The Children's Learning Center staff members are committed to providing a preschool learning environment that is rich in hands-on experiences for children ages 2 to 5. We provide materials and situations that encourage the child’s age-appropriate development. The staff strives to be innovative at planning activities that are stimulating, challenging, and appealing to all of the child’s senses.
Although our preschool curriculum reflects aspects of Montessori, it is also influenced by Piaget’s constructivist theory. We believe children are capable of constructing knowledge based on their interactions with their environment. Children can and should be active participants in the learning process. We view our role in the education of children not as the source and dispenser of knowledge, but as a facilitator guiding the children as they explore their world.
Preschool Learning Activities
Children are unique individuals who need acceptance of who they are and respect for who they will become. They are active by nature. Learning by being actively involved in tasks that are both meaningful and developmentally appropriate assures children receive the feeling of success and encourages a love of learning. By providing opportunities for children to take responsibility, make decisions, and learn through play in mixed-age groups, we meet the needs of children today while building a firm foundation for the future.
Understanding the child’s need to develop socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically, our curriculum focuses on providing experiences that will help children meet these needs. Creativity and natural curiosity are encouraged.
Mutual respect between parents and teachers enables us to work together for the benefit of the children. Realizing that parents are the primary teachers of children, we provide support and information so parents, children and teachers may form a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding.
Teaching and Learning Styles
- Children Learn While They Play - Helps children learn and grow while they play. Gives them freedom to move, play, explore, and discover.
- Blocks, Practical Life and Manipulatives - Develops large and fine muscle control, visual discrimination, logical thinking, problem solving, self-discipline to complete a task, cooperation with others, and creativity.
- Circle Time - Develops social, emotional, physical, and language development; listening and speaking skills; motor coordination; appreciation of music, literature and the arts. Gains respect for others and promotes the development of self-control.
- Library Corner - Develops a love and respect for books and literature, creativity, visual discrimination, and fine motor skills.
- Discovery (Math, Science and Senses) - Develops beginning number concepts, observation skills, a sense of wonder, and appreciation of nature. Willingness to take risks in order to learn also provides a foundation for analysis, logical thinking and problem solving.
- Art - Develops fine motor, eye/hand coordination; creativity; and learning about colors, textures and shapes. Learns to express feelings through art, finishing a task, and develops a feeling of self-worth.
- Housekeeping Area - Develops language, classification skills, creativity; grow socially and emotionally, understand self and others; cooperation, sharing, and the development of a positive self-image.
- Playground - Develops large muscle control, social and emotional skills, observes rules and limits, and develop an appreciation of nature.
- Enrichment - Provides tutoring in music and a second language to further enhance the learning experience. Additionally, the children visit other learning environments on campus, such as culinary arts kitchen, earth science labs, and the Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Themed Programs and Field Trips
Children in the Children’s Learning Center are part of Moraine Valley’s community of learners and greatly benefit from being in close proximity to college students and professional staff members who can afford them unique learning opportunities.
Volunteers, including nurses, police officers and firefighters, from college’s programs visit the children to talk about their jobs and explain how they help the community. Students from the Asian Diversity Club spend time with the children, teaching them origami, and Arab Student Union members visit the center to read to the children in English and Arabic. In addition, our “field trips” are on-site trips, making them safer for the children and cost-free for families. Students have been able to go behind the scenes in our theater, tour the culinary arts kitchen and observe students making ketchup, visit the firefighting students to see a fire truck up close, and so much more.