Play is an essential aspect of learning for young children. Curriculum decision making in our program acknowledges the central role of play as a spontaneous, child-initiated, child-directed experience. Teachers respond to children's play ideas and provide opportunities for active learning through play. An integral aspect of teachers' curriculum work is the ability to observe and interpret the emerging interests and abilities of each child.
Planning reflects a balance of activities between vigorous outdoor play and quiet indoor play. Activities allow ample time for children to work and play individually or in small groups, with the focus on activities that are child initiated as opposed to teacher directed. Remaining flexible is also key to effective implementation. Staff plans the daily activities to meet children's individual needs and interests.
Assessment is the ongoing process of observing, recording and documenting the work children do and how they do it, to provide a basis for a variety of educational decisions that affect the child. Assessment is integral to curriculum and instruction. In our program, assessment provides a basis for: planning instruction and communicating with parents; identifying children with special needs; and evaluating programs and demonstrating accountability.
Our curriculum focuses on the following interest areas: blocks; dramatic play; table toys; art; sand and water; library; music and movement; cooking; computers; science; and outdoors. These areas allow young children to work in small groups and to make clear choices. The space is organized to accommodate children's need to play, socialize, try new roles, use a variety of materials, etc. In addition to the spaces available in our immediate environment, we also take advantage of the entire Purchase College campus.