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Creative Curriculum
Children’s Campus utilizes the Creative Curriculum to organize our rooms into learning centers, and to use these developmentally appropriate centers in guiding children through the ages and stages of early growth. Each child’s development is carefully observed and lessons are planned within four domains of development: Social/Emotional, Physical, Cognitive and Language. Our teachers implement Creative Curriculum through the use of learning centers which include: Blocks, Dramatic Play, Toys and Games, Art, Literacy, Discovery and Sensory. With the assurance that their environment is predictable and familiar, the children can settle into learning and function as part of a community of learners.

Caterpillar Café
Our Caterpillar Café is a butterfly garden which has been certified by Monarch Watch as Monarch Waystation #2020, providing nectar and host plants for the Monarch butterflies. The children are able to observe the life cycles of the Monarch and many other butterflies as well as the life cycles of the plant materials in the garden.
Curriculum & Assessment
The Children’s Campus uses the Creative Curriculum™ Objectives for Learning and Development to reflect our understanding of young children’s natural developmental progression. Teaching teams use the four areas of developmental learning – social-emotional, physical, language and cognitive -- as a flexible framework for planning learning experiences to promote the growth of each individual child rather than using a fixed curriculum guide. We develop our own plans to provide children with a variety of opportunities for learning and encourage broad exploration. We support children in doing as much for themselves as possible, given the time constraints of a part-day, part-year program. In addition, we strive to support a variety of social experiences by organizing our time and space to balance individual, pair, small group, and large group activities, making accommodations as necessary for children with disabilities and providing all children with access to semiprivate areas to play or work alone or with a peer. Staff members serve as coaches as children practice social skills involved in peer interactions, friendship formation, and conflict resolution. Throughout the day, we engage children in conversation, with extra support for peer conversation at snack and lunchtime.

Thematic Approach to Curriculum
The teachers prepare an engaging learning environment for exploring a theme, such asbirds, artists, or transportation. We plan the themes to include opportunities for integrating key areas of content, including life, earth and physical science, as well as social studies and the arts.We choose a rich range of materials, including diverse technologies, to entice each ofthe children to engage in the thematic study. We use a group meeting time each day to set the stage for the investigation and introduce relevant concepts. Then the children pursue a variety of activities that reinforce the learning goals. We avoid commercial characters and prescribed products in favor of open-ended explorations that promote creativity and imagination. We also limit screen time to short periods of activity that is not otherwise possible in the classroom, such as child-controlled computer design or internet viewing of animals in their natural habitats. The staff monitors the activities, so that we may facilitate the children’s learning and challenge them at an appropriate level. Children’s explorations enrich their development of concepts relatedto the theme and strengthen their skills in all areas. We extend and apply their conceptsby experimenting with various materials in the school, and they express their understanding by creating their own representations in a variety of media.

“Probably the most important learning your child will do will not involve academics. It will concern character, compassion, kindness, diligence, sacrifice and responsibility.”
                                               ~ Debbie Strayer

Explorations Enhance Skills
Through explorations, the children develop
• a sense of themselves as competent learners,
• strategies for collaborating with peers and adults,
• approaches to communicating their ideas verbally and visually,
• means of discovering new ideas about physical properties,
• skills for small motor manipulation of tools and materials as well as large motor actions, together with an awareness of health and safety practices, and
• means for expressing their creative ideas through drama, movement, music, andvisual arts.

Assessment Plan
Assessment is naturally integrated into the course of every day as ongoing teacherobservation of group patterns and individual development is used to adjust the programto better support group and individual progress. Head teachers plan weekly and monthly, to identify children’s current interests and needs and then plan accordingly for the next week’s explorations. At times, these reflections indicate the need for altering the classroom environment, shifting the unit focus, trying new teaching strategies, etc. If concerns about individual children’s development arise and are not readily remedied via classroom adaptations, teachers initiate a dialogue with colleagues and parents to plan approaches to try at both home and school.

Twice per year, the teachers combine these informal assessment techniques with moresystematic assessment of each child relative to the school’s developmental objectivesfor the purpose of describing each child’s developmental progress. Teaching teamswork together to conduct these systematic assessments, though the child’s headteacher takes the lead in summarizing the findings and choosing work samples and anecdotal records. These descriptions are shared with parents, in writing. Staff – parent dialogue during conferences strengthens our understanding of each child’s developmental profile and often leads to ideas for individualizing both staff and parent support of children’s learning, as well as plans for smooth transitions into the next level of The Children’s Campus programming or to elementary school.

Occasionally, staff and/or parents identify the need for additional screening and referralfor professional diagnostic assessment. In those cases, staff and parents typically include the Director in the dialogue for the purpose of more precisely identifying the focus for screening / diagnosis and to review the resources available to children and families in our community, which depends heavily on where the family lives (i.e., within the Branchburg School District or not, within Somerset or Hunterdon County or not, etc.) and what type of health insurance the family has.

Our Classrooms ::

3 MONTHS to 3 YEARS :::
INFANTS Room - 3 to 12 months
In the Infant Room, we know that young infants need security most of all, and thrive in their close relationships with parents and caregivers. Jill Accomando leads and supervises the part time group and assistant caregivers in the Infant Room. She provides an enriching and stimulating environment for our youngest learners who range in age from three to thirteen/fourteen months. She is an expert at easing that first transition from home to childcare -- both for the child and the parent – allowing at least a month for adjustment to the new environment. A great deal of the day is consumed with routine activities such as bottles, diapers, and sleep, guided by input from the family as to the individual needs of each child. Waking hours are filled with floor activities, sensory experiences, creative exploration and much more to help each infant become more aware of his/her surroundings.

When our infants become mobile, we begin to transition them into the classroom with mobile infants/toddlers as they become more curious and on the move!

TODDLERS & TWOs Room - 1 to 2 year olds
Children must be 1 to 2 years old by Sept. 1 at the beginning of the school year.

Toddlers and Twos want to find out how everything works around them. Jill Accomando, and the part time group and assistant teachers, allow our one- and two-year-olds to practice their growing independence as they move into toddlerhood. We know that there are numerous benefits for young children when their parents and caregivers work together during this very busy stage of growth. Daily reports about diapering, sleeping and feeding schedules are an important daily routine. As sleeping and eating schedules become more predictable and regular, the children learn to feed themselves with utensils at a table with their peers. They learn to nap on their own cot each afternoon. Play provides for sensory-motor learning, as well as the enormous growth in receptive and expressive language abilities during this stage of development. Books, toys, and art activities are designed for gross and fine motor activity while encouraging the vocabulary to describe these experiences.

Our two- to three-year-olds are beginning to feel independent and “in control.” They enjoy each day under the direction of Jill Accomando, with group and assistant teachers who are aware that developing independence in social, emotional and physical behavior is critical at this time. They offer these young learners choices whenever possible while introducing social guidelines for group participation. They focus on self-help skills such as dressing, toilet training and cleaning up. These young children are very interested in participating in small group activities and fantasy play as they develop a strong sense of self. Sharing and developing good social skills -- even good table manners – is an important part of their daily experiences.

Toddlers & Twos DAILY SCHEDULE - 1 to 2 years old

7:30 to 9:00 AM - Arrival  
8:30 to 9:00 AM - Care Time  
9:00 to 9:30 AM - Snack  
9:30 to 10:00 AM - Group Time  
10:00 to 10:30 AM - Choice Time in Centers
10:30 to 11:00 AM - Outdoor Play
11:00 to 11:30 AM - Care Time  
11:30 to 12:30 PM - Lunch Time  
12:30 to 2:45 PM - Nap Time  
2:45 to 3:15 PM - Snack  
3:00 to 3:30 PM - Care Time  
3:30 to 4:30 PM - Outdoor Play  
4:30 to 5:30 PM - Choice Time in Centers  
5:30 to 6:00 PM - Goodbye
Please plan to arrive at the end of the program day
in time to have exited the room
by closing time at 6:00 pm!


THREEs & FOURs Room - 3 to 5 year olds
Children must be 3 to 4 years old by Sept. 1 at the beginning of the school year.

The preschool room is the place for children who are one or two years away from kindergarten and toilet trained, ready to make the transition from toddlerhood to the preschool years. Wendy Rizzolo provides opportunities for the children in her class to demonstrate their newly developed self-help skills. The play of three-year-olds continues to be parallel (next to a peer) or with one or two children. Under Wendy’s supervision, Group and Assistant Teachers – as well as Student Teachers from Kean University -- guide these children as they learn to share and take turns, modeling for and supporting them as they practice problem-solving and conflict resolution. She looks for improved coordination of large muscles through gross motor activities like running, galloping, riding a tricycle or catching a ball. To gain greater control of their hands, they use crayons, markers, scissors, play dough, blocks and puzzles. They develop fine motor skills as they learn to draw, color, and cut. Language develops at a rapid pace during this stage of development, ranging from 2000 to 4000 words. Three-year-olds are encouraged to speak in simple sentences as they interact and describe experiences, and to sing, recite rhymes and fingerplays, enjoy books and stories throughout each day. As their attention span increases, longer activities are planned. Children in the preschool learn at their own pace, in their own way, through developmentally appropriate practices in a creative and structured environment. Recognizing that preschool children are very curious and excited about learning, they are offered many hands-on experiences and a wide variety of manipulative materials.

The transition to pre-kindergarten is made easier as children continue all the familiar and consistent routines, such as snack, naptime and circle time. Wendy Rizzolo brings many years of experience in various preschool settings to her work with preschool children. She creates an environment for these children to address their strengths:
• their ability to use more language and to attend for longer periods of time,
• their social awareness of each other and their ability to interact in longer, more complex ways,
• and their love of new ideas and experiences through exploration.

She believes that children’s play is the most important part of their day. In “Group Time” where they learn everyday math and literacy skills, they also practice listening to the teacher and to each other, and to share cooperative games and music. At “Center Time” they can choose a center such as art, blocks, dramatic play, science discovery, sensory table, games and toys, and literacy for uninterrupted play facilitated by their teacher and her assistants. As these children will be going to kindergarten for the next year, independence in social and self-help skills is taught and encouraged.

Preschoolers DAILY SCHEDULE - 3 to 4 years old
7:30 to 9:00 AM - Arrival  
9:00 to 9:30 AM - Snack  
9:30 to 10:00 AM - Group Time  
10:00 to 11:00 AM - Center Time
11:00 to 11:30 AM - Outdoor Play
11:30 to 12:30 PM - Lunch Time  
12:30 to 2:45 PM - Nap Time  
2:45 to 3:15 PM - Snack  
3:15 to 4:15 PM - Outdoor Play  
4:15 to 4:30 PM - Group Time  
4:30 to 5:30 PM - Center Time
5:30 to 6:00 PM - Goodbye
Please plan to arrive at the end of the program day
in time to have exited the room
by closing time at 6:00 pm!
“Creativity is intelligence at play.” ~ Albert Einstein
“We do not have enough words to express our appreciation for the amount of care, love and nurturing you have given our children. You have provided a wonderful place for them to learn and grow AND given us peace of mind in which to work and support our family.”
~RVCC Children’s Parent of two

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