Next Horizons is founded on the philosophy that childcare programs are an extension of home and family. In accordance with this philosophy, the center provides a family style environment that is warm and nurturing, as well as educational and stimulating. We believe that childhood needs to be a time of fun, joy, and exploration. Our goal is to partner with families to provide a safe, healthy and enriched environment for each child.
We follow a developmentally appropriate curriculum. Developmentally appropriate curriculum is based on the premise that play is the primary medium through which young children develop intellectual, social, and perceptual motor competence. Structuring the environment and planning activities for self-directed play is a fundamental part of the education program. Curriculum activities include pretend play, open-ended creative and sensory experiences (painting, sand and water play, modeling clay, collage activities, etc.) construction activities with blocks and manipulative toys, mathematics and language games, gardening, cooking activities, and science experiences.
The program also includes daily teacher-led “group times” during which time the children gather for creative movement activities, musical experiences, stories and games.
Next Horizons also aligns its curriculum to match Arizona Early Learning Standards and Infant Toddler Developmental Guildelines.
The developmental range for infants 0-12 months of age is so wide that curriculum planning must be individualized to meet each child’s needs. Primary caregivers set goals in the different areas of development (social-emotional, language, cognitive, physical and motor) based on the child’s age, development and individual differences. Once goals are set, teachers plan activities to help children achieve those goals.
For example, an infant who is able to get on his/her knees and rock back and forth is displaying early signs of crawling. The primary caregiver would provide ample safe space with many toys just out of the child’s reach to help the child achieve their goal. Young infants are provided with ample tummy time opportunities.
All infants are on their own individual schedules and care is provided on demand.
Our infant classroom is a maximum group size of 9 with a 1 to 3 ratio. For most of the day we have one caregiver for every three infants.
As children transition to the toddler room, they are expected to follow a more “group” routine. Most of the day is comprised of free play and child directed activities. Teachers will implement small group activities and encourage participation but never force a child to a center activity. Teachers comprise a general lesson plan with activities in each area of development:
- Art Expression
- Cognitive Functions
- Books – book handling, early literacy development
- Dramatic/Pretend Play
- Language – Songs/fingerplays
- Cooking/Special Activity
- Fine motor
- Gross motor
- Music and Movement
Caregivers modify activities to meet each child’s individual and developmental needs. Many teachers will use a theme to aid in lessson planning. Vocabulary is repeated naturally as it appears in different activities of the same theme. Language development is a major goal for children in this age group. Since themes are universal human topics, all children can be involved and teachers can connect curriculum to the child's life. This makes the activity/experience more meaningful to the child.
The children in this group range in ages 2-3. The routine and schedule of the classroom provides ample free play time. Most of the day should still remain child directed. The caregiver's role in this room is to help facilitate the child's play and social interactions. Problem solving and conflict resolution skills are a major component to the daily curriculum in this age group.
Circle time or "group time" is introduced in this age group. This a large group activity where children are encouraged to join the entire class in a teacher led activity. Children are encouraged to join and stay as long as they are able to. Teacher led activities during group time typically include but are not limited to songs, fingerplays, games and story telling.
The Arizona Early Learning Standards are used as a framework for planning of quality experiences for all children in the preschool room. Planned small and large group activities cover the following areas of development: Social-Emotional, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Development (Fine and Gross Motor) and Fine Arts.
The daily routine continues to provide ample free play time.
The Arizona Early Learning Standards are used as a framework for planning of quality experiences for all children in the Pre-K classroom as well. There is a greater emphasis on academic learning in Pre-K. Goals for children are social and emotional competency, mastering basic self help skills, emotional regulation and conflict resolution. Letters are used as themes in the Pre-K classroom. Goals for children are letter recognition, sound recognition and letter formation by the end of the academic year.
We work together with families and discuss individual goals for Kindergarten transition.
We will begin discussing Kindergarten in early September in the pre-k classroom. We will have visits from Kindergarten teachers in late fall and early spring. We will skype with teachers in Kindergarten classroom and begin building the bridge between pre-k and kindergarten. Two to three months before Kindergarten, we will ask each family the name of their child’s new school so that we can begin talking to the children about their new school. At the end of the school year a Pre-K graduation party will be held so that families and friends can celebrate the child’s accomplishments.