Curriculum Specialist, Cloud and Star Rooms
Very basically, I provide curricular support and essentially mentor the teachers on our approach to "teaching" and the intentional materials we invite the children to work with:
Most importantly, we foster children's social-emotional development and create a community of learners. When we say we view children as "competent and capable," we also mean each child is a protagonist who can have successful interactions and partnerships with peers and teachers alike. As the adults, we support them to find their voices, collaborate with others, work through conflicts, regulate their emotions, and build their self-esteem and confidence as learners.
We know, young children learn best through play. It is the way they make sense of their world, build friendships, and test their ideas. Each child in our care gets to experience wonder and delight in choosing their own experiences: which areas they play in, who they interact with, and the concepts they want to explore. Play also allows them to connect life inside and outside the classroom. They transfer their knowledge from one to the other, like in bringing their observations from the fish pond back to their play or using their favorite "Baby Shark" song to think more about the roles of individual family members.
This year, every child has been a part of at least one small focus group taking on investigations of interests that came directly from the children themselves. In these small groups, children have initiated questions, offered hypotheses, tested out their theories, made discoveries, and reflected on the knowledge that was deepened. When children lead their own learning, they are intrinsically motivated to seek the answers to their questions and persist at figuring things out. Through these meaningful and engaging opportunities, our children are actually learning to love learning for the rest of their lives.
We see the value in offering materials, termed "loose parts," that can be moved and used in endless ways. Access to these materials during play and exploration supports children in problem-solving, engineering, creativity, concentration, hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, gross motor development, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social-emotional development, and more. Often, the loose parts we bring in are natural because children are drawn to their aesthetics and tactile sensations. Items that are authentic also satisfy the children's desire to connect deeply and hands-on with their environment. There is magic in how each child will use a material in their own different way!
Finally, we are dedicated to children's artistic self-expression through a variety of mediums. As part of our professional development this year, we have been discussing process art and children's so-called "100 Languages." By supplying the children with high-quality materials, we encourage them to literally develop relationships with light, clay, paint, color, wire, mark-making, and even 100 more. It is through these relationships that "the infinite ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings, and imaginings" are revealed.
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy these insights into our curricula and perspectives on the different happenings here at Fair Oaks. We envision this as a space to share a wealth of information with you all, but we invite you to enter the conversation too!
What are your questions? Is there something that piques your own interest? What else about your child's daily experience would you like to know more about? Do you like what you are seeing across the center? We would love to hear back from you! Feel free to comment below or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to sharing so much more!