Our Curriculum

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Our Curriculum

Through extensive research and practical application, we are proud to announce our implementation of The Creative Curriculum throughout our learning centers.  This curriculum is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Parents as Teachers, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), as a research-based curriculum centered around developmentally appropriate practice, which matches the natural way children develop and learn.

According to NAEYC, the nation’s leader in successful child development practices, “Developmentally appropriate practice provides children with opportunities to learn and practice newly acquired skills.  It offers challenges just beyond the level of their present mastery and it takes place in a context of a community where children are safe and valued, where their physical needs are met, and where they feel psychologically secure.”  (Bredekamp & Copple 1997, pp14-15)

Additionally, The Creative Curriculum is based on major theories behind developmentally appropriate practice and includes such timeless theories as:

  • Maslow:  Basic Needs and Learning (physiological needs, safety,  belongingness, esteem)
  • Erikson: The Emotions & Learning (Trust /Mistrust, Autonomy/ Shame/ Doubt, Initiative/Guilt)
  • Learning and the Brain (Nature v Nurture, Brain Growth, Repetition, Emotions, Nutrition, Windows of Opportunity)
  • Piaget:  Logical Thinking and Reasoning (Sensorimotor, Preoperational)
  • Vygotsky:  Social Interaction and Learning (the classroom is a community, and key to learning)
  • Gardner: Multiple Intelligences (Lingjuistic, Logical, Musical, Spatial, Bodily, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist)
  • Smilansky:  The Role of Children’s Play (Functional, Constructive, Dramatic, Games w Rules)
  • Learning and Resiliency (Children are not destined because of disadvantage or hardship)

Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers is used to provide nurturing, child care services to children 6 weeks to 36 months of age, providing a wide array of developmentally appropriate activities for your child in a physical environment that will stimulate and encourage maximum growth.  Each classroom has a daily schedule which establishes routine and trust, and lesson plans are posted which enhance your child’s curiosity concerning the world around him/her and to nurture individual development.

Our Infant Classrooms (6 weeks-15 months) provide a warm, safe, loving environment with opportunities to cuddle with a caregiver, explore using the 5 senses, manipulate their environment through hands-on explorations, coo as a book is being read aloud, kick their legs to rhythmic music, or take a nap in individually assigned cribs.

Our Toddler Classrooms (15 months- 24 months) serve as a transitional classroom where children begin eating at group tables, napping on cots, and are given a greater amount of creative exploration experiences.  Children explore and manipulate their environment through purposeful play and free exploration.

Our Two-Year-Old Classrooms (24 months- 36 months) provide a stimulating environment where the curriculum accommodates the traits and needs of your child as he/she is growing towards independence.  Planned activities include, Imitating & Pretending, Playing with Toys, Enjoying  Stories/Music, Dabbling in Art, Tasting Food, Exploring  Sand/Water, Fun with Music & Movement, and Outdoor Explorations which enhance and stimulate brain development and foster independent thinking.

Our Preschool Classrooms (3 years – 6 years) offer a wide variety of program choices and services to meet the needs of our unique children and families.  Creative Curriculum for Preschool is the curriculum used to guide learning that is based on the Illinois Early Learning Standards and provides high-quality early education in spacious classrooms that are divided into 11 interest areas, which stimulate brain development and challenge children at their individual developmental levels:  Block Play, Art, Dramatic Play, Library, Toys/Games, Cooking, Music & Movement, Sand & Water, Discovery, Computers, and Outdoors.

Our private preschool classrooms are broken down into a 3-4 year-old classroom (2 years prior to entering Kindergarten) and a Junior Kindergarten Prep classroom (children age-eligible for Kindergarten the following academic year).  Both of our private preschool classrooms offer quality curriculum, and assessment as outlined above.

We are a proud partner with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Birth-3 Initiative.  This collaboration is offered at Early Explorations and serves up to 20 families who benefit from the additional support of a certified Parent Educator.  Families participate in play groups, parent education programs, field trips and developmental visits.  This program is offered at no cost to families, however, families must meet eligibility requirements.  Please see our Parent Educator or Site Director for additional information.

We are a proud partner with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Preschool for All Children 3-5 Year Initiative.
This grant award established formal collaboration between ISBE and Early Explorations in 2005.  Through this collaboration, we are able to offer a half-day, Pre-K program to 20 qualifying children, where a certified teacher leads the learning process.  Children participate in play-based screenings to qualify for this no cost program.  Wrap-around child care services are available on-site, as well, for a fee.

Individual child assessment is documented, utilizing Teaching Strategies Gold Assessment, where a portfolio collection of your child’s individual work is collected overtime, and contains photos of your child, a developmental checklist, and narrative reports, summarizing your child’s overall development at specific points, documenting developmental milestones and establishing future goals specific to your child.

Early Explorations and Early Explorations Too follow the proven theory that children learn best in a secure environment, by repetition and by self-manipulation.  Therefore, Early Explorations & Early Explorations Too will offer such enrichment curriculum as parents and faculty express interest.   This information will be shared with families prior to its implementation.  Examples of enrichment curriculum we have previously offered are:
Safe Touches, Learning Thru Literacy, Happy Kids, and Spanish classes.  Often our Parent Educator leads these enrichment curricula.  We are open to any suggestions on enrichment curriculum that you believe will assist your child in succeeding.  Please bring any such suggestions to the attention of the site director.