Children are grouped according to age and developmental maturity into three groups: infants (6 weeks - 18 months), toddlers (18 - 36 months), mixed-age preschool (3-5 years old).
Each classroom has assigned teaching staff who have primary responsibility for that group of children. These teachers provide ongoing personal contact, meaningful learning activities, supervision and immediate care as needed to protect children’s well-being. Children stay with the same set of teachers until they move to the next age group. This allows time for relationships to develop and provides a sense of continuity for the children.
When it is time for children to move to the next age group, families are notified of the upcoming move before it happens. Children spend a transition period, the length of which may vary according to age, visiting their classroom; gradually increasing the amount of time they spend each day in the new classroom.
Our programs are based on the principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice*. Several primary themes guide the structuring of our program. These include:
* Bredekamp, S., & Copple, C., 2009. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs: Revised Edition. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The curriculum resulting from these guidelines is multifaceted, providing opportunities for the development of social and emotional skills, gross and fine motor skills, and perceptual and cognitive readiness. Sound health and nutritional practices are emphasized. Safety is stressed. Through teacher/child interactions, children learn language and problem-solving skills. Children are offered a program rich in assorted activities. Choices alternate between quiet and active play, both indoors and out to keep the children stimulated, interested and relaxed.
As a formal curriculum model, UBCCC uses The Creative Curriculum for Infants & Toddlers and The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. The Creative Curriculum partnered with the use of the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool provides us with a framework for making curriculum decisions and was chosen because it is consistent with UBCCC’s goals and objectives.
The Creative Curriculum provides teachers with an overview of child development andthe many ways children are unique. It stresses using observations of children’s interests and abilities to plan activities.
The Creative Curriculum is inclusive of all children – those developing typically, those with disabilities, and children who are learning English as a second language. The Creative Curriculum meets all the needs of the diverse UBCCC population.
UBCCC philosophy is based on giving children choices. The Creative Curriculum stresses setting up the classroom environment to provide many opportunities for children’s learning and exploration.
UBCCC uses The Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool to set goals and objectives for individual children based on teacher observations. The Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool encourages teachers to observe children’s strengths and to assess how to build on those strengths. Observations are gathered while teachers watch children play and as they interact with them.
The Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool also provides information to share with families about their children’s developmental progress. In fall and spring, Progress Reports are written and Parent-Teacher Conferences are held. At this time, teachers and families share information about the individual child. The Creative Curriculum and The Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool provide resources for teachers to build partnerships with families.
Teachers attend training in observation and assessment methods and the use of The Creative Curriculum and The Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment Tool.
Children develop and progress at different rates. Occasionally, a child’s development is not within “typical” guidelines. Teachers and families will meet to discuss concerns, any information gathered by assessment methods, and the family’s observations to decide what action will be taken. The Erie County Early Intervention Program or The Committee on Preschool Special Education may be asked to screen the child, if the family requests screening. If screening results in an individualized education plan (IEP), teachers will incorporate the child’s needs into the daily curriculum. Arrangements can be made for a child to receive services at the center.