At SEEC, we believe that children are much more than cute. We believe they are curious learners who should be respected in the same way we do adults. Honoring our young learners has long been a hallmark of our school and it is no different in our weekend programs.
Our weekend family programs are an extension of our school’s pedagogical model so that we can effectively incorporate the caregiver in the learning experience. Our programs have three goals:.
- Create community with our families.
- Support the cognitive, physical, and emotional development of young children.
- Support family experiences that promote a love of learning in a variety of environments.
This Saturday we will spend time with our weekend faculty thinking about how we support these goals in one of our staff development sessions. We will specifically be thinking about the power of inquiry and curiosity. Although our lessons are written ahead of time, we feel it is important to incorporate our students’ perspectives and experiences into the learning process. We will also spend time discussing how we support community. The weekend faculty is always excited when they see returning families and we want to make our participants feel comfortable and welcome. Finally, we will spend some time considering the language we use in the classroom, what it communicates to children and also how we can work together with the caregivers to support positive outcomes.
We are excited to begin another year together. We hope you will join our community for a workshop sometime soon.
If you are new to our programs, this guiding document below will help you understand our core beliefs as educators and what to expect from our family experiences.
- …that children are individuals who develop and learn differently. If you let them choose what speaks to them, you will set them up for a lifetime love of learning.
- …that caregiving is a hard job and is not to be judged.
- …that young children are developing their ability to sit, listen, cooperate, and control their emotions. As adults, is it important to remember that this is hard work and we should try to balance our expectations with a child’s individual progression.
- … that weekends are for fun and family.
- …that playing is learning.
- …in playing with children, being silly, singing, having fun, and getting dirty.
- …in asking open-ended questions and wondering out loud, even with infants and toddlers.
- …in taking time to stop, look carefully, and describe the objects we encounter in the classroom, community, and in the museums.
- …in encouraging children to try new skills and not be afraid to fail.
- …in a community of learners. Learning truly begins at birth and should continue into adulthood.
- ….that having a calm body and an adult hand will keep us and the objects we visit safe, but this will not preclude us from looking, talking, singing, and playing during our museum visits.
How We Teach
Not all children will be interested in ALL of our teaching methods so we use a variety of techniques to engage them. Follow your child’s lead and be flexible; there is no one way to learn.
The world is our classroom and we not only use museums, but parks, stores, libraries, and beyond.
Objects help engage the senses and provide a concrete and memorable learning experience. They are more powerful than words and pictures alone and children are more likely to remember and connect with the experience.
Observation encourages our minds to focus, eyes to look closely, and brains to develop a deeper understanding. We often start lessons by asking, “What do you see?”
Questions require children to be active participants in the learning process and because of this, inquiry is more powerful than simply sharing information. We also ask questions as a way to create dialog and cultivate flexible thinking. Thinking out loud helps us see how others are thinking and therefore, expand our own thinking.
Posing questions to children who are non-verbal is still important. Look for non-verbal cues such as pointing, looking, and giggling, and respond to them.
Experimentation is a process by which children explore a topic. Children experiment as a way of understanding cause and effect relationships or as a way to solve problems. Anything a child does more than once can be considered an experiment. We will ask, “What would happen if …” as a way to harness a learner’s natural desire to experiment.
Exploration allows children to discover and learn about a topic in a variety of ways. While exploring, children may engage in the following activities …
Math concepts are interwoven into lessons. Examples you might observe are: counting, representing quantities, noticing differences in quantities, observing patterns, and categorizing.
Fine motor activities allow children to use the small muscles in their hands to help them learn how to do things like dress independently, and write.
Gross motor activities engage a child’s large muscles, for example running, jumping, and climbing. Movement helps children learn what their bodies are capable of, as well as provide necessary and fun outlets for physical movement.
Our art activities focus on the process, rather than the outcome. Participating in process-based art encourages creativity and problem solving and develops fine motor skills.
Sensory activities are those that stimulate a child’s senses. Young children have a more meaningful learning experience when their senses are engaged.
Play can be defined in many ways, but typically involves some element of imagination. Play helps children explore roles, ideas, and situations, and often builds social skills as they navigate play with peers or adults.
Research has proven the importance of reading with young children, and that positive experiences with books help create a love of reading.
Singing is important tool with young children, science has proven that music helps children better remember concepts and vocabulary. It also helps children transition from one activity to another.