ur curriculum grows out of the goals we have for all children, and an educational philosophy that is grounded in the principle that children cannot be given knowledge, but rather must be provided with experiences from which they construct their own knowledge and develop their own skills. We believe that planned, organized experiences are important, as are flexible, spontaneous experiences, and that an effective learning environment will provide a balance of both.
Our Early Childhood Program seeks to achieve these goals by combining the best features of current educational theories:
Pembroke Kids' curriculum is developmental and play-based. We believe that creative play is a critical component of early childhood education, and our program provides lots of opportunities for child-initiated learning. To learn more about the importance of imaginative play, please visit the Alliance for Childhood website and download their 8-page policy brief, "Play in the Early Years: Key to School Success." Another excellent resource from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds," can be downloaded here.
The Write Stuff 01/25/2012
Long before a child learns to form letters with a pencil or marker, she has taken many steps toward learning to write. Children must have many opportunities to use their hands to do various things before they can successfully print letters.
Molding with clay, using large and small Legos, picking up beads, and playing with knobbed puzzles all prepare the fingers and hands for writing. Scribbling with markers and crayons, controlling a pencil for use with a stencil, using chalk on the sidewalk, and painting with fingers and large brushes are a few of the ways children practice for later writing.
We stock our room with plenty of paper, paper clips, staplers, pencils, markers, and crayons, and we make sure that these materials are available for children to use whenever they choose. Children may want to “write” notes to their friends or messages to their teacher or parents. They use writing materials in their dramatic play-making signs for a store, tickets for a show, menus for a restaurant, and so on.
As children experiment, developmental stages of writing become evident. Children move from random scribbling to controlled scribbles, to random alphabet letters, to consonants that represent words. Only with lots of opportunities to ...
Learning with Blocks 10/18/2011Blocks are open-ended materials that stimulate young imaginations, provide choices for discovery and invention, and promote the development of problem-solving skills. One day a block may be an airplane. The next day that same block in the hands of the same child can be a sofa for the house he is building.
Building with blocks helps develop young children’s eye-hand coordination, visual perception, and large and small motor skills. It builds self-confidence and provides opportunities for creativity and dramatic play. These things occur naturally when children play with blocks.
We also find that working with blocks often deepens children’s engagement with literature and literacy. A child may be inspired, say, to construct the three bears’ beds and chairs, a pirate boat, or an enchanted castle.
We sometimes take photographs of children’s block creations and invite the children to caption the photos. We also encourage girls and boys to make their own signs for their creations. In these activities, children are exposed to print in meaningful ways.
Inviting children to reconstruct buildings and other things they have seen on field trips is one way we encourage their thinking in relation to social studies. They work with the concepts behind maps and ...
The Artful Classroom 04/15/2011A child becomes totally engrossed, immersed in the process of making a work of art. The sensation of feeling the smooth thick paint sliding onto the easel paper calms the child and brings pleasure in the creation. When the child grapples with the challenge of representing an object or person on the page, she is engaging in a task that is both demanding and satisfying.
Teachers provide an assortment of art materials that children may choose from to make their own unique creations. We do not have the children copy a teacher’s model or make a designated product. We encourage them to use the materials in different ways. Art is a vital and vibrant part of the early childhood program, contributing to all aspects of the young child’s development.
As they draw, paint, and sculpt, children think creatively, make decisions, and solve problems. Children’s fine motor skills are developed naturally through manipulation of brushes, crayons, scissors, and clay. All of these activities prepare children for writing in later years. Language also is developed as kids talk about color, shape, and size, and as they describe their work to friends and teachers.
To encourage your child’s artistic enterprises, provide large blank paper (the ends ...
Let’s Pretend! 03/29/2011Make-believe play is not only one of the great joys of childhood; it also offers abundant opportunities for children’s development. Children develop interpersonal skills, particularly cooperation and conflict resolution, and improve their language and problem-solving abilities in pretend (dramatic) play.
Around the age of 2, children begin to pretend to cry, sleep, and eat. They soon include a stuffed animal, doll, or favorite toy in their play. They also begin to transform objects into symbols-a simple block becomes a fast race car or a stick makes a fine race horse.
As children approach 3, they begin participating in make-believe play with other kids. Dramatic play gradually becomes more elaborate and complex. Four- and 5-year-olds engage in socio-dramatic play, which provides opportunities to rehearse adult roles. Such play helps children make sense of the world.
These first dramatic experiences often focus on home experiences. Kids pretend to cook, clean, and care for younger children. That’s why our dramatic play area has props and equipment .that represent the home setting. These stimulate children to act out roles familiar to them. Dramatic play fosters emotional development as children work through fears and worries in a safe context. Social skills are promoted as children communicate and negotiate ...
More Than One Kind of Smart 03/22/2011“He has a low IQ.”
“She’s very intelligent.”
Sometimes we talk as though intelligence were a single commodity that people have in greater or lesser supply. Yet we see all around us adults and children who are very smart in math but not at all good with words, musically gifted but klutzy on the athletic field, and so on. Most of us, in fact, struggle with some tasks and sail through others.
Educators now know more about this variety in individuals’ “intelligences”-the modes we use to interact with the world thanks to the work of psychologist Howard Gardner. Seven of these intelligences are described by Gardner.
Children with a musical intelligence have a natural ear for melody, rhythm, and other musical elements; spatially oriented children enjoy reading maps and exploring how mechanical devices work. Other children are more at home using their linguistic aptitude-telling stories, playing with words, and reciting tongue twisters. Strong logical-mathematical intelligence shows up not only in math aptitude but in enjoyment of games and problems requiring logic and reasoning. Children who learn best when they are moving and handling things rely on their bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. An affinity for the natural world and its creatures stands out in children with a ...
Process and Product 03/10/2011As adults, we are concerned with the outcomes or the product of our efforts. We want the report to look nice, the cookies to taste great, or the hedges to be perfectly straight. We participate in few activities just for the fun of doing them.
In part this is because we are not still learning how to do most of these activities. But do you remember when you learned how to play tennis or golf? Or use a new computer program? In the beginning you needed to do a certain amount of “messing around”- exploring what would happen if you did this or that.
That is the way it is with your child. Kids are learning new things all the time, and they need the freedom to try things out without worrying about the product.
Luckily, young children tend to be more involved with the process or the doing than they are with the end product or results. That is why your child may draw all afternoon yet still not be able to tell you what he drew. And why one child can pour rice back and forth between pitchers all day long, and another will string and unstring beads every day for ...
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I LOVE the song you taught the kids last week . . . "I think you're wonderful. . . . " They have been singing it all weekend (and doing the hand movements). Such a positive message. And they must have told me fifty times that "Mr. Steve was playing the guitar!"
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the great camp program you provided this summer. This was our son's first year attending a summer camp program and it was more than we could have asked for! He had a great time and enjoyed the many activities and experiences that came with each themed week.
Thinking of you during this Holiday Season! We wanted to thank you again for such a wonderful experience at Pembroke Kids! I truly appreciate how welcoming and supportive you were with our son during his time there. He's having a terrific year in Kindergarten! You remain in our thoughts, as part of those who were instrumental and significant in his early years. Best wishes to you and the Pembroke team in 2012 and always!
We wanted to express our sincere appreciation for your wonderful summer camps. Thank you for your caring, kindness and commitment to excellence in teaching.
Thank you for all that you've done for our children during our years at Pembroke. You've created something very special, and we feel blessed to have been a part of it. Our daughters have thrived at Pembroke, and we are so appreciative of the solid start you've given them. We wish you continued success and happiness in the years to come. You will be missed.
I feel so fortunate that my kids have "grown up" with Pembroke Kids. The nurturing and supportive environment you have provided them has truly been a wonderful experience and we will always be grateful for the foundation you have given them. I always dropped them off knowing they were safe and surrounded by caring people. Thank you so much for giving me that peace of mind.
Ethan loves Pembroke and I know he feels very comfortable with Miss Christy and Miss Sue. He's like a light bulb that keeps getting brighter!Thank you for creating an environment that makes him feel included and accepted.
My daughter is attending Pembroke for kindergarten this current school year, and we could not be more amazed at the excellence of this program. The small class size and the outstanding quality of the teaching have enabled our daughter to excel and grow in ways we could not have imagined, and the year is only halfway through!