Our Curriculum and its benefits for children
Children are natural learners that observe, imitate and construct meaning from what exists in their close environment. Thus, our activities are usually designed to be open-ended, use natural materials, involve integration of different senses, and to allow for individual expression, imagination and the a feeling of success.
We view play as the serious work of childhood, and that learning by doing provides the foundation for active imagination, problem solving, and creative thinking.
Children engage in uninterrupted play as part of their indoors and outdoors activities. Their imagination can run free using materials, household items and playthings that we have carefully chosen or constructed from natural materials. These include silk cloths, wooden animals, trains and cars, handmade dolls, free form wooden blocks, nuts, shells, and much more.
Our outdoor environment has natural ground cover, large trees, a vegetable garden, cubby house and ‘junkyard’, which are all areas where children like to immerse in play.
Seasons and festivals
Festivals are both celebration and recreation. They enforce shared values, strengthen the community and mark development through time. Children learn to trust that the seasons will follow each other creating a larger sense of rhythm in their lives.
Journeying with the children through the seasons of the year, through festivals, gardening, and craft activities, we bring a sense of wonder and reverence for nature. Through cooperative and careful work indoors and outdoors we encourage respect for both the environment and one another.
Bread making is a purposeful as well as sensual activity. The children make it and then eat what they made. The dough is soft, smells and tastes good and the children can make shapes with it. The special rhythm, song, and ritual create a special mood in the room.
The children paint with great enthusiasm and experience the colours with no inhibition what so ever. On the damp paper, the water colours spread out and either run into one another or ray out in the other direction. The therapeutic sense of water contributes to calmness and wonder as well as skills development and sensory/motor integration. It also allows the development of sequence and self-regulation.
Particularly characteristic of our programme is that stories are told and not read from a book. Teachers create stories and use different props while telling them and create a special atmosphere for story-telling time.
Listening to a story creates a special concentration in children while the darkened room, burning candle, song and music build a mood of wonder. The story images create an inner picture in the children that influences and nurtures them.
Our practice of storytelling contributes to language development. The child’s memory is developed along with a sense for the beauty and expressiveness of language.
Circle time is an opportunity to come together as a group. It involves singing, speaking, movement and gesture. We usually centre the circle on a theme and build up a little story made of songs, rhymes, finger play and singing games.
Gardening is a wonderful and enriching experience for the children. The activities around the garden involve team work, motor skills, communication, purposefulness and fun.
Throughout the seasons the children, faculty and parents assist in planting. Each class tends to its own garden plots by planting various bulbs, flowers, and vegetables during the spring and autumn. As a result, the children are able to see for themselves the fruits of their labour. They enjoy decorating the classroom with the flowers, and eating the vegetables for snack!
Dialectic between structure and freedom comes into expression in our junkyard. The boundary around the junkyard gives the children the security of knowing that this is their own micro-world in which they may freely express their feelings.
Play in the junkyard involves the whole person: muscles and senses, emotion and intellect, individual growth and social interaction. We believe the junkyard makes an important contribution to our children’s readiness for 1st grade. Here, children gain experiential foundations on which they can build more abstract learning in the years to come.