Our cutting edge Child Learning Program at PBELC is age and developmentally appropriate. As such, children at PBELC pursue age-appropriate activities at a comfortable pace that meet their specific individual development needs. PBELC utilizes the Gee Whiz Child Learning Curriculum which is (1) nationally recognized and accredited and (2) aligns with California Department of Education Preschool Curriculum Framework/Criteria and National QRIS Quality Standards.
The PBELC Gee Whiz Curriculum is theme-based learning comprised of 24 annual themes introduced (2 themes per month) over a 12 month timeframe. We integrate knowledge of each theme with creative and academic child learning activities and experiences on a daily basis. In addition, we typically transform and transition our classroom(s) and centers to reflect weekly and seasonal themes, primarily filled with the artwork, activities and creative expressions of the children.
The PBELC Program is “Whole Child” oriented. The Whole Child Model focuses on the best holistic approaches and recognizes children have multiple intelligences. The Whole Child Initiative identifies five kinds of learning that most children will benefit from being exposed to, every day if possible. They are:
- Cognitive-intellectual activity, associated with the left brain
- Creative-intuitive activity (the arts), associated with the right brain
- Structured physical movement and unstructured, self-directed play
- Handwork, making things that can be useful
- Engagement with nature and community
Brain science tells us that the more faculties and development areas of the child’s brain we can engage holistically, the more likely material will be retained and truly internalized….thus the importance of Whole Child Learning. Research has shown that Children learn at a higher level through dramatic play, music, dancing, projects in nature and the community, cooking, art projects and other creative activities. For example, math can be taught through movement and music. Social studies can be taught through community projects and English can be taught through dramatic play, and so on. Engaging more of the child, it is often possible to reach even the most difficult ones.
The experiences and activities included in the Gee Whiz curriculum address ten (10) targeted developmental areas through a synergistic and integrated approach that establishes the core basis and framework of the PBELC Child Learning Program. These ten development areas surpass the required child development areas encompassed in the NAFCC Quality Standards and Accreditation requirements.
PBELC Facilities, Staff and operational processes/systems are established and coordinated to support and complement these ten child development areas in a child-centered fashion.
Language Development – comprised of speaking, listening and non-verbal provides a framework for child language assessment and modeling. Stories, rhymes, sign language and songs, integral parts of the program promote language development with all children every day. PBELC teachers help to build language skills by modeling language and engaging children in conversations throughout the day. PBELC provides a teaching emphasis on phonics and Spanish.
Literacy Knowledge – consists of phonological awareness, appreciation for books, alphabet knowledge, concepts about print and beginning writing. At PBELC we believe that reading to children at a very young age is an important way to promote literacy development. Child curiosity about how the spoken word can be written down in print leads to child awareness of concepts about print and alphabet knowledge. PBELC teachers include everyday learning experiences to help young children develop a love for books and to invite older children to write or express ideas. Books are used to stimulate conversation that expands upon the children’s interests and imagination, to build vocabulary or to introduce new ideas and information. Our teachers encourage the children to scribble, recognize signs, alphabet letters and their sounds, to write their names and stories and to label their drawings and art.
Math Knowledge – encompasses number concepts & operations, geometry & spatial concepts, patterns and measurement/graphing. From identifying numerals to being able to count “how many”, a strong base of math knowledge is very important to young children. PBELC teachers daily incorporate experiences and activities that involve math in impactful ways. For example, children at PBELC may build towers with blocks and then measure them with a yardstick. Then they may count to discover how many blocks were used to make the towers. Older children may then graph to compare and contrast different towers. Children at PBELC are encouraged to match, sort, arrange things in sequence, count things, measure and recognize and create patterns.
Science Knowledge – consists of exploring & thinking like a scientist, observation skills and knowledge about the world, both natural and physical. In today’s world, science knowledge is very important. The PBELC program engages children in science by challenging them to explore and discover new concepts and to approach everyday concepts in new innovative ways. For example, during a theme unit on backyard animals, the children may discover new animals and learn their names. Simultaneously, they may be invited to take existing knowledge and apply it in new creative ways. For instance, the children may already know that birds make nests but they may take that knowledge deeper by making their own nests using mud, sticks and grass. A STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) focus is built into each Science learning unit as well. Our children spend an increasing amount of class-time learning about science through simple and fun experiments. Our teachers encourage the children to explore the natural environment such as watching insects, planting seeds, caring for plants and playing with water and sand.
Logic and Reasoning – is comprised of problem solving, reasoning and using symbols to represent. Logic and reasoning are critical life skills and important areas of development for future success in school and work. At PBELC, children are provided with a variety of activities and experiences that challenge them to creatively use logic and reasoning skills on a daily basis. During various activity sessions, children at PBELC are invited and encouraged to solve problems and practice reasoning skills. For example, when given an assortment of boxes, blankets and pillows, children are challenged to use these materials to make their own obstacle courses.
Approaches to Learning – includes curiosity & desire to learn, persistence and cooperation. PBELC supports children’s curiosity and love for learning. This learning area addresses how children approach learning new things and supports child curiosity and desire to learn even when tasks are tough or difficult. PBELC teachers provide experience that are interesting and that are aligned to each child’s individual development and age level which provides the children with opportunities for more successful learning. PBELC teachers also endeavor to provide the children with learning opportunities that are fun and engaging. From working together to keep a beach ball on a sheet (like a parachute) to cooking a special skank to share, the program is packed with experiences and activities that promote child development.
Social Studies Knowledge – addresses knowledge of family & community, cultural differences (people & places) and caring for the environment. In this program curriculum children are provided with learning experiences and activities to explore their own families, communities and environments as well as cultural events and celebrations specific to their own families. PBELC customizes this learning area to match children, their families and the groups of children being taught.
Social and Emotional Development – encompasses social interactions & relationships, self-concept, emotions & self-regulation and character education. The program emphasizes getting along with others, feeling good about oneself, and knowing how to appropriately express wants and needs. PBELC provides a learning environment where children feel secure enough to engage in new learning activities and experiences. PBELC teachers are actively involved in each child’s learning asking them questions, engaging them in conversation and planning activities designed to meet their interests and needs. Teachers utilize tools to structure the learning environment for success and building each child’s self-concept. Group activities support and promote child self-regulation skills and cooperation.
Creative Arts – includes music & dance, fine arts and dramatic play. Our children love art. From painting to dressing up, the creative arts learning area is used as a springboard for learning in multiple other child development areas. PBELC provides an abundance of creative arts activities children enjoy in their own individual ways. Art projects are open-ended, focusing on the learning process instead of the end product. Numerous songs are incorporated into child development activities inviting children to sing, dance and engage in dramatic play. PBELC children build language and social skills in class and center settings through their imaginative and dramatic play. Teachers introduce art activities fostering cognitive growth by helping children understand, organize, and utilize academic concepts like letters, numbers, words, colors, seasons, and animals to encourage them to actively think about these subjects as they incorporate them into a creative activity. Our teachers encourage the children to dance and use movement to recreate meaningful experiences, tell stories or act out concepts. Our teachers also use music in a variety of ways such as singing, finger plays, clapping games, and playing instruments.
Physical Development and Health – consists of gross motor skills, fine motor skills and knowledge & practice of healthy habits. From kicking a ball to grasping a rattle, children at PBELC work on developing their motor skills and hand-eye coordination every day. The program provides young children opportunities to practice and master both fine and gross motor skills on a daily basis in natural, engaging ways that are also fun. From tossing balls into a clothesbasket to picking up cotton balls with kitchen tongs, activities included in the learning program use common, everyday items to help children develop motor skills. Healthy habits, such as washing hands and eating healthy foods are integrated into the program in impactful ways. Teachers make sure children have daily opportunities for small-motor activities such as grasping, scribbling, cutting with scissors, buttoning, tying shoes, using art materials or playing with manipulatives. The PBELC program provides numerous songs and action rhymes designed specifically to get children active. An assortment of outdoor experiences are part of the learning program and promote the importance of physical development and healthy exercise in the large Outdoor play area at PBELC.