During our Seder, the Jewish community learns by doing. We are told that we should feel as if we, too, have been delivered from Egypt. Our sages were onto something. Children, even more than adults, learn by doing.
I often tell parents touring the school that the word curriculum means different things in the early childhood world than it does in the world of education for older people. Curriculum is NOT the subject matter taught, but rather the approach used. At the Gan, we combine elements of several schools of thought, especially the "Reggio approach." But we don't limit our study and teaching repertoire to one philosophy. We follow established "best practice" and thus teach via play. We use the Creative Curriculum assessment tools to self-check that we cover basic developmentally appropriate goals (per NAEYC guidelines), but each classroom constructs its own "units" based on the children's interests. Of course, as a Jewish school, we incorporate Jewish holidays, values and observance into our classroom as well.
Sarah and I have shared - and will continue to share - the exciting brain research that validates early childhood's view that children learn most through play - especially in an intentional environment with involved adults. This article, by Irene Sege, gives an outline of just how “rigorous” play-based learning is in the preschool setting. We invite you to further inform your own learning about parenting and education by taking advantage of our Parent Lending Library located outside my office door. If you read something interesting, either in one of these books or elsewhere, please share. We are happy to have you as part of our community of learners.
Chag Pesach Sameach. (Happy Passover)