"I touch the future. I teach." Christa McAuliffe (Teacher/Astronaut)
First Steps Preschool embraces teaching as an opportunity to inspire and empower our children. We identify and meet the children's needs based on they way that they learn, as opposed to the way adults normally teach. Children learn best by way of their senses and by "doing", much of which occurs while playing.
The children's needs are evaulated through staff observations at which time individual plans are developed for each child which include age and individually appropriate goals with specific activities and experiences to be provided by the staff in support of these goals.
The curriculum we utilize supports the growth of the children across all ares of develpment (language arts, physical develpment, mathematics, creative develpment, science and socio-emtional development).
As we are enrolled in the Delaware Stars program we strive to excel in use of space, personal care routines, listenting and talking, activities, interactions, program structure and our relationships with parents and staff.
Each and every child is respected as an individual and we will provide:
- Face to Face interactions.
- Conversations with children throughout the day.
- Reading to and looking at books.
- Activities that encourage children to "think" and to use their "imagination."
- Development of mathematical and scientific concepts through play.
- Offering a variety of "brain bulding" activities and experiences.
- Encouragement of talking, laughing, playing, singing and dancing on a daily basis.
- Supporting the development of social competence through play and cooperative work.
The focus for our infant program starts with the basic components of meeting their physical, emotional and environmental needs. We gravitate towards accomodating their schedules at this time and we work closely with the parents/caregivers to follow a food and sleep schedule if already established.
We provide a friendly, relaxed, and loving atmosphere. We offer cozy, soft areas and have space available for different kinds of experiences throughout the day. Our staff interact and engage with the babies throughout the day and are aware of the importance of making eye contact with them while they are eating and talking, singing, reading and engaging with them thoughout the day. We encourage physical milestones, such as sitting, standing and walking. Our teachers talk to the babies, read to them, sing to them, hold them, snuggle with them, rock them and play with them, as much as their age affords.
Toddler Age Program
Our toddlers love to explore and make new discoveries. Our children learning is enhanced by self exploration. They are provided with encouragement and support in the hopes of building their self confidence and self help skills. Our children are provided with daily activities in music, art, and dramatic play. They utilize whole and small group activities to model communication, sharing and cooperation.
We teach and encourage them to express their feelings. Our children focus on vocabulary development by repetition of words and sentences. We build alphabet recognition through play with letters and writing centers, and strenghten conversation skillls with group sharing and reading experiences. We work on problem solving and foster their physical skills. Our children strenghten their large and fine motor skills through various activites.
We encourage their imagination while they are playing through access to multiple centers. We offer several dramatic play areas which include dress-up centers, kitchen areas, building blocks and multitude of others that are rotated throughout the week to avoid boredom.
Preschool Age Program
Our preschoolars are preparing for their academic future of being lifelong learners and are gaining confidence and independence though problem solving opportunities. Care for Preschool age children will be cultivated and progress depending on their individual needs and requirements. As the children grow, their progress is tracked to ensure milestones and kindergarten readiness.
Our preschoolers develop early literacy and skills in mathematics and social studies through structured "hands on" activities. Daily small and large group activities are offered. Literature is part of their every day routine and they create their own stories. We have calander activities in which children learn to sequence events, patterns, and routines. Mathematics affords themt the opportunity for counting, estimating, the making of predictions and the ability to draw conclusions.
Throughout the day they have access to multiple centers including, but not limited to dramatic play, creative arts, reading, math, science and sensory. We help channel their abundance of energy through physical activity, both inside and outside of the classroom.
We strive to set the path for the foundation of good sportmanship, social boundaries, respect (for self and others), self-control, manners, an awareness of the negative impact of bullying and the need for social skills in all of life's situations.
We recently particiapted in a program with the University of Delaware in which we were informed of the top five skills that kindergarten teachers identified as being "most important" for entering kindergarteners:
1. Cares for own bathroom needs.
2. Exhibits self-control.
3. Communicates needs and preferences.
4. Modifies behavior when provided with verbal directions.
5. Interacts cooperatively with others.
Fortunately, these above indicated skills have been part of our program philosophy since our origin, and for ourselves and our teachers, it only reinforces their neccessity for our continued efforts for the children in our program to be ready for the riggors of their academic future in all ways academically, socially, emotionally and mentally.
School Age Program
School age children are provided with opportunities, materials and equipment to allow for them to enhance their educational experience both before and after school. Safety and fun are our goals with the children. We encourage the completion of homework and offer assistance when needed. Our children have structured free choice when arriving at the center after a full day of school and a light snack is provided.
We have found that the school aged children provide reinforcement academically, emotionally, and socially to our younger children at the daycare and they enjoy the roles that this affords them, resulting in emerging pride and progression of their social skills. Our program reinforces the importance of leadership, communication, choices and decision making.
We have a program for the School Aged children throughout the summer which includes inclusion in Milford Parks and Recreation Summer Camp, which they attend 5 weeks in the summer and includes bowling, skating, archery, movies theatre visits, swimming and other outings. Some of these activities will be extended beyond the five weeks for the summer for 2014. Once scheduled they will be made available via calandar on the webside. Look for this around the Spring of 2014!
There is also availability for school aged children to attend when school is not in session throughout the school year and includes when school is out due to inclement weather, unless safety is a concern, at which time the center may close. We do make every effort to open when possible.