The Early Childhood program is an integral part of The Shlenker School’s program. Our program uses a curriculum called The Creative Curriculum® in which we create a classroom environment that is appropriate to each child’s level of development.
We believe that children learn best by doing. Through active involvement with their environment, children make sense of the world around them. The classroom is organized into interest areas, or learning centers, where children are encouraged to explore not only the learning materials, but also their relationships with peers and adults. The classroom teacher acts as a facilitator to the child’s learning, responding to the individual needs of each child. Activities focus on hands-on learning through interactive play and individualized instruction so that children are challenged, but not frustrated.
During the Early Childhood years, the primary developmental tasks children face are building trust, gaining autonomy and self-control, and developing competence and initiative. The Shlenker program supports these developmental milestones by providing opportunities for children to develop their own interests and pursue activities they select on their own. Children are encouraged to make decisions for themselves and therefore experience a sense of control over their lives. The teachers listen to the children, seek out their ideas, and allow them to express themselves. At the same time, we set clear, age-appropriate expectations for behavior in an effort to engender success and minimize frustration. Children are encouraged to learn from their mistakes, to explore, and to take calculated risks within a safe, nurturing environment.
Because the Early Childhood program is an integral part of The Shlenker School’s eleven-year program, Shlenker students benefit from an educational program that is based upon consistent and enduring priorities and values promoting a lifelong love of learning.
Our Infant Program (beginning at 6-weeks old) focuses on providing a safe, caring, nurturing, and stimulating environment for our youngest students. Teachers provide children with a sense of security and strong attachment. Our infant program focuses on students’ physical development, social and emotional development, cognitive skills, and language development. Our program balances establishing set routines for infants while also providing them with the freedom to play, explore, and discover their own identity. An emphasis is placed on sensory activities and motor development. Students also participate in music, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Jewish holiday experiences. Our experienced faculty members partner with parents to provide valuable support and assistance in identifying and meeting developmental milestones.
Our Young Toddler (beginning at 15 months) and Older Toddler (beginning at 2 years old) programs focus on the development of trust, establishing autonomy and self-control, separating from parents, building on existing language skills, and learning to be with peers. Activities focus on sensory experiences, hands-on learning, early literacy, constructive play, music and movement, communication with peers, and handling feelings in acceptable, socially appropriate ways.
The PreK-3 program (for children 3 to 4 years old) focuses on building competence and initiative through active involvement with the classroom environment. Activities promote cooperative behavior, problem-solving skills, logical thinking skills, imaginative play, and language and emerging literacy skills. Interest areas include blocks, manipulatives, science, writing, library, dramatic play, music sensory/discovery, and art.
The PreK-4 program prepares children for the transition to Kindergarten with activities and additional curriculum components that challenge the children in each developmental area. Interest areas in PreK-4 replicate those in the PreK-3 classrooms with the addition of technology center, which includes the use of an iPad. Activities build on existing skills while incorporating new, more sophisticated concepts in all areas of development.