A Statement of Epworth Preschool’s Philosophy and Objectives
Epworth Preschool’s goal is to foster the cognitive, emotional, and social development of the child in a developmentally appropriate way. To achieve this goal, we provide a warm, accepting, and stimulating environment. Learning situations are set up so as to enable the child to experience mastery and a sense of competency and good self-esteem. There are opportunities for children to express themselves verbally, musically, artistically, emotionally, and physically. Children are encouraged to explore, think, and create. Play is valued as children’s real “work,” and teachers provide opportunities to enhance and extend quality play.
Our classrooms are organized in centers, which are set up with activities to realize these goals. Centers found in most rooms include Blocks, Manipulatives, Art, Dramatic Play, Books/Language, Sensory Table and Science/Discovery. Additionally, we have a weekly music program and many of our classrooms conduct frequent cooking experiences. Classroom curriculum is structured around the use of themes (holidays, dinosaurs, seasons, the rain forest, and community helpers are some of our favorites) to foster a sense of home, family, school, and our broader world. Children ages three through five take field trips, which allows them to develop an awareness of other environments. Daily circle or group times allow the opportunity for self-expression and sharing with others. Socializing, specifically sharing and caring, is a major emphasis in all aspects of our program.
Our classrooms are each self-contained and our low teacher-student ratios provide the opportunity for teachers and the children to develop a warm, strong relationship. We structure our days with a balance of teacher- and child-initiated activities. This balance allows children to gain a sense of security from the regular routines in their daily schedule while exploring their environment through free-choice activities.
As part of our philosophy of respect for the dignity and worth of each individual child, family member, and colleague, we at Epworth have long observed the practice of using first names for teachers as well as children. At Epworth, children are respected as whole human beings in their own right and seen as unique, incomparable individuals developing along a continuum that really never ends, rather than seen as incomplete pre-adults. Childhood is not seen as merely preparation for the “real world” of mature adulthood, nor is it merely a series of developmental stages that are only as good as the one that follows. At Epworth, teachers and children work as partners in the learning process and share decision-making, thereby supporting children’s autonomy and sense of competency. We have a basic commitment to helping children and adults achieve their full potential through relationships that are based on trust, respect, and positive regard for one another.
Our objectives are:
To provide a warm, respectful, caring and stimulating environment that provides opportunities for self-expression verbally, musically, artistically and emotionally.
To develop a sense of respect for self and others and to foster a sense of trust and respect between child and teacher.
To provide a variety of experiences in art where process, not product, is the main goal, allowing for creative, original and independent exploration by each child.
To increase language skills and vocabulary by providing a stimulating, active and diverse linguistic environment through dramatic play, story time, peer interactions, social experiences, field trips, and other enriching activities.
To expose children to numbers through open-ended exploration of spatial reasoning, puzzles, blocks, measurement, shape and form, classification, and sorting.
To provide opportunities for problem solving and experimentation through the use of scientific methods of questioning and predicting.
To provide frequent exposure to various forms of music, musical instruments and rhythms.
To convey these objectives to the parents and caregivers of our children.
Our objectives are achieved by a daily plan that is balanced across cognitive, social/emotional and fine and gross motor skills. We foster the development of gross motor skills daily through movement activities, rodeo riding days and use of our playground equipment. All classes have playground time for at least 30 minutes per day. Fine motor skills are fostered through use of scissors, glue, markers, crayons, pencils, puzzles, beading, play dough and other manipulative materials.
We foster an environment where children and teachers are treated with respect, and children learn to play and work with others, share, take turns and adapt to a group environment. We utilize positive recognition of expected behaviors as well as strategies for developmentally appropriate classroom management including calming techniques, self regulation, redirection, flexibility with routines and schedules, assisting children in dispute settlement, and modeling appropriate language and behavior. No form of physical punishment is ever employed.
We provide intellectual stimulation to 1) encourage each child to think for themselves and 2) furnish information that challenges each child and encourages them to draw their own conclusions.