The classroom teachers respect each infant and toddler’s schedule and work closely with families to ensure consistency between home and Sandwich Children’s Center.
The program is designed to encourage:
--exploration and enjoyment of the environment; --connection with caregivers; --coordination of small and large muscles; --language and the ability to communicate with adults and peers; --self-help skills—eating, toileting, dressing, washing hands; --self-awareness and self-esteem; --growing ability to share and work cooperatively.
The classroom environment includes: art materials, blocks, puzzles, reading, dramatic play, sensory table, separate outdoor play area and screened porch, diapering area and private bathroom.
Classroom in action
The daily schedule provides a framework, but teachers recognize it is important to remain flexible in order to meet the needs of the group and individual children. The classroom of mixed ages helps the younger children learn from observing their older peers, and the older children benefit from helping and teaching the younger. Each day provides ample time for children to interact with the materials and to initiate play with each other or alone. Teachers are facilitators and keen observers, for it is through their observations of the children’s interests that new materials are added to the classroom and projects for the children emerge. For example, a toddler shouts in excitement and all gather to look at a caterpillar he finds in the vegetable garden. They watch it move, see what it has eaten and hold it gently. The teachers expand that experience by reading the story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” providing playdough to roll out their own caterpillar, introducing new vocabulary to help describe what they’ve seen, and encouraging creative “like a caterpillar” movement. This is called emergent curriculum, and through it children can explore various topics in greater depth at the moment of their greatest excitement and wonder.