Director: Charlene Dertinger
M-Th: 7:30AM – 5:30PM
Friday: 7:30AM – 3:30PM
New Building L3.61.00
Children learn through playing, through experimenting with the real world, and through interactions with the people in their families, in school, and in the larger community. Our teachers provide an organized place where the children are free to experiment with a large variety of materials, games, and play situations; they plan especially for the social needs of children by helping them learn to get along with each other.
Children in the two nursery rooms are from two and one-half through five-years-old. (Children move on to kindergarten in Fall of the year in which they turn five-years.) Learning to communicate and to use language in a pleasurable and effective way is perhaps the most important aspect of school life. The teachers speak clearly and with rich language; the children hear many varied stories and tell their own stories; they are encouraged to speak their own needs, desires and ideas. Since the families in our Center come from a large variety of cultures and nations, we are able to incorporate ideas and activities from these diverse cultures and encourage the children to share and explore a wide variety of cultures. Cooking, musical activities, dress-up, story time - all provide rich opportunities for multi-cultural activities. Because some of our teachers are Spanish-speaking, the children enjoy learning the names of body parts as well as simple concepts and songs in Spanish. Activities that adults call "messy" provide some of the best opportunities for children to learn. They play with water, sand, paint, glue, flour, glitter, clay and the like. They make things and discuss what they make. They count, weigh, measure, and learn color names. The children build with blocks, solve puzzles, cook, play pretend games, listen to records, make music. Through these things they learn about themselves, what they can do, what they will be doing in the future, how to get along with each other and with the adults who care for them. They gradually learn the importance of letters, numbers and language, both written and spoken. Children have a lot of energy to expend and growing bodies to exercise. Whenever possible they are taken to our playground or nearby parks where they run, jump, yell, play chase, throw balls, and occasionally sit to rest and talk with the teachers about the community life they see around them. When it is too rainy or cold to go outside, the children play actively in the classroom on portable equipment or build with large blocks.
Eager to learn about other people and experiencing strong emotions, the older toddlers are developing a sense of themselves as individuals. The teachers emphasize the development of self-confidence and the ability to cope with new situations while continuing their nurturing tasks. As each child grows and matures, he/she gains a new sense of power and control with experiences that stimulate language development, foster emotional strength, build strong agile bodies and support independent feeding and toileting. The children are encouraged to share with one another and helped to take turns in playing - difficult tasks to master for the very young child. The children try their hands at simple gluing and painting projects; they begin to use crayons and markers; they look at and talk about books, photographs, posters, and community life seen on neighborhood walks. They dance to music and come together on the rug for finger plays and simple songs. Good experiences provide happy memories and joyful expectations!
Infant Toddler Years:
The youngest children, starting at 6 months, need careful and thoughtful attention. Teachers are particularly attuned to the needs of individual children. Close personal interaction between children and their care givers and careful attention to health and safety are the hallmarks of this room. The teachers provide a rich visual environment, safe and developmentally appropriate toys, exposure to music, natural life, and cultural life. The children are given ample opportunity to play and to explore for it is these early experiences which encourage children to be active learners in the more formal educational world as they grow. Toddlers, especially, are constantly in motion. They use child-sized steps, a rocking boat, large soft blocks, balls, and a climbing gym and slide to gain skill and confidence as they play. When weather permits, even the youngest children are taken out to the Center's playground or to explore the neighborhood