What is curriculum at R-LDCC?
In keeping with our philosophy, curriculum is defined as everything the children do while at the Center, involving every aspect of the program from planned activities and lessons to meals and informal conversations. Every experience—how they are greeted, how they work with others, the materials available to them—must be thought of as curriculum, for each contributes to their understanding of the world and their future attitudes about learning and education.
Our curriculum is based on the principles of NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practices, and is aligned with NJ’s Birth to Three Early Learning Standards, NJ’s Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards and NJ’s Core Curriculum Content Standards for Kindergarten.
At Rutgers-Livingston Day Care, the teacher creates the curriculum based on the interests and needs of the children. This usually begins with the choice of a specific study topic or project. The teacher plans lessons, activities and experiences with input from the assistant teachers and the children. Careful consideration ensures that all activities offered reflect the ages, abilities, and developmental stages of the children. Teachers integrate all the curriculum areas along with block building, dramatic play, field trips and classroom visitors to fully develop knowledge, understanding and skills within each topic/project. While most activities are preplanned, teachers also look for teachable moments and are flexible, willing to change the project’s direction as needed. The Honeybee curriculum allows our youngest children to explore their environment and is built around hands-on learning, social integration among children and adults and developing feelings of safety, security and belonging.
It all starts with play!
Learning through play is natural for children and is the core of our curriculum. Our goal is to support each child’s growth and development by providing multiple, extended periods for play throughout the day. Through play, children increase their understanding of and knowledge about the world around them, practice skills, develop relationships and rehearse roles. Play allows children to become deeply involved in what they are interested in. They create the agenda and the rules; they use their imaginations, muscles and planning skills. Their cognitive, physical, emotional and social development are all enhanced. The teachers help keep the play productive by carefully setting up the environment, adding materials and sometimes joining in.
Play is the highest form of research. – Albert Einstein
As part of their play and also through focused studies and projects, activities integrating art, science, music, literacy and language arts, physical development, mathematics, social studies and technology provide meaningful learning experiences. We consider our playgrounds extensions of our classrooms and important components of our curriculum. Our goal is to provide all children with daily opportunities for outdoor play and exploration throughout the year.
Because we believe that children learn best when they are pursuing their own interests, several activities are often offered at the same time giving children many opportunities to make choices. Activities are repeated often, allowing children to revisit and expand their understanding of concepts and to practice skills.