Treasure House Curriculum Policy and Procedure

The guiding principle for curriculum at Treasure House Centers is that it is developmentally appropriate for the ages of the children. Developmentally appropriate curriculum is true to sound child development theories of how young children develop and learn. This is critical in the ever present era of “pushed down academics” for pre-school age children. Treasure House strives to provide learning experiences for children that balance what is known by experienced early childhood practitioners about teaching young children and standards based outcome expectations.  To achieve this goal Treasure House Centers utilize The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers and The Emergent Curriculum for School Age children.

Creative Curriculum

The Creative Curriculum goals and objectives are contained in four domains: social/emotional development, physical development, cognitive development and language development. The Creative Curriculum objectives are sequential based on developmental steps for the early childhood years. The rationale for planning experiences is based on where the individual child is along the progression. Treasure House strives to make learning child centered based on individual needs. The Developmental Continuum component of The Creative Curriculum provides the framework for planning learning experiences.

The Creative Curriculum recognizes room arrangement and content as a teaching strategy. Twelve Interest areas supply the place and materials for children to develop skills through play, their primary vehicle for learning. The daily schedule includes active and quiet time, large and small group activities, individual and teacher directed activities and indoor and outdoor playtimes. The Creative Curriculum Weekly Planning Form consists of two sections. The learning environment section identifies the area of study and what materials can be added to the interest areas to support learning. The planning for groups section details what activities will occur and what materials are needed.

The Creative Curriculum defines the teacher’s role as part of an ongoing cycle of observing, guiding learning and assessing children’s learning. Teachers guide learning by preparing the interest areas for child-initiated learning, direct teaching and child – teacher interactions. Teachers can develop areas of study and projects based on children’s interests and abilities.

The Creative Curriculum encourages building a working relationship with parents to support children’s development and learning. Emphasis is placed on how to involve parents in meaningful ways that are respectful of their individual differences and constraints.

*The Creative Curriculum is aligns with the PA Learning Standards for Early Childhood.

Emergent Curriculum

Young children learn by doing, touching, experimenting, choosing, talking, and negotiating. Everything is potential curriculum for young children. Emergent curriculum is planning what happens in the classroom and the focus of learning through interaction between teachers and children, with both contributing ideas and reacting to them to build engaging and worthwhile units of study. The curriculum approach builds on interests that emerge from our daily lives with the children. The children provide the ideas that form a foundation for activities and units of study that are then prepared, organized, coordinated, and facilitated by the teachers.

Emergent curriculum describes curriculum that develops from exploring what is “socially relevant, intellectually engaging, and personally meaningful to children.  Emergent curriculum arises naturally from adult-child and child-child interactions that create “teachable moments.” It connects learning with experience and prior learning. It responds to children’s immediate interests rather than focusing on a narrow, individual, or calendar driven topic. It is process rather than product driven. The curriculum is typically implemented after an idea emerges from the group of children.

Learning centers are set up in the classrooms so that small groups and individual children can choose to explore constantly varying materials related to the study of math, science, art, and language, while teachers observe and interact with the children and the materials. In most rooms centers include a sensory table for age-appropriate experimentation with sand and water, a block center for large motor exploration, an area for use of manipulatives such as legos that encourage development of fine motor skills, a writing area and art center with a table, easels, and a changing selection of writing and drawing implements and molding materials to maintain attention, a drama/housekeeping center, and a quiet, comfortable book corner. In summer, the children often engage in large, group projects that last over many weeks both indoors and outdoors.

Teachers find creative ways to incorporate their area of study into all these areas, starting with children’s interests and needs. Each day, in each room, we set out pre-planned activities in the centers. We choose activities that are interesting, inviting, age and developmentally appropriate, open-ended and process oriented. If a particular activity is popular, teachers may choose to repeat it often (with slight variations) until the intense interest passes. There are no adult-made models to follow, no particular way to use the materials available, and (within reason) the children are able to easily modify or add to the materials to suit their own interests and needs. This freedom to act upon their own interests, in their own ways contributes to the successful development of children’s self esteem.

View curriculum as everything that happens during our time with the children. Believe that each moment offers opportunities to explore relationships and to create a community that nurtures children, teachers, and families. Each moment holds a range of feelings and interests. There are always questions to pursue, hypotheses to investigate, and discoveries to celebrate. Curriculum happens all day, in every routine, action, interaction, and rearrangement of the room.