Our education policy and curriculum framework is consistent with the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Guidelines for Developmentally Appropriate Practice. These guidelines are based on Piagetian theory, which suggest that development in early childhood can be characterized by stages; with accomplishment of the tasks of previous stages required in order to fully meet the challenges associated with the next stage.
It is very important to note that success is not defined in adult terms, but rather in terms of what a young child is capable of doing or thinking at a given stage. Piaget argues that young children think very differently from adults and, in fact, very differently from older children as well. Our challenge is not only to understand child development, but also to understand and respect each child in our care-to recognize and value individual differences.
Based on this theory, the goal is not to create miniature adults, but to understand the characteristics of each developmental stage and to apply that understanding to the individual children we teach and care for.
Expectations are geared toward what the children in a particular group are capable of doing and understanding, also recognizing that young children learn best through hands-on, open-ended experiences with materials along with peers and adults.
The primary adult responsibilities are to create an environment which encourages this type of learning, and to facilitate, rather than direct, the children's use of the materials and activities offered.