© Inland Preschool 2014
Where kids PLAY, learn, grow, explore, & thrive!
At IPS, we learn through PLAY!
Our purposeful play based approach to teaching is designed using Creative Curriculum and Zoo Phonics and is assessed using Teaching Strategies Gold, an online portfolio building tool that allows teachers to gather and share evidence of children’s mastery of developmental, emotional, and cognitive milestones that serve as predictors for children’s future success in school.
What is Creative Curriculum?
For over 30 years, Teaching Strategies has helped early childhood educators across the country to plan and implement content-rich, developmentally appropriate programs that support active learning and promote children’s progress in all developmental areas.
Today, The Creative Curriculum® is widely regarded as a forward-thinking, comprehensive, rigorously researched curriculum approach that honors creativity and respects the role that teachers play in making learning exciting and relevant for every child.
As the field of early childhood education has evolved, so too has The Creative Curriculum, incorporating the latest research and best practices and taking the needs of every type of learner into account.
With The Creative Curriculum we create a high-quality learning environment that enables every child to become a creative, confident thinker.
How do we use Creative Curriculum in our classrooms?
Every day at IPS we have centers in Literacy, Math, Science, Art, Dramatic Play, Blocks, Cooking, Music, and Outdoors. We learn as a class in circle times, and we spend time every day in structured small group time with the teacher. Using Creative Curriculum, our teachers design studies and activities based on the interests of the children and the areas of development that they need to master. Our classrooms are ever changing to keep the children interested and engaged.
What do kids learn?
Our goal is to teach children using all modalities. That means we teach concepts through an active, hands on approach that allows children to learn through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, avenues. We use all of our senses to learn more about a subject than simply memorizing facts about the concept. We purposely create experiences where children will have to think, ask questions, solve problems, and experiment to make conclusions. “Playing” in purposefully designed centers allows children to develop a depth of knowledge that far exceeds anything that can be learned through worksheets and flashcards. We are NOT looking to develop rote memorization which is the memorization of facts through sheer repetition! Why? Because memorization does not equate to understanding, and the simple ability to spit out facts does not give a child the tools necessary to know how to approach the new and more challenging concepts that lie ahead. Does that mean we do not care about learning numbers and letters and other important foundational concepts? Quite the contrary! We immerse our kids in letters, sounds, numbers, colors, and shapes! These concepts are practiced, applied, and mastered through real use instead of through flash cards. We also believe that children’s social and emotional learning is equally as important! If a child can count to 700, but is unable to use his words to solve a conflict with a classmate or to transition through the day without becoming upset, then he is going to have a very hard time in kindergarten. We emphasize all areas of development so that children become happy, confident thinkers who are ready to tackle new experiences and new challenges.
How do you know the kids are learning and developing and preparing for kindergarten?
At IPS, we are assessing children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development every day. We use an amazing tool called Teaching Strategies Gold to gather evidence of each individual child’s progress in these areas. Every child has an online portfolio where teachers share photos, video and notes that show were the children are in their stages of development. “Kindergarten readiness” is something that all parents are concerned about, and we know that there is 40 years worth of research that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that children learn BEST through PLAY! Learning through play is what is taught in early education classes, it is what study after study continues to prove, and it is what early childhood experts as far back as Piaget have theorized for decades. We are confident in our approach and its ability to prepare kids for the rigors of elementary school. We are also confident that children need a loving, safe, fun environment in which to grow and develop!
Zoo-phonics is a FUN and active way for children to learn phonics sounds and letters! By assigning animals to every letter, we introduce children to a recognizable concept instead of to an abstract configuration of lines and circles that are meaningless to them. Through body movements, songs, and games children become friends with the characters and the foundations of reading through playing with these friends! It is a program that all of our teachers are trained in and that we have come to love at IPS!