Curriculum Planning Guidelines While each class at Children’s Tree House has its own distinction, there are at least five principles that are consistent from the youngest group of children to the oldest. These principles are most influenced by the theories of educational practice that are based on an understanding of child development. Children's Tree House has adopted the Creative Curriculum guidelines, which allows us to partner with the School District of Onalaska in order to be a site for their 4K program.
1. How Children Learn: Children learn best from self-initiated activity with concrete objects. They build on previous knowledge through repeated experiences. Through social interactions with peers, children learn to collaborate, cooperate and to understand another point of view. Children who are active in their own learning process make sense of the world for themselves and construct their own ideas. By having choices and making decisions, children learn to be in control of their own learning and to be independent thinkers. Children need to be presented with a variety of materials, strategies and approaches because not every child learns the same way.
2. How Curriculum Develops: Curriculum in our program develops through an interactive process between the child, teacher and the environment. In each group there is a balance between teacher-planned activities and those activities that emerge from the children’s interests, abilities and needs. There is a balance between individual, small group and large group experiences. Curriculum is based on inquiry, problem solving and discovery and application of key issues and concepts. We strive to have all children’s learning be integrated, active and meaningful.
Our teachers are facilitators of learning. They act as mentor-companions…observing, reflecting, collaborating, adapting, intervening, scaffolding and building upon each child’s questions or ideas, as well as assessing the level and interest of each child in order to make informed decisions.
3. Creation of Partnerships With Family: The family is an essential part of our community and crucial to our genuine understanding and appreciation of each child. We strive to build home-school partnerships that are collaborative, trusting, and respectful. Parents and staff regularly communicate through frequent interactions, phone conversations, open houses, parent conferences, written reports, center gatherings, and parent participation. Getting to know the values and cultures within families helps nurture the home-school relationship and contributes to the child’s self-esteem. Having parents participate in the goal-setting process is an important part of developing curriculum for the individual child.
4. Importance of The Individual and the Community: Each child is unique. The curriculum focuses on supporting the growth of the whole child, including social-emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development. We believe that children go through stages of development, which are marked by general characteristics, but we also recognize the range of individual and cultural variation. Yet each individual child is also a member of a community that includes the family, the classroom, the school and the world at large. Building this sense of community takes conscious planning and ongoing effort. Our goal is to make each child feel like a valued member of the community and to develop a sense of empathy and caring for others.
5. Respect and Appreciation of Differences: Our center’s perspective involves creating a classroom and school environment which respects and supports all dimensions of human differences, including cultural, linguistic, ability, learning style, ethnicity, family culture, gender, and age. In curriculum, using materials that support diversity and integrate similarities and differences into the daily life of the classroom attains this perspective. We also adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners, differentiating instruction for the members of the group. Activities have multiple entry points where children can be working on the same activity but with different materials, goals and objectives.