Our teachers use developmentally appropriate activities — you will find no worksheets or forced activities here — based on guidelines set by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), of which both teachers are members. Below are the guidelines we’ve extracted from the NAEYC.
- Both child-guided and teacher-guided experiences are vital to children’s development and learning. Developmentally appropriate programs provide substantial periods of time when children may select activities to pursue from among the rich choices teachers have prepared in various centers in the room. In addition to these activities, children ages 3–8 benefit from planned teacher-guided, interactive small-group and large-group experiences.
- Rather than diminishing children’s learning by reducing the time devoted to academic activities, play promotes key abilities that enable children to learn successfully. In high-level dramatic play, for example, the collaborative planning of roles and scenarios and the impulse control required to stay within the play’s constraints develop children’s self-regulation, symbolic thinking, memory, and language—capacities critical to later learning, social competence, and school success.
- Because of how they spend their time outside of school, many young children now lack the ability to play at the high level of complexity and engagement that affords so many cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. As a result, it is vital for early childhood settings to provide opportunities for sustained high-level play and for teachers to actively support children’s progress toward such play.