All of our staff are trained on the proper methods of observation. Teachers
carefully observe children as they engage in activities and document
their progress. They also collect samples of their work, and
photographic evidence to construct a portfolio. Teachers use this
information to then complete an assessment tool which gives a "snapshot"
of where your child is in different learning areas, such as social
development, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, and physical
development. Children enrolled in our preschool programs are assessed
using Pearson's Work Sampling System, and infant's and toddlers are
assessed using The Ounce Scale. Careful observation and documentation of
children's activities also help us plan meaningful learning experiences
not only for the entire class, but for each individual child.
Developmentally appropriate practice is crucial to a successful early
learning experience. In addition to maintaining portfolios and
assessments, we perform a developmental screening on each child, known
as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. This tool, completed with
assistance from the child's family, helps us to see which milestones a
child has achieved, as well as areas where a child may need support to
master a skill. Each questionnaire is very age specific, and recognized
by Keystone STARS and the School District of Philadelphia as a highly
effective screening method.
Curriculum and Activities
Our curriculum, Funshine Express, and activities are framed by the PA Early Standards. The
early learning standards are a guide to what children of certain ages
should be learning. Simply put, they provide teachers with goals and
strategies to support children's learning across the domains. For
example, preschoolers are learning social studies when they visit the
local market and learn of the exchange of money for products, or the
purpose of government when they "vote" on different classroom topics.
Language and literacy is supported through frequent teacher-led
story times, and the all day access to books.
Mathematical thinking is
expressed through activities such as block play, which encourages
problem solving and spatial relations. Science is learned through
hatching butterflies in the classroom (biology), or mixing household
ingredients to create a "volcano" (cause/effect, chemistry).
We also promote the social and emotional growth of children by providing
a safe and nurturing environment. Children gain social skills by
taking on "jobs" in the classroom, and being encouraged to be an active
participant in the classroom, by having appropriate access to classroom
materials, and feeling confident to express themselves in their choice