Curriculum and Learning
At Woods Hollow we do not follow a book or box curriculum but have developed a framework that encompasses our programming for children based on best practices and developmentally appropriate activities.
CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK (Play-Based)
Basic components for teachers to consider when planning, assessing, setting goals, based on Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Child-Centered Practices should include:
1. Children – individually and as a group
· Interests (what do the children want to do, what do they like-is indicated on plans
teachers have created)
· Developmental needs (goals and objectives for children, individually as
indicated by parents and staff; as a group, what are they working on)
· Classroom aesthetics (what the rooms look like, furniture, displays, window coverings, colors, sounds, smells)
· Learning Centers and materials (what the teachers provide on the shelves and activities planned, the way the room is arranged)
· WHCC building (the actual building and all the spaces we use inside including mezzanine, winter garden)
· Outdoors (the playgrounds, the garden areas, the entire Research Park and prairies, the paths in the woods)
· Ambiance and Attitudes (The feel in the classroom and in the center created by the teachers; how the adults interact with each other, with parents and with children)
3. Relationships with
· Self (maintaining a positive self concept, develop confidence)
· Peers (Other children enrolled in own classroom and throughout the Center)
· Adults (Teachers, Center Visitors, Nutrition Team, Parents of other children)
· Family (Own parents, siblings, extended family)
· Community (within the Center and outside of WHCC)
We have also implemented themes that are woven into the program throughout all classrooms on a continual basis.
1. The Whole Child
· Physically (large and small motor skills)
· Artistically (creative skills in art, dramatic play)
Family members are the most important people in a child’s like. As articulated in our Philosophy Statement, WHCC welcomes and encouraged the active participation of children’s families in our program. The Center is a place where families are encouraged to share their values, traditions, interests and skills. Our goal is to be viewed as a natural extension of each child’s family. For children to feel safe and secure with us, they need to know that we are comfortable interacting with their families and vice versa.
Our goal is for children to feel safe in the whole center, including the outdoor environment, and, as appropriate, to develop a sense of membership in a community.
Our community is made up of two major components. One being the internal community of houses, staff and different spaces we explore within the center and on our different playgrounds. The second is the greater community that surrounds WHCC including the nature trails, prairie, farmer’s market, local businesses and community library.
4. Multicultural/Anti bias attitudes and behaviors
Both within the WHCC community and within the context of the greater community, the importance of the development of multicultural awareness and understanding, as well as anti-bias attitudes and behaviors cannot be overemphasized. Our commitment is to sharing, respecting, and advocating for the richness of diversity throughout all aspects of the environment, curriculum, and out interactions with each other. We must begin with helping young children to understand what it means to be fair, to give each other equal opportunities to develop our interests and skills.
5. Health and Wellness
The policies and practices of WHCC are designed to promote the health and wellness of all of its participants. For example, the Nutrition Policy clearly articulates an adherence to serving nutritional foods and following USDA food guidelines; classrooms plan for gross motor and outdoor play daily, balancing active play with quiet activities and rest; staff members have scheduled breaks and various benefit options to support their own health and wellness.
6. Earth keeping and appreciation for our natural resources
As an extension of WHCC community, children begin to see others, and eventually themselves as playing roles in the larger community. It is important that the adults in their lives model practices they wish children to emulate.
Ours is a fragile ecosystem. Humans have significantly altered many aspects of life on our planet and all too often, not with positive effects. Fortunately we are living at a time of reconsideration of many of our practices. Many individuals and groups, acting locally, nationally, and internationally, are modeling ways to restore health to the planet and to refrain from causing further destruction.
At WHCC this respect for the environment is a natural extension of the concepts associated with respecting each other, as discussed in each of the integrated themes. Specific practices model this concern, including recycling, rain barrels to collect rainwater for our gardens and worm composting to create dirt for our gardens.
Activities and spontaneous conversations encourage children of all ages to note and celebrate natural “happenings” and include discussions of ways in which we can take care of our environment. Perhaps one of the best gifts we can give the children in our care is support for these sense of wonder, their delight in discovering things in nature, and their desire to find answers for all the “whys” these experiences stimulate. In doing so, we are contributing actively to the development of “earth-keepers”, a benefit to them and to all things, living and non-living, on our planet.