What curriculum does the Kids’ Co-op use?
Our mission statement says that we use a child-centered, play-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum. We also say we use an emergent curriculum. What does all this mean?
Child- centered: The learning is done by the children. Research shows that the most impactful long-term learning happens when you do something to gain knowledge- not we when we “lecture” to impart knowledge. Learning must be experienced!
Total Physical Response!
The more the senses are activated, the more likely the message will get to the brain and stay in the brain.
It’s got to be real ~ Concrete ~ Hands-on!
Children need to be engaged with authentic tasks that are meaningful to them.
Play-based: Many schools and centers say that they are play-based, but look and feel very different from our school. What does this term mean? The research that shows the effectiveness of play-based learning is very clear on the definition: Play is active, child-initiated, process oriented, intrinsically motivated, and self- chosen. The most important part of our learning day is the child-directed play time- when children are able to choose what they play, how long they play, and how they play.
The best things in life are free! Talk to your students! Read to them! Sing with them! Play with them!
It’s what the students are DOING, not what the teacher is doing!
Developmentally Appropriate Practice: This term means that our teaching is grounded in the research on how young children grow, develop, and learn. Teachers must have an in-depth understanding of how children typically grow and develop, and then apply this knowledge to each individual learner. Through observation and assessment, teachers are able to meet each child where they are at in the developmental continuum. Equally important in this process is knowing families- the very nature of a co-op encourages this!
You have to spark the attention and interest of your students before you can teach them. If they are motivated, curious, and challenged, they will learn.
Connect it Up!
You have to hook new learning to something that is already in the brain to make those connections. Start where the children are.
Emergent curriculum: is very closely tied to the idea of developmentally appropriate practices. We do not use a pre-packaged curriculum because children are not pre-packaged! Our teacher’s first few weeks of lesson plans are very vague on purpose. Although each teacher has a general idea about where the children are, each class and each is at a different point on the continuum. Our teacher’s strive to make learning relevant and meet the needs of each child.
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
Repetition (with feedback) is key to making those pathways firm in the brain. Children must do things over and over and over again.
Start simple and move to increasingly complex tasks to build on successful learning experiences.