Early Learning & Pre School The curriculum at the Laboratory School for leadership and learning involves everything that happens to the child throughout the day. Responsive caregiving is the key component to setting up a safe and secure environment and trusting relationships. Everything a child experiences is a learning opportunity. For example, diaper changes are perfect opportunities for learning experiences: language; singing gently to a child; showing gentle touches; letting the child know that this is not a hurried or rushed experience and that they are valued and precious individuals; gently moving their legs in a bicycle motion; stimulating movement; or having them reach and grasp for an object. Throughout the day, teachers will take advantage of these caregiving experiences that are so important in the early years of life and turn them into meaningful and positive experiences for a child’s healthy development.
The Early Learning Curriculum
The early learning curriculum supports the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of each child. Toddlers strengthen speech and language development and both fine and gross motor skills as they explore self, family and the world in which they live.
The toddlers learn concentration, coordination, language skills, responsibility and respect—all of which prepare them well for a successful transition into preschool at the Laboratory School for Leadership and Learning.
The most important language materials for a toddler are the materials and experiences in the child’s environment. Reinforcing the importance of verbal communication, speaking clearly, and supporting the child’s expanding vocabulary are a daily process in the toddler environment. For the toddler, written language is experienced through the adult’s oral reading and story time.
A child’s mind is mathematical and based on the order and perceptual awareness found in the development of the senses. The acquisition of mathematical principles is seen as developing logically from concrete to abstract and simple to complex. The child who has experienced basic concepts involved with the practical life and sensorial materials progresses naturally to the beginning math activities. We make this enjoyable by providing these every day activities:
• Counting songs
• Counting fingers, animals, children, objects in the environment, etc.
- Numeral sandbox tracing
- Shape Recognition (using blocks, pictures, and manipulatives)
- Daily routine
- Periods of the day (morning, afternoon, evening)
- lots of interaction with caring adults and their peers
- lots of exposure to books through read alouds and classroom libraries
- structured learning center time
- use of manipulatives
- opportunities to play indoors and out
- children working and playing with other children
- children expressing themselves creatively through art, music, dramatic play and language
- children learning to communicate feelings and ideas
- opportunities that create independency that is developmentally appropriate