Why is "Play" so important?
At Growth Spurts, We take Play very seriously. Children’s play allows them to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. The intellectual, cognitive and social benefits of playing have been well researched documented. Children who engage in appropriate, quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behavior, leading to enhanced school adjustment and early academic learning!
As educators of very young children, our core mission is to provide quality care and education through a safe, nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment. By incorporating the developmental theories of Erickson and Piaget, and following a curriculum that focuses on the process of learning, we hope to to instill a sense of respect for the world and all the things that are a part of it. We strive to support children in developing a strong sense of personal independence and self worth, and develop the ability to use critical thinking skills and creativity.
In order to provide the type of environment that will allow children to learn and show respect for the people and environment around them, a constructivist curriculum must be in place. Teaching often involves many unpredictable moments of learning that my not be intended to be taught by a teacher, which makes it more exciting to guide children. In this type of curriculum, children share ideas and learn about diverse cultures. We believe in a very literacy rich environment for children. With the combination of an enriched environment along with a curriculum that enables children to move and explore freely, this creates a flexible atmosphere that allows for many quality teachable moments.
We support an environment that has open communication, and encourage a cooperative community in which children can practice their evolving life skills. In this very diverse world, we embrace all cultures equally and show children that even with vast differences, everyone has something very important to offer. By bringing various elements from different cultures into the classroom, children can learn from each other, and welcome each other with respect. It is important that we select and provide many materials, physical objects and activities that can honor and show respect for all the cultures of children.
Critical thinking and creativity are ways children can grow and show personal development and independence. To foster these skills early in children, a sense of trust must be established with a teacher. Young children will gain trust when teachers respond to them in a caring, loving and consistent manor. Since all children grow and develop differently, it is important that we adapt interactions from child to child; attending to all individual needs accordingly. We must learn about each child’s family to a point where we know and respond in relation to their goals, values and beliefs when it comes to proper care and education. We foster children in our classroom to develop autonomy, and move towards working independently in their ideas. High quality teachers encourage children to think and solve problems in their own way, rather than to memorize specific information. As a high quality program, we believe teaching should be done in a way that will add to children’s skills, and won’t take away anything from them in the process.
Children are exposed to many variations of learning, and as educators we make sure they are exposed to the most developmentally appropriate practices and receive the most excellent educational environment possible. By providing an environment that is open ended, predictable, safe, and enriched with materials that stimulate critical brain development, teaching becomes a JOY!. Everyday, we observe students shape and grow to be critical thinkers, creative explorers, and whole participants in their communities.