A creative alternative in early childhood education . . .

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Programs

Our curriculum is based on developmentally appropriate guidelines for young children to stimulate and encourage cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth according to each child’s needs.  Each teacher is provided with these guidelines and a monthly theme. Lesson plans are formulated to best suit the developmental needs of the children in that classroom.  Our program allows for the children themselves to create and explore new experiences through child initiated activities.  Teachers are flexible and encourage the children with open ended questions and activities to allow for this whole child experience.  This approach to early childhood education helps to prevent frustration and boredom, as well as to promote positive learning experiences and self esteem.

 

Along with the theme units, children are introduced to the letters of the alphabet, colors, and literary experiences.  Other areas of learning include:  art, music and movement, science and math, dramatic play, sensory motor, social studies, and physical education.  Often, lessons are expanded to include field trips which allow hands on experiences.


This blended curriculum has incorporated aspects from Montessori, High Scope, and is based on the principles layed out in The Creative Curriculum and Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning.  Each class builds on the next with opportunities to expand learning. 

 
                                                                                    Sample Daily Schedule

  7:00 - 8:30

 Arrival/Free play

   8:30 - 8:45

Toileting/wash hands 

 8:45 - 9:00

     Morning snack

 9:00 - 9:15

    Circle time

 9:15 - 10:00

 Free Choice in Learning Centers

 10:00 - 10:15

 Language Arts

 10:15 - 10:45

 Small group activities

 10:45 - 11:00

 Clean up

             11:00 - 11:45            

 Outside

 11:45 - 12:00

 Toileting/wash hands

 12:00 - 12:30

 Lunch

 12:30 - 1:00

 Brush teeth/Story time

 1:00 - 3:00

 Nap

 3:00 - 3:30

 Toileting/prepare for snack

 3:30 - 4:00

 Afternoon snack

 4:00 - 6:00

 Afternoon Circle/Free play/departure

           

Infants

Our cozy rooms for Infants are designed to allow for their individual schedules.  Our littlest ones, birth through 16 months, needs are met as needed or according to parents’ instructions.

 

The loving staff are sure to offer our babies a variety of experiences throughout the day which support their developmental level.  Activities are provided to encourage fine and gross motor development as well as tactile experiences.

 

Our highly qualified staff have been trained to implement the 1-2-3 Read literacy program to foster early language development through the use of books, puppets, etc.  Babies can play on the brightly colored mats or enjoy the soothing motion of the baby swing.  Soft, relaxing music is played to promote the calm environment.


                                                                                    Toddlers

Children 16 – 24 months old are busy and active.  Our teachers are sure to keep them occupied with many opportunities to learn, laugh, and play.  Your toddler will especially love the time spent on the playground where he can run and climb.

 

Much language development takes place at this stage in your child’s life.  Our qualified staff have been trained in fostering this development through the use of words, sign language, and repetition.  Spanish is also introduced in this classroom, giving children many means of communicating.  Early language is also supported by the use of books, songs, puppets, and finger plays.  In this way the teachers create a print rich, language rich environment.

 

Fine motor skills continue to emerge through the use of pegboards, puzzles, and a wide range of manipulatives, setting the stage for pre-writing.

 
Pre-School

Bears and Blankets offers a full day preschool program for 3 and 4 year olds.  Peek in to see you child happily creating a masterpiece with paint or sculpting a work of art out of clay!  Creativity is supported by having art materials readily available for free expression.  Often, classroom projects are displayed which emerse your child into the monthly theme.

 

Literacy continues through the use of books.  We are also visited once a month by the “Library Lady” from the Staunton or Augusta Co. Public Library, and in the summer, participate in their Summer Reading Program.  All shelves and toys sport colorful labels containing not only the picture of the item, but also the word with it to further print awareness and letter recognition.

 

The little actor in your child will be encouraged through the use of costumes, dress up, and the ever changing housekeeping area.  Allowing children to pretend and make believe develops social skills and the use of language. The children can expand their imaginations through the use of “props”, available to support the monthly theme.

 

One way that early math skills are introduced is by learning shapes.  A different shape is concentrated on each month.  There are many opportunities to use puzzles, numbers, and counting as well.

Pre-K
 

Welcome to the world of the Pre-Kindergartener.  This classroom builds on and expands all of the skills your child has been working on.  It is here that we introduce the Blueprint for Literacy program that is also used in the public schools.  Our qualified staff have been well trained in implementing this curriculum.  Bears and Blankets is one of the few programs in the area selected to collaborate with the Staunton City and Augusta Co. schools in its use.

 

The Blueprint program encourages the emergent reader by presenting “message time plus” which teaches sentence structure and letter recognition.  Books are explored not only by reading content rich literature, but also by learning the parts of the book, the author, the illustrator, and moving left to right on the page.

 

The inquisitive child will be offered many opportunities to explore his environment through science activities.  A garden is planted in the Spring and vegetables are harvested for their table throughout the growing season.

 

Why not cook something up with the children?  Math skills of measuring and mixing are displayed through our cooking tasks.  Why buy playdough when these skills are used to make your own!  The Pre-K Classroom also concentrates on math through the use of patterning and sequencing.

 

Pre-writing continues to develop at this age.  The Pre-K Classroom has a writing center filled with utensils for this purpose.  Your child can practice her alphabet and start to form sentences.  Paper, pencils and all things “ABC” are here to assist in letter recognition and name writing.

 

When your child graduates from Bears and Blankets Pre-K program, you can rest assured that he or she will be equipped with all the tools necessary to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond!

                                                                                    Summary
 
 

Bears and Blankets has been involved with Smart Beginnings of the Shenandoah Valley (formerly Success by Six) for many years.  The purpose of this organization is to bring all things together in children’s lives to insure school readiness.

 

Our classrooms are governed by the Infant/Toddler Environmental Rating Scale (ITERS) and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS), which are research based guidelines for providing the absolute best quality.  Our center has been observed and rated by the Quality Rating Improvement Scale (QRIS), used by the State of Virginia to determine the quality of content of a program.

 

You want to make sure that your child does not miss out on the experiences and early childhood education offered at Bears and Blankets!