The philosophy behind our curriculum is that young children learn best by doing. Learning is not just repeating what someone else says. It requires active thinking and experimenting in order to find out how things work and the opportunity to learn first hand about the world we live in.
The most important goal of our curriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners. This means encouraging children to be active and creative explorers who are not afraid to try out their ideas and to think their own thoughts. Our goal is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive learners. We are teaching them how to learn, not just in school, but also in all aspects of their lives. We are allowing them to learn at their own pace and in the ways that are best for them. We are giving them good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves that will make a difference throughout their lives.
Creating a learning environment and implementing a good daily routine are only a part of the reason our curriculum is successful. Another key factor is the interaction that occurs between staff and children. As children play and work, staff observes how children use materials. Staff attentively listen and talk with children to find out what they are thinking and trying to accomplish. In doing so, we can try to help them become aware of their actions and challenge them to think further. We want children to reflect on what they have done. We encourage them to discover, experiment and to find new ways to play with the same material as there is no “right” or “wrong” way to play with a toy. Our goal is to help children to be creative, to solve problems, and to think for themselves.
Learning is a constant. Both classroom and outdoor areas are important parts of the curriculum. Therefore, careful planning ensures children’s learning experiences are maximized in these environments. The activities we plan for children, the way we organize the environment, select supplies and materials, plan the daily schedule, and talk with children, are all designed to accomplish the goals of our curriculum and help them reach their maximum potential.
Our Curriculum and the goals we set focus on the main areas of child development. Daily activities focus on the whole child and promote growth in these areas of development:
Social: to help children feel comfortable in school, trust their new environment, make friends, and work as a team.
Emotional: to help children experience pride and self-confidence, develop independence and self-control and have a positive attitude toward life.
Cognitive: to help children become confident learners by letting them try out their own ideas and experience success; help children acquire learning skills such as the ability to solve problems, ask questions, and use words to describe their ideas, observations, and feelings.
Physical: to help children increase their large and small muscle motor skills and feel confident about what their bodies can do.
Early Childhood Curriculum
We believe children should have fun! After all, even the experts agree that preschool age children learn most through play. These carefree years are so short, and soon the children will be exposed to a much more structured form of learning. How then, do we encourage a child’s love of learning? By making learning fun! Each month a theme is presented which is based on topics that interest children. During the month, many activities take place to help promote basic skills (letter, number, color and shape recognition; fine and large motor skills; socialization; etc.) which are connected, as much as possible, to that month’s theme. A daily routine and/or schedule are posted in every classroom. Many of the curriculum materials we have seem more like toys to the children, yet while the children are playing with them, they are learning important concepts. We have included the Pre-K TEKS into our program.
After School Curriculum
The curriculum for those children in the after school program is designed to make them more successful in their daily classrooms as well as enriching their overall well-being. It is with this in mind that our program is based on four primary focus areas:
Fit and Food Time
Each day, students will be given a healthy snack as they arrive (as children are often hungry as well as having a need for some social time before getting ready for homework.) Also, on a weekly basis children in the program are provided instruction and participate in physical activities that promote good nutritional habits as well as an understanding of the importance of physical fitness.
Mastery Center Time
After snack, children will work on a wide variety of activities designed especially to meet their individual needs. At the Learning Ladder, they have an opportunity to work with a teacher or a volunteer on an individual basis. With the exception of Fridays, every child reads and will be given a spelling test on a daily basis. In addition, staff will assist with any extra assignments or special activities provided by their classroom teacher. From time to time, classroom teachers will assign a special project for Learning Ladder students to complete and this project, with the parent’s permission, may also be completed during homework or art time.
Time for the Arts
Children of the Learning Ladder get daily instruction on a wide variety of art forms. At the Learning Ladder, we feel that all children benefit from art instruction. There is research to support that art awareness can be tied to success in academics whereas exposure to art can assist with literacy and math mastery. These may include sewing, painting, as well as flower arranging and working with papier-m ch , just to name a few activities.
Time for the Community
The Learning Ladder supports various community activities and we incorporate these projects into our program schedule. 4-H arts and crafts, letters to the Messenger, art work for the Veterans, a Christmas Parade float, the annual Lego contest, and trips to Governor’s Ridge are just a few of the community functions that we participate.
Parents as Partners
Our curriculum works best when teachers and parents work together. Each of us has something valuable to contribute.
Only you have in-depth knowledge of your child. You know best your child’s interests, fears, joys, patterns, and past. You are most familiar with the world your child is trying to understand. You know about the relationships between the members of your family, and you have shared many of your child’s experiences.
This in depth knowledge makes you central to your child’s learning process and a very valuable resource for us as teachers. If you share with us what is happening with your child at home, we can better understand your child. We can deal with both positive and difficult events through reassuring stories, soothing activities, imaginative dramatic play, and extra love and attention. We strive to nurture each child’s unique qualities and potential while supporting families through strong partnerships.
Parents are partners in every aspect of curriculum: helping to set goals and priorities, planning, evaluating, and sustaining the learning through coordinated experiences at home. Parents are always welcome at the Learning Ladder. If at anytime a staff member can assist you or answer concerns or questions regarding your child, please feel free to ask. If you require a longer conference period an appointment can be made at the earliest time possible. Please keep in mind children in the early childhood program take naps early in the afternoon.
Parents are welcome to review a copy of the minimum standards and the child-care center’s most recent licensing inspection report at any time. The most recent inspection will always be posted as well as how to contact the local Licensing Office, the Child Abuse hotline, and the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Service website.
Information on Licensing standards or procedures can be obtained by calling 1-800-862-5252 or visiting www.tdprs.state.tx.us.
You can contact our local office at 940-627-2188 x207
To report abuse and/or neglect please call 1-800-252-5400]
Indoor play constitutes the majority of the time the children are in the program. We provide a variety of age-appropriate toys for your child to use and since the ages of the children we care for vary, all the toys are safe even for our youngest child in the group. No toys are allowed from home, please. This reduces misunderstandings, damages or lost home favorites. The toys we keep indoors are rotated from time to time to prevent boredom, to supplement a unit of study, etc.
According to state law, children are to participate in outdoor activities on a daily basis with the exception of days when we experience really inclement weather. Weather permitting we will spend time outdoors everyday (ranging from a walk when it is fairly cool or to more extended period of time as the weather warms up.) Infants will have the opportunity to participate in outdoor play, when the weather is fairly mild. Please dress your child appropriately for the current weather and in play clothes to maximize the benefits of their experiences.