Our program allows for the child to feel and know that their input and ideas are valued.
We want to encourage the child to continue to seek and explore the vast world around them. Emerging units constantly happen since we believe that the children and their queries are important and can not be ignored. They must be nurtured and given respect. This will foster higher integration of learning and continuous quest and thirst that will hopefully continue throughout life.
The atmosphere is warm and nurturing, filled with lots of exciting “hands-on” learning experiences that change and grow constantly to meet each child’s changing needs. The teacher acts as a guide and facilitator, to ensure that each child experiences a variety of challenging and enjoyable activities.
The curriculum encompasses all areas of their development – social, emotional, physical and cognitive. All activities are offered in a “play-based” environment because that is how young children learn best. The classroom schedule includes a balance of teacher–directed and student–initiated activities, of active and quiet learning activities, and large and small group activities, and individual play.
Social & Emotional Skills:
The ability to work alone and with other in a positive way is extremely important. Children get to practice these skills daily as they play and work together and alone. Adults facilitate child interactions and model appropriate words and actions to use with friends, to join a group, to resolve conflict, to problem-solve together, etc. This is not something that can be mastered in one day. Social skills are developed and practiced throughout the year
Language is developed with the teachers modelling and encouraging the children to talk, to listen, even to write – at every opportunity – what they’re observing or doing as they work / play. Books are an important and constant part of the curriculum and are available to the children at all times. Children are also given access to writing materials and art utensils and are encouraged to experiment with them.
Fine Motor Skills:
Eye-hand coordination and the strengthening of small muscles (particularly in the hands and fingers) are very important in early childhood to prepare children for gripping instruments and writing. It is also important for them to be able to manipulate materials in various ways as they explore and experiment. We work on these fine-motor skills through the use of play dough, clay, sand, blocks, art materials such as scissors, woodworking tools, small manipulative games, puzzles, writing instruments (markers, pencils), and more.
Gross Motor Skills:
Exercising the body’s large muscles is important because the children are still working on coordination, balance, cross body movements and more. Outdoor play is a daily part of the program, where children can run, jump, climb, slide, kick and throw balls, swing and shoot basketballs. On inclement weather days (and sometimes on sunny days too) gross motor play takes place in the large room with balance beams, hula hoops, movement to music, dancing and exercising. We also have a formal playball instructor.
Many of the manipulatives that help develop fine motor skills, as previously mentioned, also teach math skills and concepts. E.g. building blocks of various sorts automatically offer lessons in balance, geometry, measurement, estimation, etc. Children are encouraged to count objects. This gives them a better concept of what numbers mean. Grouping, sorting, graphing, and matching are some other activities that are often taking place as the children play in class.
Science & Nature:
A child’s life is full of real things to observe discover and experience. They then have opportunities to make predictions, see cause and effects, and be actively involved in science experiments. Outside children find worms, bugs, plants, flowers, ice, etc. Each of these discoveries becomes its own miniature science project. In the spring, the children will see caterpillars turn into butterflies, and tadpoles turn into frogs. Watching real things happen is one of the best ways to experience our wonderful world.
Art & Drama:
Exploration and expression· two ways of accessing the inner self. Art is a perfect forum to accomplish this. Art is not forced upon children, but is made available in a most aesthetically pleasing way. Art activities are designed to be open-ended and process oriented (rather than product oriented). Children are offered different media and a large variety of tools with which they are encouraged to explore and experiment.
Children also have the chance to play different roles as they interact and play side by side with their peers. In the dramatic play area children choose to be moms, dads, babies and animals (pets). In playing out these characters children gain socialization skills, and play out what they have seen modeled to them
Music and song are an integral part of the program. Children will learn new songs, sing old songs, sing familiar songs, make up songs, listen to songs, and sing with and without tapes. Most of the time movement is apart of any music in the class. Rhythms and repetitions are subsequently introduced through music (which are helpful for math cognition). Once a week the children have formal music time with IJP mom and music class instructor, Adina Rudisch.
Children are taught many of the beautiful parts of being Jewish. They learn about the upcoming holidays – not only how they are celebrated, but we explore the inspiring values (e.g.: There’s always time for a second chance, as demonstrated in the Yom Kippur holiday, etc.) that are connected to the holidays. We learn about doing mitzvot like giving tzedakah (charity), and reciting blessing before food.