Lakemont is the curriculum our program is trying out (and continually editing, adding to, and altering like a child with a big lump of play dough). My last blog introduced it, and this one gives you an idea of how it is different from other curricula.
- Constructed on an original Curricular Continuum (see below) illustrating the learning process moving through Evidence of Child Development, Expectations for learning, Environments of physical, emotional, and educational safety, Experiences that are child-centered and designed for purposeful play; Execution of those experiences based on the Human Factor and Developmentally Appropriate Practice; and Evaluation of child progress and program quality based on the premise that Strengths will meet Needs.
- Based on the evidence of the most well-known and respected theories and research on child development and learning, but is an Eclectic blend allowing for Elasticity in planning for distinctive family and community types, specific program missions, teaching style preferences, and most importantly, individual child learning methods. Lakemont can be used by any program and specifically includes an addendum for use by faith-based programs.
- Emphasizes that young children learn best by play which includes the methods of Movement, Sensory Operations, Manipulation, Construction, Role Play, and Expression and must be designed through SARA, in which each child must be able to Select, take Action, actively Reflect upon, and Apply his/her learning.
- Mandates inclusion of and emphasis on:
Literacy in all areas of learning Family in all areas of learning, planning, policies, and assessment Problem-Solving in the form of daily or weekly challenges Humor as a strength of development, an element of the emotional environment, and a vital teaching method
- Emphasizes a philosophy of “Success of the Safest” by mandating the careful creation and continuous maintenance of safe environments with respect to:
A physical environment in which each child is kept healthy, and free from harm
An emotional environment that builds realistic self-esteem and a sense of community
An educational environment whose organization includes:
Staff professionalism and training in child development & learning research
Settings designed, arranged, and organized developmentally
Systems of organized but flexible planning yearly, monthly, and daily
- Mandates the exclusive use of Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and emphasizes that it is the Learning, not the Teaching, that must be uppermost in the process
- Suggests the use of a system of individual child assessment of progress and need that uses each child’s STRENGTHS to meet his NEEDS; mandates inclusion of parent input in planning; and calls for a minimal use of formal standardized testing formats.