To provide developmental care with frequent and fond attention from staff; a safe and interesting physical environment; the opportunity to socialize with other children and a program of enriching educational experiences. We intend to offer a preschool program that blends prescribed educational activities with opportunities for free choice, that has some structure, but allows children to explore a varied environment.
It is our aim to maximize the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of each child. Each child will be considered as an individual first, then as a group member. Whenever possible, we intend to provide individualized care in a group setting.
Our program will be based on the following tenets
- That each child is unique.
- That children can only reach maximal development with quality care.
- That children do not always develop at a steady rate, nor is their growth always a smooth process.
- That all normal children grow from one stage to another, but no two children go through a stage in exactly the same way or at exactly the same time.
- That children develop in four different ways – physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally.
It is our goal to offer a program that encourages each child’s growth, by matching the children’s needs, abilities and interest with a physical setting and ambience that enriches living experiences. This demands a safe environment, that is at the same time creative and homelike in ambience, while providing sufficient equipment and materials to challenge the child’s developing powers – a place that provides abundant opportunities for varied learning and creative endeavors.
Of all the resources available in a child care program, we believe that the people who work with the children are the most important. They make the difference between a good or bad experience for the children. Our staff is expected to create an atmosphere of cooperation, trust, understanding and security, with as little stress as possible. Children are nurtured in a good program, adults and children enjoy each other, listen and talk together.
We believe that
- A good program is relaxed, orderly – basically the same each day, yet flexible enough to take advantage of special events and unplanned teaching moments.
- Each child is an individual first, secondly, a member of a group.
The challenges facing the 21st century school age child
When a child reaches elementary school age, many of their basic needs change in scope and direction. While all children continue to need nurturing from parents and teachers, the nature of their need changes. Starting around 4 years old, children start to transfer their dependence upon the adults in their lives to their peer group. This is the beginning of their quest for independence – A quest that will culminate in their leaving home and leading an adult life. It is a primary goal of parents and other significant adults (i.e. teachers etc.) to offer guidance and support to children as they travel along this road to independence and maturity.
We have been meeting the developmental needs of children for over 35 years. Our 2 centers have a long history of education and experience meeting the needs of our communities. We have seen amazing changes in society, education and technology. Ten years ago, most of our mom’s didn’t work full time out of the home. The demand for full time child care and for care for school age children after elementary school was very small. That has changed dramatically. Whenever a major shift occurs relevant to children, we re access our programs – changing needs demands changing programs.
Our school age program has been reassessed and some focus has shifted to areas we think need to be emphasized. The children of today have many more experiences outside of the home than the children of 10 years ago. They travel more, see more of the world, have computers in the home, etc. There is so much more available to the children of today in a multiplicity of areas, than there was available a few short years ago. Families today are busier outside the home than ever before. Finding time to enjoy family time at home is limited by the demands of career and single parent homes and extracurricular activities. The down side of some of these changes is the potential for becoming a human “doing” rather than a human being. The danger for developing children is that they lose their creativity and their opportunity for intellectual growth. The children of today spend a lot of time being passively entertained – many are losing the ability to entertain themselves without technology. Boredom is a common complaint. Does this mean if we lose electricity, we can’t make it? There is a whole world of learning and creativity open to our children. We adults must help them open and explore this world – to help them enrich and nurture their spirits, their relationships and their minds.
Our school age summer camp and after school programs are based upon the philosophy that our job as educators is to help our children make connections with themselves, their peers and adults. We want to help them tap into their own creativity and their own intellectual curiosity. We do not believe in “warehousing” (putting children in a room with “stuff” and leaving them to their own devices with cursory supervision.) nor passive entertainment. We want them up and actively engaged with other children and with their teachers – learning and practicing social skills, creating games and activities, problem solving and asking questions. Our goal is to provide a challenging environment to stimulate ideas and design projects.
Perhaps our greatest challenge as responsible adults is to foster an environment that allows children to communicate openly with adults. The media is full of tragic stories of alienated children who have turned to violence because they didn’t know how to deal with anger or other strong emotions. Together, we can keep the pathways open between us. Nothing is more important than our children – they are truly our future. Our goal is to be a resource for families – a supportive partner who can continue to offer programs based on traditional family values, supervised by qualified adult staff.