image2991Calvary Weekday School supports the philosophy that children learn best through active involvement with a rich and stimulating environment. The school’s program is based on the Maryland State Department of Education approved Houghton Mifflin curriculum which is rooted in educational philosophy and theory as well as practice. It relies heavily on Erik Erikson’s stages of socio-educational development, Jean Piaget’s theories of how children think and learn, and on principles of physical development. Houghton Mifflin includes activity and learning centers that are developmentally and age appropriate. Research has proven that young children grow and develop in classrooms that are arranged in interest areas, also known as centers. Centers promote independence, foster decision making, and encourage involvement. The main focus in this learning environment is the student. Following is a brief description of the learning centers in each of the classrooms within the school.

Writing Center: When children have opportunities to write in the context of everyday activities, they learn many important literacy skills such as concepts of print, functions of print, and phonological awareness. Young children’s writing skills develop through the following stages; Forerunner: scribbling, Step 1: scribble writing and letter-like forms, Step 2: writes recognizable letters, Step 3: uses letters that represent sounds in words

Library/Listening Center: Encourages development in the following areas: Concept formation, object labeling, peer and adult interaction, sentence structure, language, vocabulary growth, positive attitude toward reading and books.

Discovery: Encourages development in the following areas: Creative thinking, problem solving, exploration, experimentation, observation, comparison, classification, language, sequencing, and record keeping.

Art: Following areas: observation, recall, fine motor skills, classification, inference prediction, creativity, eye-hand coordination, emotional expression, pride, sharing, cooperation, and language.

Sand and Water: Following areas: Decision making, problem solving, autonomy, self-concepts, large and small muscle coordination and social relationships.

Dramatic Play: Following areas:  socialization, representation, language, sharing, cooperative decision making, coping strategies, imagination, problem solving, and small and large motor coordination.

Math: Following areas:  classification, comparison, serration, measurement, graphing, counting, number concept, operations spatial relationships, time, sets, language and problem solving.

Blocks: Following areas:  creative thinking, problem solving, weight, value, gravity, position, shape depth, balance, space, size, area, three-dimensionality, symmetry, stability, matching, cause and effect relationships, serration, bridging, fractions, measurement, social relationships, and language.

The Power of Play – The Weekday School strongly supports the belief that play is powerful as a source of enjoyment and as a tool for learning.  Not only does play help children develop skills and concepts necessary to master literacy and math, it also builds the foundations of more general competencies that are necessary for the children to learn successfully and beyond.

Children who know the excitement of seeking out new information and finding things out for themselves also love to learn.