“The vital contribution of pre-school education lies in developing and broadening the range of children’s learning experiences to leave them confident, eager and enthusiastic learners who are looking forward to school.”
Children learn best when they feel motivated and enthusiastic. That’s why when you visit a School for Amazing Kids and watch our programs, you won’t see forced and artificial curriculum; you’ll see a focus on the needs and interests of the children themselves.
That’s by design.
Our curriculum is based on a unique teaching framework called Learn-At-Play™. In many ways, Learn-At-Play™ is difficult to quantify, but at its core, its philosophy is as simple as it sounds—your children learn while they play. We utilize a number of solid tools, teaching tactics and applications to accomplish our educational goals for your children, all disguised in fun and engaging activities.
Imagine that your child’s learning objective is to understand the mechanics of writing the letter “R.” Learn-At-Play™ leverages the latest brain development research that suggests that participating in daily activities in which your child connect with the letter “R” will help your child achieve his or her goal. For example:
Ruthie Rabbit comes to visit. We learn about rabbits, read about rabbits, and snuggle with rabbits. We examine where radishes fall on the Food Pyramid, as we feed radishes to Ruthie! We exercise large muscle groups doing relay races and playing a “safety-adapted” game of “Red-Rover.” We learn more about colors and blending as we color rainbows to take home to mom and dad. We discover amazing science facts as we learned about rain and we talk about red dye, where it comes from and how it works when we wear our red shirts on Red-shirt day. We develop our verbal and social skills as we stand before our class and talk about the race cars (Matchbox variety) we brought for show and tell. You get the picture.
In addition to a multitude of flexible, education- and development-enhancing activities developed creatively and specifically for each age group and learning objective, we use a number of carefully, specifically and strategically chosen curriculum tools, such as Frog Street Press and Three Cheers for Pre K™. Your child will even continue to see some of these in Kindergarten!
Our Learn-At-Play™ program also fosters interdependence, as opposed to independence. Because they spend this time working through activities with other children, they also develop the social skills to survive outside of school. This subtle shift lessens the “loner” attitude in children, while creating the foundation for a more “team-oriented,” socially skilled approach to life. Through this “social play,” children come to appreciate the importance of taking others’ needs and feelings into account in deciding how to communicate, act, and respond. They also learn to care for both their immediate environment and the wider world around them, through outside play and activities geared specifically to build such appreciation. Finally, and very importantly to us, through the concept of interdependence, your child will learn to not only accept but to marvel in the unique ethnic and cultural diversity of our world. He or she will come to an understanding of our differences as people and encourage this same tolerance and love in others.
Through Learn-At-Play, children also development better communication and language skills. Our teachers encourage children to practice active listening, both with adults and other children in conversation. The willingness to “seek first to understand, then to be understood,” as Steven Covey puts it, goes a long way toward eliminating negative conflict before it ever starts.
At School for Amazing Kids, children are encouraged to value communication skills, speak confidently in a variety of situations, develop an enthusiasm for books of all kinds, and to develop early literacy skills. We feel that the amazing value of stories cannot be over-emphasized. Studies have shown that exposure to imaginative stories is one of the single most significant factors in the successful development of reading skills in children. Learn-At-Play™ ensures that children are read to daily in group and individual settings.
Children are active learners, investigating, experimenting, designing, and creating their own unique masterpieces. They develop an understanding of the wider environment—the changing seasons and the natural world—through outside play and working in the garden, planting and tending seeds and observing nature.
We also recognize that we would be doing our children a disservice by not including computers in our Learn-At-Play program. We believe that providing access to great training in computers is critical to the long-term success of children. The understanding of early mathematical concepts such as numbers, measurement, and size and shape is encouraged through activities involving sorting, matching, comparing and making patterns and sequences. Activities such as baking, planting, board games, number songs and rhymes, and role play further aid the development of early mathematical and scientific thought.
“Is it possible to visualize a type of education that sees the child as a builder and designer of images? Children… are avid seekers and builders of images… and they are keenly sensitive to the pleasure of wonder. Children very early become aware that this….can provide them with much of the joy of living.”
– Loris Malaguzzi, “One Hundred Languages of Children” p 35
Expressive arts are given high priority in the curriculum at School for Amazing Kids. Young children are naturally and unselfconsciously creative. At Amazing Kids, the wonder of this creativity is encouraged in a wide variety of ways including painting, drawing, music-making, collage work, model-making and role play.
Creative activities contribute to children’s learning across all educational platforms, developing both knowledge and self-awareness, as well as motor and communication skills. Above all, our teachers nurture each child’s ability to express and appreciate beauty as we explore the talents, gifts and interests that enrich each child we care for.
Opportunities for energetic, enthusiastic outside play are provided daily. Unless adverse weather hinders the health or safety of the children, our commitment is to spend time outside every day. Our outdoor playground area allows children to develop skills in running, jumping, climbing, balancing, riding bicycles and playing ball games. Careful, sensitive gardening enables children to appreciate the changing seasons in nature and the miracle of life; a sensory garden encourages exploration through smell and touch.
Apart from sports and games we also encourage fine motor skills through handling of specially chosen, safe tools and implements, pencils, paint brushes, construction materials and puzzles.
Taken together, our approach to your child’s development—Learn-At-Play™—is designed to operate like a “James Bond for juniors.” When Secret Agent 007 did his job well, he made a real difference in important circumstances and his environment, and no one even knew he was there. We’ve designed Learn-At-Play™ to be much like that.
Through carefully chosen, exhilaratingly fun activities selected purposefully from a variety of sources, we work to help your child develop a love for learning that will last a lifetime, and a capacity for learning that will allow him or her to excel in intellectual pursuits. Learn-At-Play™ allows us to accomplish this in the name of “fun,” allowing children to learn, grow and develop while at play.