What is curriculum? “Designs of experiences and activities developed by the teachers to help children increase their competence; this should be thought of as including everything that happens to children during their time at the preschool.” (Hendrick, J.,1990.)
Curriculum in Christian early education programs addresses the spiritual implications of children’s development within every domain, recognizing the interplay of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual development and the need for full maturity in each area in order to fulfill God’s purpose” (Lydic, 2007, p. 121.)
For our 2016/2017 School Year Neighborhood Christian Preschool will implementing the following curriculum:
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care seeks to ensure that America's infants get a safe, healthy, emotionally secure and intellectually rich start in life. The goal of PITC is to help infant/toddler care teachers recognize the crucial importance of giving tender, loving care and assisting in the infants' intellectual development through an attentive reading of each child's cues.
The PITC Philosophy
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) approach equates good care with trained infant/toddler care teachers who are preparing themselves and the environment so that infants can learn. For care to be good, it must explore ways to help infant/toddler care teachers get "in tune" with each infant they serve and learn from the individual infant what he or she needs, thinks, and feels. Six program policies anchor the PITC work:
- primary care
- small groups
- individualized care
- cultural responsiveness
- inclusion of children with special needs
These policies create a climate for care that reinforces our responsive, relationship based approach. They allow relationships to develop and deepen over time between infant/toddler care teachers and the children as well as between infant/toddler care teachers and the children's families.
NCP curriculum serves children birth through kindergarten and features skills that research correlates with school success and aligns with California State standards (Common Core) along with the California Preschool Learning Foundations (these foundations identify paths of learning that support children’s learning.)
We support learning through nine domains:
- Social-Emotional – refers to a child’s ability to identify feelings, self-regulate and build relationships.
- Physical – refers to a child’s gross and fine motor skills. The child also requires adequate nutrition and fitness levels to support healthy growth and motor development.
- Language and Literacy – sills refer to a child’s ability to communicate and connect with others through listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Mathematics and Reasoning- skills include a child’s ability to count, understand number sense, manipulate objects in space, and create patterns, sort, compare and measure.
- Social Studies – skills refer to a child’s ability to understand oneself in relations to the surrounding world. It includes exploration of roles, responsibilities and cultural traditions.
- Science – include a child’s ability to inquire, predict, and evaluate observations. They support a child’s ability to explore everyday life, physical properties, and to make sense of concepts such as weather, natural habitats and technology.
- Creative Development – is the ability to respond to experiences by expressing ideas and the imagination through music, dance, dramatic play and art.
- Second Language Learning – is a complex social and cognitive process. It includes phases from pre-production to advanced fluency.
- Spiritual - character development, biblical principles and prayer.
Saxon Early Learning Curriculum
*Supplemented in Transitional Kindergarten only
The Saxon Early Learning Curriculum is a fully integrated, comprehensive early childhood curriculum. It is carefully designed to support 36 weeks of teacher-guided, sequenced, classroom instruction and learning-center activities. Lessons integrate concepts in language and early literacy development, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, health and safety, personal and social development, physical development, and technology. The curriculum provides transitional language support for English-language learners. The content is aligned with multiple sets of pre-k guidelines for the state of California.
Development of language and vocabulary
To succeed across curricula in future years, children must develop concepts and vocabulary to comprehend written and spoken language. Happily Ever After builds this foundation by anchoring instruction in classic stories from children's literature. Children listen to a well-known story in the first lesson of each unit and return to it again and again as they move through the other lessons in the unit. The story gives them a common framework for new words and concepts.
In addition, new vocabulary, skills, and concepts are introduced in a concrete way through a game that relates them directly to the familiar, physical world. In this way, instruction always proceeds from the concrete to the abstract.
Fine motor skills
Ultimately, children need to develop fine motor skills to be able to write. To build these skills, Happily Ever After provides constant practice in cutting, folding, coloring, gluing, tracing, and drawing. Happily Ever After builds children's fine motor skills through practice, practice, practice—but practice that takes place in the context of activities children enjoy.
Success in school depends on children’s ability to understand instructional vocabulary and follow directions. Following directions involves good listening skills and concentration, often applied to multi-step instructions. It also requires familiarity with common school tasks, such as circling an answer or drawing a line across or under. Happily Ever After builds children’s ability to follow directions by teaching the necessary skills systematically and explicitly and giving children the opportunity to apply the skills in every lesson.
To learn to read and spell, children must become conscious first of environmental sounds and then of sounds that make up speech, such as words and syllables. Finally, they must learn to hear phonemes, the small units of speech that correspond to letters. Happily Ever After carefully builds this sensitivity to sounds through direct instruction and daily routines. Children must also learn to attend thoughtfully to the teacher, to the narrator in CD lessons, and to other children. Those listening skills are developed in every activity throughout the program.
Semester 1: This level begins children’s formal phonics instruction by teaching 13 letters of the alphabet—five short vowels and eight consonants. Students learn one sound for each of the letters and how to blend the letter-sounds to read words and eventually sentences. They also learn how to write the capital and lowercase form of each letter and to encode (spell) words with the letters and sounds they’ve been taught.
Comprehension instruction begins with lessons about read-aloud stories and then continues; starting in the middle of the level, with lessons about short decodable stories children read themselves. Lessons for each story build background and vocabulary before reading and help guide children’s comprehension as they read.
Expressive writing is taught through shared writing activities and independent writing in which children dictate what they want to write or use temporary spelling. By the end of this level, students understand how written language relates to spoken language.
Semester 2: This level continues children’s phonics instruction by teaching the remaining 13 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each, and how to write the capital and lowercase forms. With each new letter they learn, children are able to decode and encode (spell) more and more words. They read longer decodable stories as the level progresses, and lessons continue to develop their comprehension and vocabulary through reading. Expressive writing is taught the same way as in the previous level, but as children increase their knowledge of letters and sounds, they are able to write more words themselves.
Handwriting without Tears
The printing and cursive programs follow these principles for learning:
1. Simply Smart Student Materials
Materials are designed to be intuitive, engaging, and developmentally progressive. Direct experience and knowledge of how students learn helped to develop unique teaching materials that are easy and fun. The lessons and activities also make it easy to integrate handwriting into other lessons, and support children working at all levels.
2. Active Teaching
Teaching instruction engages children, so that they are active participants. Students will move, sing, talk, and experience each lesson. Integrated, informal assessments allow the tracking of each child's progress, and adjust, repeat, or vary instruction for the best learning outcomes.
“The Story” Bible Curriculum
The story is an abridged, chronological Bible that reads like a novel. There are no verse references, and Scripture segments are seamlessly woven together with transition text into a single grand narrative.