How Children Learn
At the BMCC Early Childhood Center, we view our early childhood classrooms as a microcosm of a learning community. Our children are viewed as members of a peer group. As we begin to think about ‘learning through play’, the emergent curriculum is part of the early childhood methodology we utilize to foster learning in children. Our curriculum is diverse from classroom to classroom, from age group to age group, yet planned to reflect the Centers philosophy and goals for children.
Our goals are as follows; activities with children aim to be child directed, teachers assist in the facilitation of learning, we construct classrooms as a means for learning and teachers of young children set up the classroom environment to allow children to explore, to question, to work independently, within a group or with an adult. Within our learning community we use remnants of emergent curriculum, Creative Curriculum, Jean Piaget’s philosophy, the eight stages of Erick Erickson’s approach to learning, Howard Gardener’s concept of multiple intelligences, and supportive elements of the Reggio Emilia approach.
Our objective is to create critical thinking in young children. This is done by; forming healthy attachment to adults, developing a positive self image, development of the ‘whole child’ and supporting the idea of continuous growth through an enriched curriculum.
Family Involvement Encouraged
To further support children’s growth and development in the classroom, we encourage family involvement. Family involvement includes maintaining the conceptual approach to children’s learning as parents serving as primary teachers of their children’. To further support these concepts we attempt to build a partnership between student parents, teachers, administration and community at large. Our vision is to prepare respectful, responsible, caring, skilled, and literate life long learners through a stimulating, integrated curriculum that nurtures individual strengths, and talents in a safe environment. The environmental set up includes many diverse cultures, languages, and themes.
By means of our integrated model, learning occurs by continually building upon new experiences to further enhance the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, fine and gross motor development of children. Early Childhood classrooms comprise experiences similar to a child’s home environment to support a positive, supportive and enriched environment. Children are encouraged to take the lead, explore their environment; establish routine and understand transitions. The environment is rich in diverse culture; promotes a strong emphasis on literacy, math, science, arts, music and movement.
Learning Through Play
Play is a tool for learning. Learning through play helps formulate healthy experiences for children, healthy relationships with adults and before long parents will observe their child; once engaged only in parallel play begin to socialize, to share, build upon small concepts, and experiences learned in school yet similar to home.
The Early Childhood classroom and exploration of learning centers in the classroom encourage;
- Fine Motor Development: used to increase small muscle development. This may include manipulating puzzles, drawing, coloring, painting, beading and manipulating print materials.
- Cognitive Development: used in our interactive learning environment. This includes the engagement with peers, adults, materials and activities.
- Physical Development: used in our interactive environment. This may include running, jumping, climbing, catching and ball playing, and structured outdoor time.
- Social Development: used to promote active learning experiences. This will be done by the use of many dramatic play experiences such as pretend play and role playing.
- Mathematical Skills and Critical Thinking: used to increase all developmental areas. This may include phonological awareness, vocabulary knowledge, problem solving, creative planning, number concepts and peer interactions.
- Emotional: used to increase positive self concepts. This may include the importance of human relationships such as peer interactions and adult/child interactions. This also includes peer negotiations, the ability to make choices and how to properly interact with others.
- Family Involvement: used to increase the educational ability of individual children. Parents are welcome to our open door policy and encouraged to participate in many child centered activities. They are also encouraged to participate in program planning such as field trips and holiday decorating.
- Community Development: Community development is used to educate the parents on activities they can access within the community upon the re-acclimatization into society. This includes childcare referrals, free activities within the city, medical services available, and additional support services they may be able to use upon transition into their own apartments. Local trips to the fire departments, police stations, grocery stores and pet shops are also part of our program.
By focusing on the whole child and providing stimulating experiences, the BMCC Early Childhood Center helps children develop advanced learning skills.
Cecilia Scott-Croff, Ms Ed; SAS