Philosophy & Curriculum

Our philosophy is called Child-Centered Active Learning. The term “Child-Centered Active Learning” refers to learning that is initiated and actively carried out by the learner, building on his or her intrinsic desire to acquire knowledge and learn about the world. There are three components to this approach: Child Centered, Active and Learning.

Child Centered: Activities are based upon children’s interest and developmental levels, and build upon their experiences in a meaningful way. A variety of materials allows for children to make choices that are enjoyable, related to their current interests, and allow for opportunities to experience feelings of control, success and competence.

Active: Children are intrinsically driven to explore and experiment in their environment. Active means that children are interacting with their environment, not passive observers. Through these interactions, children assimilate concepts in all areas of development – cognitive, physical, social and emotion, and language.

Learning: Children build upon their knowledge base through their experiences. Learning occurs when children are engaged in fun, interesting, challenging, and relevant experiences. Learning means that children add a new idea, concept, or ability to their existing knowledge or view an existing concept in a new way.

Together, the phrase “Child-Centered Active Learning” means that the environment is designed to stimulate children to actively experiment with materials, ideas, or actions that encourage growth in their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. The materials and activities provided are a reflection of interests, abilities, and goals the children have, and are varied enough to allow children to make choices and to use them in new ways.

IC3 uses the Creative Curriculum based on theories and research in the early childhood education field, specifically the work of Jean Piaget, Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Sara Smilansky, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Gardner, T. Berry Brazelton, Stanley Greenspan, John Bowlby, and Mary Ainsworth. We use a combination of child-initiated and teacher-directed approaches to introduce literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology concepts. We also focus on characteristics and attitudes that impact the way children learn such as confidence, curiosity, intentionality, problem solving, organization, self-control, relatedness, capacity to communicate, and cooperativeness.

At IC3, we believe the teacher plays a crucial role in fostering this learning. The teacher does not direct the class, but instead guides children along their own voyages of discovery while taking advantage of “teachable moments.” Teachers observe and assess the children’s development holistically in social, emotional, physical, and cognitive areas and set up the classroom environment based on the interests of the children and their developmental goals. The teacher’s responsibility is to:

  • Continuously assess the developmental needs of the children, observing, and respecting their interests, aptitudes, and emotions,
  • Provide opportunities for meaningful experiences with which to interact socially with others, express and control emotions, build self-esteem and confidence, and develop symbolic thinking,
  • Provide a breadth of materials, resources and activities to inspire, encourage, and nurture a child’s enthusiasm for a lifetime of learning, and
  • Interact with children to expand upon their play through open-ended questioning and demonstrating new skills.

At IC3, we believe that family plays a critical role in every child’s education. We strive to create a partnership with each family to work together and support their children. This includes daily communication and opportunities for parent/teacher conferences with developmental assessment information.