OPTIMAL LEARNING CENTERS CURRICULUM
In planning and implementing the curriculum, we use mainly two proven theories that we know work best for most children. One of these two is the theory of Multiple Intelligence. The basic principle behind this theory is that we are all smart or intelligent in at least eight (8) different ways.
These ways are:
(1) Verbal Linguistics Intelligence (the use of written and/or spoken language and words);
2) Logical-Mathematical (the use of numbers, sequencing, and patterns to create and/or solve problems;
3) Visual/Spatial Intelligence (the use of shape, color, and form, and the relationships among subjects;
4) Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence (skillful use of the body for self-expression);
5) Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence (communicating through and enjoying listening to music;
6) Interpersonal Intelligence (ability to perceive what other people are thinking or feeling through observation of body language and gestures or voice tones;
7) Naturalistic Intelligence (being able to identify and categorize plants, animals, fish, rocks, as well as those materials that are outside of the natural world.
8)Intrapersonal Intelligence (ability to understand own personal emotions, moods, intentions, feelings, self-control, impulses reactions, and interpretations of same).
The second theory is the Constructionist Theory. Application of this theory implies that given an optimal learning environment, all children construct their own knowledge as they interact with both the social and physical environments in given settings.
Through a fusion of the two theories, we are able to plan and implement a program that meets all the children’s needs depending on their developmental levels. These theories are apparent as we teach them or enrich the major subject areas (i.e., mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, art, music, physical education) using an integrated approach across these subject areas.
The foundation of our curriculum would be left incomplete if we did not pay attention to the works of the following:
1) John Dewey (with his experiential learning
2) Marian Diamond (with her concept of stimulus-rich-environments as they affect learning);
3) Reuve Feuerstein whose work on “Mediated Learning Experiences” has lead to intense debate on how the classroom affects student’s metacognition;
4) Maria Montessori whose belief is that given the necessary tools in a prepared environment, children teach themselves;
5) Jean Piaget who theorized that the learners’ interactions with the social and physical environments lead to structure in how they think about things as they assimilate incoming data.
6) Levygotsky who theorized that we learn first through person-to-person interactions and then individually through the internalization process that leads to deep understanding.
WHAT CHILDREN LEARN FROM OUR CURRICULUM
Using a constructionist approach to facilitate learning among the children, the school plans an integrated child-centered curriculum for all the children. Children experience learning in a holistic way, without the traditional restrictions usually imposed by subject area boundaries. Through this integrated curriculum, learning is synthesized across traditional subject areas and all experiences are designed to be mutually reinforcing. Integration occurs naturally because the learning environment encourages children to explore, ask questions, and seek solutions to problems they encounter as they continue to construct knowledge every day.
Vividly apparent in this integrated child-centered curriculum are:
- A balance among large group, small group, and individual activities;
- A balance in curriculum and content areas;
- And a balance between teacher-directed and child-initiated experiences.
FINE ARTS CURRICULUM (Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts) Through this component, children expand their ability to communicate orally and through reading and writing, and to enjoy these activities.
Social studies in the program examine people in society as they interact with each other and with their many environments: physical, cultural, political, and socio-economic. Emphasis is placed on developing attitude, skills, and knowledge through a variety of experiences that engage children in active learning.
The Responsible Living Curriculum component deals with the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual dimensions of human development in terms of issues that are personally relevant for children.
Multicultural education recognizes that all children enrich the culture of the classroom through the diversity of their many origins, beliefs, values, and first languages. Children have stories, songs, dances, art traditions, celebrations beliefs, and values and first languages.
Parents, teachers, and researchers have become increasingly aware of the importance of providing children with planned, meaningful movement experiences. There is a growing realization among educators and health professionals that the vigorous physical activities engage in by children plays an important role in their total development.
Mathematics exploration in children’s early years is related to their immediate environment and is based on a sound foundation of concrete experiences. The classroom contains many sets of objects for counting, matching, classifying ordering, and making spatial relations.
The science component is based on our understanding that children develop science concepts as they investigate and interact with real objects and phenomena. They are natural scientists in that they are curious, observant, and always questioning. Their knowledge of science grows out of an attempt to find meaning in their environment. To learn more click here.
As a result of successfully participating in this curriculum area, children learn to use information technology equipment and software such as computers, keyboards, cameras to create and/or solve problems in their everyday lives.
Family involvement in learning is the most valuable and common partnership in education. It is this partnership that results in the greatest benefits for children during their school career.
In supporting the program and its mission, families send a clear message that learning is worthy, respected endeavor.
SPARK Early Childhood Physical Activity
The SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) Early Childhood Physical Activity Program is designed to encourage maximum participation during movement time. Active engagement and practice in a positive, non-threatening environment are the means for improving children’s personal enjoyment and physical and social development, thus increasing physical activity.