests of the children (e.g., repairmen in the building, farming, etc.
- multicultural/nonsexist materials are incorporated throughout literature used, photo language cards, favorite snacks of children in the room representing different cultures, and other classroom materials