Curriculum and Development

 

All Starz’s curriculum is developed from our Developmental Assessments. Different themes are introduced every two weeks, ranging from bugs to the human body, and transportation to celebrations around the world. Covering each topic for two weeks permits the children and educators to fully immerse themselves in the subjects, allowing for deeper discussions and greater understanding. And each new curriculum theme offers new and exciting ways for the children to learn, reinforce, and solidify key developmental skills.

 

Each Lead Teacher prepares a biweekly curriculum lesson plan that outlines daily activities to promote the children’s abilities in the following areas:

 

 

Cognitive Development

 

Cognitive learning is our ability to think, problem solve, make decisions, and make sense of the world around us. Activities that are interactive and build upon concepts already learned are fundamental to cognitive development. Infants begin with the cause-and-effect game of peek-a-boo, where they begin to realize that their teacher is in fact still behind the blanket, just waiting to pop back out and say hello. Sophomores develop the ability to recognize a pattern, sequence a story, and match words with pictures as their teachers read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” over and over. By assuming roles and responsibilities within the classroom, Seniors gradually increase the number of directions they can follow in a series without reminders from their teacher.

 

 

Speech and Language

 

Speech and language development begins at birth. Infants are constantly listening to their surroundings, picking out the tones and inflections that correspond with their native language and filtering out everything else. Speech is the physical act of expressing one’s self through articulation, voice, and fluency. Language is the set of socially shared rules that help us determine how to create words, how to order words correctly in a sentence, and how to adapt words for different situations. At All Starz, our educators know the importance of speech and language in the lives of our children. They are constantly interacting with the children, modeling good speech and language habits so the children can learn to communicate with others effectively.

 

 

Fine Motor Skills

 

These skills develop as a child progresses from grasping a rattle in infancy to feeding herself as a toddler to learning to write as a preschooler. This fine-tuning of the small muscles of the fingers, toes, and wrists is a gradual process. Often overshadowed by gross motor skills, the dexterity achieved once these fine motor skills are mastered is important for the progression of other developmental skills.

 

 

Gross Motor Skills

 

The first time a baby holds his head up or rolls over, gross motor skills are in operation. As large muscles in the arms, legs, and torso develop and strengthen, children are able to crawl, walk and eventually run everywhere. This new-found freedom and flexibility is an easy motivator for practicing gross motor skills, whether crawling through tunnels in the gym or climbing the steps to go down the playground slide.

 

 

Social and Emotional Skills

 

These important skills start in infancy and can directly affect children’s confidence as they grow older. Babies need to know that a loving and patient caregiver will respond to their cries in a prompt manner. Freshmen need to be shown what taking turns looks like so they can later participate in the sharing and turn-taking process during play and circle time. Juniors are starting to recognize the feelings of their peers and learning how to respond appropriately when a friend is sad or gets a “boo boo.” Knowing one’s self, appropriately expressing one’s feelings and desires, and interacting effectively with others are vital to every child’s development, and social and emotional skills are the basis of that growth.

 

 

Independence Skills

 

We support the development of the whole child, and self-reliance is an important skill for every growing child to learn. Young Freshmen learn to pick up their own pieces of food and hold their own sippy cups, Freshmen learn to wash their hands independently, Sophomores learn to clean up their toys before moving on to a new activity, Juniors learn to put on their jackets by flipping them over their heads, and Seniors learn to zip up those jackets by themselves. As we nurture each child’s self-help skills, we celebrate the little accomplishments. And eventually, the children turn to their teachers, self-assured and confident as they say, “Oh, no thank you. I can do that myself.”

 

 

Specialty Programs

 

Beginning with the Freshman Program, students start to attend the following classes each week with Specialty Teachers who create an implement their own curriculum lesson plans:

  • Music

  • Spanish

  • Sports and Movement

  • Soccer

 

 

Members of our Leadership Team review every lesson plan for the upcoming weeks before posting them on the class bulletin boards for parents’ convenience. And while each program has curriculum lesson plans, we understand that each child is unique. We take pride in individualizing each child’s learning based on their specific skills and level of development.

We love the curriculum, and it seems to work so well. Our daughter loves the daily structure that is in place, and tells us that she has "lots of work to do" each day! She has never enjoyed daycare as much as she does now, and seems so happy, comfortable and content, looking forward to each day as we drop her off.

 

- Parent of children in the Young Freshmen and Senior Programs