We at the Wichita State University Child Development Center believe that children learn best through interacting with their environment. Because all children are unique individuals and learn in different ways, we encourage exploration of materials in play-based settings. Every teacher is responsible for planning and implementing meaningful lesson plans and activities through the use of Developmentally Appropriate Practice. Classroom lesson plans and curriculum are in alignment with standards/benchmarks set by the Kansas Early Learning Document. (www.ksde.org) Individual lesson plans are also created for each child on a monthly basis that are directed at helping each child achieve developmental milestones. A developemental portfolio will be made for each child and follow them as the move from room to room.
The following areas are part of the CDC’s play-based settings used to address social/emotional, physical, sensory, language, cognitive, science, creative and individual development. Each developmental area is incorporated in each classroom; from Infant to PreK.
At the Art Center, children will learn observation, recall, classification, creativity, fine motor skills, emotional expression, pride autonomy, sharing and language. They will also develop hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills. Art encompasses a wide range of activities; painting, gluing, coloring, cutting, 3D art, and collage art are just a few of the art activities you may see.
While playing with blocks, children will be involved in creative thinking, problem solving, and experimentation with area/space/size/shape/depth/balance/gravity/value/weight/position/stability, language, patterning, and cause and effect relationships. They will also learn to observe and follow safety rules as well as develop respect for the work of others. You will see several different kinds of blocks in the block area; soft blocks, cardboard blocks, wooden blocks, and plastic blocks are some that we have. Other materials that are incorporated in the block center to enhance the educational and imaginative experience would be small animals, people, cars, and other building materials.
When reading books and being read to, children will learn concept formation, object labeling, peer and adult interaction, sentence structure, language, vocabulary growth and a positive attitude toward reading and books. In most rooms the book areas are also areas for the children to get comfortable and relax with soft lighting, fluffy pillows and lots of stuffed animals. You will find child sized furniture, puppets, babies, and blankets for the children in these areas as well. Taking care of books becomes part of a routine as chiildren understand the value of books and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
While involved with cooking, children will learn self-esteem, safety, cooperation, nutrition, health, task completion, language, direction following, cause and effect relationships, measurement and concept information. We apply for grants through out the year that provide us with the opportunites to grow fresh gardens, purchase nutrition lesson plans, and assist us with activities in this area.
During dramatic play, children will learn socialization, representation, language, coping strategies, sharing, cooperative decision making, imagination, to value other peoples cultures/values/places/people, and problem solving skills. Here children have a wide range of toys to choose from. They have dress-up clothes, babies, kitchen toys, a kitchen, puppets, dollhouses, cars, tools, jewelry, and car garages, just to name a few of the many things they can imagine and do in the dramatic play area. In the dramatic play area they take on family and community roles that help them understand what poeple do and how they act. In essence they have an opportunity to try on a role to see if it fits their personalities. We incorporate each childs culture, language and props into the rooms so that each child feels special and unique.
While working with manipulatives, children will learn problem solving, decision making skills, peer interaction, self-discipline, relationships, dexterity, task completion, classification, sequencing, number concepts, visual discrimination, self-concept, fine motor control and eye-hand coordination. Some things that you may find in this center would be string beads, connecting beads, puzzles, peg boards, sorters, tweezers, and activity boxes. Each room has a variety of activites to choose from so that the children can learn at their own pace with things that intrest them.
While working on math, children will learn comparison, measurement, classification, counting, operations, number concept, spatial relationships, sets, language and problem solving. Math centers incorporate such things like scales, measuring cups, counters and sorters, flash cards and a number of other activites to help a child become familiar with math and all the fun that comes along with it.
In the science area children will learn about seasons, sharing, physical changes in the world (life cycles, season changes, senses, body parts rain, etc.), measuring, pouring, weight, volume, creativity, solids, liquids, balance, imagination, fine and gross motor skills, conducting experiments and eye hand corrodiantion. Things you may find in the classrooms are measures, weights, bug blocks, globes, maps, fossils, trees, flowers, classroom pets, solar systems, science/cognitive books and posters, nature materials (rocks, pine cones, sea shells, etc.), thermometers, rulers, and play animals/bugs/people.
Dancing and listening to music teaches children emotional expression, positive self concept, creativity, awareness of self and others, listening, communication, following directions, creative movement, imagination, language, and beat and tempo. Things that are brought into the classrooms for this area include music instruments, musical props (streamers, batons, etc.), all types of music on CD's, pianos, drums, etc. Here your child will also learn about different cultures and the instruments and music they listen to, imitation and repeat patterns, to create and compare words, vocabulary and actions from songs and fingerplays, and fine and gross motor skills from playing instruments.
When playing outdoors, children learn about decision making skills, problem solving, autonomy, large muscle coordination, social relationships, language, imagination and safety. Outdoor play occurs at least twice a day in every classroom weather permitting. Outside you will see developmentally appropriate equipment, swings, slides, bikes, sandboxes, seesaws, water tables and other toys such as blocks, cars and babies. Nature walks are taken with teachers and the children have free range of the playgrounds which are secured by a locked privacy fence.
While working with sensory exploration, children will learn large and small motor control, eye-hand coordination, identification of properties, measurement, comparison, observation, evaluation, prediction, cause and effect relationships, cooperation, social interaction, language and sharing. Sensory experiences are also meant to expose chiildren to various types of foods, textures, and experiences that they may not otherwise get exposed to. There are several things that involve sensory experiences within the classrooms, the main one is the use of the messytables, located in each classroom and outside. In the messy tables children will experience things such as oatmeal, cornmeal, pasta, beans, rice, sand, water, and flour to name some. Sensory experiences can also be activities such as swimming in water, playing in a pool oi flour, or a bucket of spaghetti! Sensory experiences can also be found at the tables with playdough, volcanos, pudding, goop, lotion and shaving cream. There are many many more experiences your child will enocunter with sensory activitites while enrolled at the CDC.
When learning to write, children will learn organization, fine motor control and language skills including letter formation and recognition. Writing is a great way to express yourself and the children love to color, draw and be creative. Preschool classrooms will work on forming and writing letters and our PreK classroom will work more on this so that they have mastered this skill for Kindergarten. You will be able to track your child's progress in their developmental portfolios. You will see how dots become people and lines become letters.
While working on the computer, children will learn such skills using the mouse and keyboard to access the screen and develop educational /cognitive concepts based on the particular software. Children are limited to computer time in each classroom. All children two and up have access to a computer.