As preschool children grow into Kindergarteners, the cognitive capacities that emerge at this stage allow them to relate to others, integrate information, and construct a realistic view of the world. Furthermore, children at this stage are beginning to develop an increased understanding of the complexity of emotions, which leads to genuine empathy. This ability is what helps children at this age develop and maintain friendships. Through creatively planned activities based on children’s emerging interests and abilities, Kindergarteners are supported in furthering their language, cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development in a safe and welcoming community of learners.
Knowing that children learn at different rates and possess different styles of learning, we base our curriculum and plan activities according to the different interests and abilities of the children. Listening to their cues and observing how they play is the starting point of our curriculum planning. Often, ideas emerge through conversations and open-ended questions. Children’s questions are what enliven and give direction to the curriculum. Our child-centered approach requires teachers to look carefully at children and create an adaptable program that meets their needs. We plan thoroughly, but implement plans with flexibility. Our curriculum planning is based on:
- Observations: We observe children as they play, paying close attention to recurring themes, developmental issues, and underlying questions. Observations guide curriculum planning, as we create opportunities for children to deepen their thinking, represent their understandings, and encounter new perspectives.
- Knowledge of child development
- Understanding of developmentally appropriate practices and the Illinois Early Learning Standards, along with the requirements of surrounding school districts.
- Sensitivity to individual children’s personal experiences and interests.
- Knowing that children learn through first-hand observation, play, and direct experiences.