The curriculum at AUELC is based on research that shows that children learn best by 'doing' and re-creating their understanding of the world. The role of the teacher is to help children increase their understandings by supporting their explorations and gently challenging their misconceptions.
Helping the child develop social skills is of prime importance. Research shows that children who do not acquire adequate social skills by the age of five have an extremely difficult time developing them later. Children are encouraged to take leadership as well as follower roles. They are supported in their efforts to solve their social conflicts independently.
Children are offered many opportunities to read, write, count, reason, create and use their muscles during the day within the context of play. Activities are set up to allow children of many different developmental levels find success and satisfaction. For example, restaurant dramatic play may allow children to read menus, write menus and take orders, count cookies or money, try on the roles of patron, cook and server. Children are encouraged to act as independently as possible.
The daily schedule allows for periods of active involvement and quiet reflection. Children are encouraged to make choices throughout the day. The day begins with a 'center time' where several interesting activities and choices are offered. These choices may include activities such as art, cooking, language and writing experiences, reading, science exploration, math games, blocks, dramatic play, woodworking, and manipulative activities eg. Legos, tinkertoys, etc. After 'center time' the children gather for a group time which may include music, dance and movement, stories, games and/or discussion depending on the age and interests of the children. Children sit together to have snack which they usually have prepared themselves during center time. Outside time follows on one of our three playareas. A separate story time is often included following outside play. The day generally ends with table activities that may include journal writing, table games, small toys, or art.
Teachers are encouraged to be flexible in their planning to take advantage of serendipities that come along and to adjust their plans to the changing interests and abilities of the children. Walking field trips are taken to areas of interest around campus. Parents drive for field trips to locations further afield, with car seats and safely issues being a prime consideration.