Holy Martyrs A.R.S. Ashkhen Pilavjian Preschool’s curriculum framework for 2- 5 year olds is based on Developmentally Appropriate Practice with adaptations from the Creative Curriculum and is aligned with Child Assessment portfolio tools.
Developmentally appropriate practice means teaching in ways that match the way children develop and learn so as to promote their optimal development and learning. Teachers plan and modify the curriculum based on:
- Developmental stages of children and how they learn.
- The individual strengths, abilities, needs, and interests of each child.
- The cultures of each child’s family and community.
The program curriculum/The creative curriculum for Preschool is based on five fundamental principles. They guide practice and help us understand the reasons for intentionally setting up and operating preschool programs in particular ways. These are the principles:
- Positive interactions and relationships with adults provide critical foundation for successful learning.
- Social-emotional competence is a significant factor in school success.
- Constructive, purposeful play supports essential learning.
- The physical environment affects the type and quality of learning interactions.
- Teacher-family partnerships promote development and learning.
The daily schedule consists of a good balance of child initiated and teacher directed indoor and outdoor educational activities. In the preschool, we offer a learning environment which emphasizes the following five developmental learning domains: Cognitive development, social emotional development, physical development, language arts and creative development.
Cognitive Skills: Children acquire concepts in mathematics, science, social studies, health and other academic areas.
Social Skills: Children are provided many opportunities to develop social skills such as cooperating, helping and negotiating.
Motor Skills: Children have daily opportunities to use large muscles by running, jumping and balancing. They use their small muscles by experiencing drawing, writing, using scissors and etc.
Language Arts: Children acquire pre-reading skills both in Armenian and English languages.
Aesthetic Skills: Children have daily opportunities for aesthetic expression and appreciation through art and music.
Cultural Awareness: Introduction of Armenian and diverse cultures through various activities and presentations. Armenian holidays include: Cultural Month (October), Armenian Christmas, St. Vartanants, Paregentan, Trndez, Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and Armenian Independence Day.
When using the Program Curriculum in planning, the following essential steps should be considered and implemented:
- The daily schedule is flexible and responsive to the needs of the children.
- Teachers plan activities based on family values, beliefs and language of children.
- The indoor and outdoor classroom activities are planned in such a way that provide children with learning opportunities through play, self-initiated learning, creative expression, large group, small group and child initiated activities. Children also have opportunities to participate in sand, water and mud activities. The learning experiences should be extended over several days, weeks or months.
- Children are active participants in decision making about school rules, plans and activities.
- Children have various opportunities to express their emotions in a variety of ways.
- Teachers utilize materials and equipment that reflect the lives of children and families served. In addition, they reflect the diversity in the society - gender, age, language and abilities.
- On a daily basis, children have opportunities to work and play individually, in pairs, in small and large groups and mixed age grouping for three and four year olds.
- Teachers provide opportunities for children to participate in group projects and learn from one another.
- Teachers respond to children’s interests and needs by:
- Helping children explore new concepts and extend learning.
- Using children’s interests, curiosity and knowledge to generate new activities and enhance learning.
- To build children’s skills and knowledge, teachers use scaffolding techniques including, but not limited to, the following:
- Variety of teaching strategies and approaches.
- Many sources to foster children’s curiosity, extend their engagement, support self-initiated learning and recognize what children have learned.
- Plan activities that are meaningful and achievable for children.
- Provide experiences that would extend children’s current understanding and knowledge about a concept.
- Create experiences for children that are purposeful and meaningful related to the key concepts of the curriculum.
- Teacher and child interactions and relationships are essential components of effective curriculum.
- At Holy Martyrs A.R.S. Ashkhen Pilavjian Preschool, the lessons and activities are planned through the process of scaffolding. Scaffolding helps a child perform skills at a higher level than he or she could by working independently. Teachers’ verbal directions, physical assistance, and probing questions help children figure out how to approach learning tasks, improve skills and acquire knowledge. As the research shows, a positive teacher/child relationship is crucial for their social development and academic success. A supportive relationship can have direct impact on children’s motivation, engagement, self-direction, cooperation and positive attitude toward the school.