Our approach follows closely what NAEYC defines as developmentally appropriate practice for children of this age group. Young children are rapidly developing physically and socially and their language is exploding. Understanding that children will be moving from being toddlers to preschoolers to prekindergartners over the course of our programs, classes will gently introduce the ideas of following a routine giving long blocks for choice time and stimulating their interests and senses.
Giocare staff has some common beliefs that inform our approach:
We believe that families are crucial to the learning process regardless of how often or little they are able to be physically in the space. We work hard as a team to communicate through emails, phone calls, in-person meetings or notes to each and every family whenever necessary to inform them about their child’s progress. We offer many opportunities for families to come into the space rotating times, days and opportunities so that everyone can come at least once. We maintain a weekly newsletter and a password-protected Shutterfly account with pictures of what children are doing each month. We also use Edukids Connect for daily updates and pictures.
We believe that the learning environment is crucial to both how and what children learn. We pay careful attention to what is available for children and how to set the space up to maximize children’s development. We look for ways to increase their interactions with each other and decrease any inappropriate behavior. We truly see the environment as the third teacher – one that is very powerful.
We believe that children learn best through play. They only learn to master skills over time and after repetition and this often comes naturally through their play. We believe that the teachers have an important role in guiding children’s play. Teachers are tasked with setting up the environment, offering suggestions when needed, verbalizing what children want or what is happening if they do not have the words, and helping to negotiate conflict when they need support with these skills. We set up materials to help children meet milestones, guidelines and standards.
We believe that teachers need to be continuously learning from the children we work with. Our best ideas come from the children – through their words or even simply their actions or behaviors. We learn what they know, how they learn best and about their interests. Through this, we are able to intentionally plan our curriculum. We believe that teachers must be intentional about everything they do and in order to be intentional, we must strive to really know each child we serve.
Finally, we believe all children are individuals – working on different things. We see them as a group, but also as individuals and our goals for each are different. We understand that children do not always develop at exactly the same time rate and a skill that is difficult for one child may be very easy for another of the same age. We embrace children’s differences and target their most needed areas. We understand that we are building a strong foundation for later education brick by brick and are awed by this responsibility each day.