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EduCare Curriculum & Classrooms

The beginning of learning starts here.

CURRICULUM

An enriched curriculum facilitates social growth, language development, large and small muscle development and cognitive growth in math, science, music and art. Based on Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) for each age, children learn by enjoying hands-on activities and experiences in their environment.

The center has been influenced by the world-famous Reggio Emilia schools in Italy with the philosophy of project approached, child-centered and child-initiated exploration of learning as it emerges and discovering what direction it should proceed. The use of aesthetically-pleasing, family-friendly and enriched environments are important aspects incorporated into the EduCare Center with decisions revolving around the child's best interest. EduCare curriculum reflects the importance of play and the outdoor environment.

Daily learning activities are planned experiences.  Classroom teachers post a weekly curriculum plan and daily schedule. These are intended to be consistent, yet flexible. Teachers will be responsive to the child’s interest and natural exploration. The basis for lifelong learning begins when children actively investigate their environment. Creative exploration activates many more connections in the brain than constant closed questions such as, “What color is this?” “What number is this?” The EduCare curriculum is influenced by the creative, innovative, and successful schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Nothing propels natural learning better than facilitation of these senses of wonder, questioning, and exploration.

Talk with your child about the events of the day. Ask “What is the most fun thing that you did today?” or “How did you create that picture?” or “Can you teach me a song that you are learning?” Remember that it is often the process or the creation that is more intriguing than the actual product. There is too much actual learning to explore than to waste time coloring in the lines, memorizing flash cards, or doing dull worksheets. Life is best in three dimensions.

Just a suggestion of how to respond to some delightful creations that your child presents to you:  Rather than evaluate with, “That’s pretty!” or “That’s good!” try describing what you see, “Look at how you blended purple and yellow,” or “You have drawn lots of squiggles and swirls in this picture!” or “Tell me how you did this.” They will then evaluate themselves by thinking or saying, “Yes, I am quite the artist!”

Some of the curriculum we use at the EduCare Center is:

Creative Curriculum

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool
The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is an award-winning curriculum for preschool success. Comprising The Foundation, five research-based volumes that provide the knowledge base of the curriculum, and the Daily Resources, which offer step-by-step guidance in the form of Teaching Guides and additional daily teaching tools, The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is fully aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework and state early learning standards.
Using exploration and discovery as a way of learning, The Creative Curriculum for Preschool enables children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills

The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos
For more than a decade, The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos has helped teachers understand developmentally appropriate practice and how to create daily routines and meaningful experiences that respond to children’s strengths, interests and needs.

Revised into three comprehensive volumes that reflect 38 research-based objectives for development and learning, The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos, Second Edition, Revised, retains its focus on responsive care while incorporating objectives that enable teachers to focus on what matters most for very young children. This new edition provides ideas to teachers to plan and implement every aspect of caring for and teaching children from birth to age 3.

Handwriting Without Tears

The Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum draws from years of innovation and research to provide developmentally appropriate, multisensory tools and strategies for your classroom. The program follows research that demonstrates children learn more effectively by actively doing, with materials that address all styles of learning.

We teach effectively with joy. We have figured out easier, happier ways for children to master handwriting. Handwriting Without Tears is dedicated to developing excellent materials for children and training for teachers. As a result, millions of students have successfully used our program. The result truly is handwriting without tears!

Play

Many parents ask, “Shouldn’t my child be doing worksheets and directly learning the ABC’s and 123’s?” We do not feel that worksheets are developmentally appropriate for young children; letters and numbers mean little to children of this age. Everything in the center’s environment is educational. The best learning comes from the children’s needs and curiosities. For this reason, we feel that it is best to teach young children through concrete experiences, experimentation and exploration rather than abstract symbols to represent objects and ideas.

Just because a child completes a worksheet does not mean he/she has the ability to read or comprehend. Worksheets provide an opportunity for many children to feel unsuccessful. They can cause a great amount of stress in children, which may cause them to dislike learning.

Children’s needs are incompatible with worksheets. They have an innate need to be active. Before a child can hold a pencil and make the correct marks on paper, he/she must first have fine motor control. Children need to practice grasping scissors, holding a paintbrush, pinching tweezers and clothespins, manipulating clay and many other activities that increase fine motor control.

It is very important to develop a positive attitude toward learning at an early age. For this reason, we strive to provide a joyful, comfortable, and safe learning environment for each child. We believe that children learn best through active exploration and interaction in the environment. They are given the opportunity to choose their experiences and follow their own ideas and interests through their play. The role of the teacher is to facilitate this process.

Playing Outdoor Policy

The children will be going outside daily when weather and air quality do not pose a significant health risk.

Outdoor play for infants may include riding in a stroller; however, infants shall be offered opportunities for gross motor play outdoors, as well.

In cold weather, children’s clothing shall be layered and dry. In warm weather, children’s shall be light-colored, light-weight, and limited to one layer of absorbent material to facilitate the evaporation of sweat. Children shall wear sun-protective clothing, such as hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants, when playing outdoors between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm. (5.A.06 a)

Before prolonged physical activity in warm weather, children shall be well-hydrated and shall be encouraged to drink water during the activity. Children shall be protected from the sun by using shade, sun-protective clothing, and sunscreen with UVB-ray and UVA-ray protection of SPF-15 or higher during outdoor play. Written parental permission is required for sunscreen. (5.A.07b)

Weather that poses a significant health risk shall include wind chill at or below 15 degrees F and heat index at or above 90 degrees F, as identified by the National Weather Service. For more information relating to the Heat Index or Wind Chill Chart, please refer to the following sites: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml, https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold-wind-chill-chart

Air quality conditions that pose a significant health risk shall be identified by announcements from local health authorities. Such air quality conditions shall require that children remain indoors where air conditioners ventilate indoor air to the outdoors.

Children with respiratory health problems such as asthma shall not play outdoors when local health authorities announce that the air quality is approaching unhealthy levels.

When public health authorities recommend use of insect repellents due to high risk of insect-borne disease, only repellents containing DEET will be used, and these are applied only to children older than two months. Staff apply insect repellent no more than once a day and only with written parental permission. (5.A.07c)

CLASSROOMS

Red Room I-Infant/Toddler Classroom (2 weeks to 1 year and walking)

The infant's individual needs are met by feeding and napping on demand. Teachers respond to the individual cues of an infant by developing a secure attachment. Individualized lesson plans are created to enhance the development of infant children. A variety of sensory opportunities are provided daily. 
The teachers provide an inviting environment for the toddler child to learn developmentally appropriate skills. We believe that children learn through play. Child-centered activities are available for a long period of the day. Sensory development is explored in various learning opportunities throughout the days. Weekly lesson plans are created to enhance the development of the curious toddler child.

Strong partnerships are developed between parents and teachers to ensure a smooth transition from home to our child care setting. A private nursing area is provided for all nursing mothers who wish to continue nursing while returning to the workforce or school.

Red Room II-Toddler Classroom (1 year and walking – 2 years of age)

Not only are the children becoming more independent at this age, but they are also learning how to express themselves. Teachers point out and discuss instances of positive social interaction among children throughout the day by giving the children words to communicate.

Some children show interest in potty training in this classroom. Teachers and parents will work together to assist the child in this interest. Children enjoy Baby Doll Circle Time.

Blue Room I & II-Toddler/Potty Training Classrooms (2 years – 3 years)

The children continue to become more independent at this age, but they are also becoming more autonomous. Potty training is a large milestone that children work on achieving. Blue I teachers work with parents to help their child achieve potty-training success.

Weekly lesson plans are posted with the activities that will be provided for the children to explore. Many of the ideas on the lesson plans come from the children’s interest, which encompass the following areas: early mathematics, science, early literacy, language development, social studies, music and movement, creative expression, social and emotional development, heath and safety, and physical development.

The teachers provide an inviting environment for the children to learn developmentally appropriate skills. We believe that children learn through play. Child-centered activities are available for a long period of the day. The literacy program is introduced in this classroom. The children will be able to explore colors, sorting, shapes, and syllables. The children engage with a hands on approach to help enrich their learning experience.

Yellow Room I & II, Green Rooms IA and IB –Preschool Classrooms (3-5 years of age, fully potty-trained)

The daily curriculum includes a wide variety of the learning areas of literacy: oral language, phonological awareness, letter recognition, and print awareness. Many learning concepts such as sorting, patterning, rhyming, and counting, are explored. The literacy program also allows the children to understand letters, numbers, syllables, opposites, and colors. A daily literacy program focuses on a wide variety of the learning areas of literacy: oral language, phonological awareness, letter recognition, and print awareness. Many learning concepts such as sorting, patterning, rhyming, and counting, are explored. The literacy program also allows the children to understand letters, numbers, syllables, opposites, and colors. 

Lesson plans are posted with the activities that will be provided for the children to explore. Many of the ideas on the lesson plans come from the children’s interest, which encompass the following areas: early mathematics, science, early literacy, language development, social studies, music and movement, creative expression, social and emotional development, heath and safety, and physical development.

Green Room II-Provides care for children ranging in age from kindergarten through age 12 

The children are able to explore during many field trips throughout the year. The majority of field trips costs are covered by CCAMPIS grants. We believe that the children’s learning takes place not only in the classroom, but outside the classroom as well. Green II provides an enriched environment both inside and outside the classroom to provide the most learning experiences possible for your child. 

We provide care for school age children after school, early release, and school out days. EduCare provides transportation for children in the El Dorado School District and Circle District's Oil Hill School provides bus transportation before and after school.

Children learn best through interacting with their environment. Because all children are unique individuals and learn in different ways, we encourage exploration of materials in play-based settings. Every teacher is responsible for planning and implementing meaningful lesson plans and activities through the use of Developmentally Appropriate Practice.

The following areas are part of the centers play-based settings used to address social/emotional, physical, sensory, language, cognitive, science, math, social studies and creative and individual development. Each developmental area is incorporated in each classroom from Infant to Pre-K.

Art Center

At the Art Center, children will learn:

  • observation
  • recall
  • classification
  • creativity
  • fine motor skills
  • emotional expression
  • pride
  • autonomy
  • sharing
  • language

They will also develop hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills. Art encompasses a wide range of activities such as painting, gluing, coloring, cutting, 3D art and collage art.

Block Play Center

While playing with blocks, children will be involved in:

  • creative thinking
  • problem solving

They will experiment with area, space, size, shape, depth, balance, gravity, value, weight, position, stability, language, patterning and cause-and-effect relationships. They will also learn to observe and follow safety rules as well as develop respect for the work of others. You will see several different kinds of blocks in the block area: soft blocks, cardboard blocks, wooden blocks and plastic blocks are some that we have. Other materials that are incorporated in the block center to enhance the educational and imaginative experience include small animals, people, cars and other building materials.

Book Center

When reading books and being read to, children will learn:

  • concept formation
  • object labeling
  • peer and adult interaction
  • sentence structure
  • language
  • vocabulary growth 
  • positive attitude toward reading and books

In most rooms the book areas are also areas for the children to get comfortable and relax with soft lighting, fluffy pillows and lots of stuffed animals. You will find child-sized furniture, puppets, babies and blankets for the children in these areas as well. Taking care of books becomes part of a routine as children understand the value of books and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

Computer Center

While working on the computer, children will learn such skills using the mouse and keyboard to access the screen and develop educational /cognitive concepts based on the particular software. Children are limited to computer time in each classroom. All children two and up have access to a computer.

Cooking Center

While involved with cooking, children will learn:

  • self-esteem
  • safety
  • cooperation
  • nutrition
  • health
  • task completion
  • language
  • direction following
  • cause-and-effect relationships
  • measurement
  • concept information

We apply for grants throughout the year that provide us with the opportunities to grow fresh gardens, purchase nutrition lesson plans and assist us with activities in this area.

Dramatic Play Center

During dramatic play, children will learn:

  • socialization
  • representation
  • language
  • coping strategies
  • sharing
  • cooperative decision making
  • imagination
  • to value other peoples cultures, values, places and people
  • problem solving skills

Here children have a wide range of toys to choose from. They have dress-up clothes, babies, kitchen toys, a kitchen, puppets, dollhouses, cars, tools, jewelry and car garages, just to name a few. In the dramatic play area they take on family and community roles that help them understand what people do and how they act. In essence, they have an opportunity to try on a role to see if it fits their personalities. We incorporate each child’s culture, language and props into the rooms so that each child feels special and unique.

Manipulative Center

While working with manipulatives, children will learn:

  • problem solving
  • decision making skills
  • peer interaction
  • self-discipline
  • relationships
  • dexterity
  • task completion
  • classification
  • sequencing
  • number concepts
  • visual discrimination
  • self-concept
  • fine motor control
  • eye-hand coordination

Some things that you may find in this center would be string beads, connecting beads, puzzles, peg boards, sorters, tweezers and activity boxes. Each room has a variety of activities to choose from so that the children can learn at their own pace with things that interest them.

Math Center

While working on math, children will learn comparison, measurement, classification, counting, operations, number concept, spatial relationships, sets, language and problem solving. Math centers incorporate such things like scales, measuring cups, counters and sorters, flash cards and a number of other activities to help a child become familiar with math and all the fun that comes along with it.

Music Center

Dancing and listening to music teaches children:

  • emotional expression
  • positive self-concept
  • creativity
  • awareness of self and others
  • listening
  • communication
  • following directions
  • creative movement
  • imagination
  • language
  • beat and tempo

Things that are brought into the classrooms for this area include music instruments, musical props (streamers, batons, etc.), all types of music on CDs, pianos, drums and more. Here your child will also learn about different cultures and the instruments and music they listen to; imitation and repeat patterns; to create and compare words, vocabulary and actions from songs and finger plays; and fine and gross motor skills from playing instruments.

Outdoor Play

When playing outdoors, children learn about:

  • decision-making skills
  • problem solving
  • autonomy
  • large muscle coordination
  • social relationships
  • language
  • imagination
  • safety

Outdoor play occurs at least twice a day in every classroom weather permitting. Outside you will see developmentally appropriate equipment, swings, slides, bikes, sandboxes, seesaws, water tables and other toys such as blocks, cars and babies. Nature walks are taken with teachers and the children have free range of the playgrounds which are secured by a locked privacy fence.

Science / Cognitive Center

In the science area children will learn about seasons, sharing, physical changes in the world (life cycles, season changes, senses, body parts rain, etc.), measuring, pouring, weight, volume, creativity, solids, liquids, balance, imagination, fine and gross motor skills, conducting experiments and eye hand coordination. Things you may find in the classrooms are measures, weights, bug blocks, globes, maps, fossils, trees, flowers, classroom pets, solar systems, science/cognitive books and posters, nature materials (rocks, pine cones, sea shells, etc.), thermometers, rulers and play animals/bugs/people.

Sensory Center / Messy Table

While working with sensory exploration, children will learn:

  • large and small motor control
  • hand-eye coordination
  • identification of properties
  • measurement, comparison
  • observation
  • evaluation
  • prediction
  • cause-and-effect relationships
  • cooperation
  • social interaction
  • language
  • sharing

Sensory experiences are also meant to expose children to various types of foods, textures and experiences that they may not otherwise get exposed to. There are several things that involve sensory experiences within the classrooms, and the main one is the use of the messy tables, located in each classroom and outside. In the messy tables, children will experience things such as oatmeal, cornmeal, pasta, beans, rice, sand, water and flour to name a few.

Sensory experiences can also be activities such as swimming in water, playing in a pool of flour or even a bucket of spaghetti. Sensory experiences can also be found at the tables with Playdough, volcanos, pudding, goop, lotion and shaving cream.

Writing Center

When learning to write, children will learn organization, fine motor control and language skills including letter formation and recognition. Writing is a great way to express yourself and the children love to color, draw and be creative. Preschool classrooms will work on forming and writing letters and our Pre-K classroom will work more on this so that they have mastered this skill for Kindergarten. You will be able to track your child's progress in their developmental portfolios. You will see how dots become people and lines become letters.