The so called “Early Years” of education, from birth to 6 years old, form the foundation for learning. As they are introduced to their first experience of school, how children learn is as important as what they learn.
Children need to feel safe, secure, and happy, by being in a nurturing environment, to develop a positive attitude and thrive as lifelong learners. Moreover, trust and security is vital to each child's success, and can only be developed through an open partnership between home and school.
Early Years curriculums must therefore feature stimulating learning environments and implement intentional teaching strategies, to ensure each child is ready to succeed as they progress through their schooling.
Like any child building a house with blocks, you need a solid foundation
This right foundational framework is essential, and one of the best is the USA Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. Starting at birth, it outlines the skills, behaviors and developmentally appropriate milestones to foster the growth of all young learners, and is based on thorough behavioural and phsycological research.
- The guiding principles of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework include:
- Each child is unique and can succeed
- Learning occurs within the context of relationships
- Families are children’s first and most important caregivers, teachers, and advocates
- Children learn best when they are emotionally and physically safe and secure
- Areas of development are integrated, and children learn many concepts and skills at the same time
- Teaching must be intentional and focused on how children learn and grow
- Every child has diverse strengths rooted in their family’s culture, background, language, and beliefs
As for curriculums, for Pre-Nursery and Nursery, the Creative Curriculum® is a comprehensive, research-based and proven program, with exploration and discovery emphasised as the principle way of learning. It takes a whole-child approach to education, where children develop not only literacy and math skills, but also social–emotional, physical, and cognitive skills.
Whilst for Pre-K and KG1, the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) integrating STEAMInn - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Innovation, is an excellent curriculum for young children, with its unique globalised “State of the Heart” learning.
Monitoring children’s progress and development with an authentic, ongoing observational program is also essential. Teachers purposefully record observations in order to understand each child, and make decisions about how to best support his or her development and learning with the GOLD ™Assessment system.
But the blocks themselves play just as important a role
For the physical environment, applying the Reggio Emilia philosophy of empowering students to be knowledge bearers and researchers in their own learning experiences, celebrates opportunities for both indoor and outdoor environments to be integrated as the ‘third teacher’. At a minimum, that means classrooms with abundant natural light and are stocked with beautifully designed sensory resources.
Attached to each classroom should be a discovery space tailored to the different grade levels, where children extend their learning in “play”. For example, they venture through their own infant-sized door to dig in the sand, splash in the water and enjoy different activities such as science learning with nature. Meanwhile, teachers can change the resources and stimulation in the discovery spaces to extend their classroom learning.
It takes a village to raise a child
At Stamford American International School, they believe in there being opportunities for every child, no matter where their passion lies. They are intent on inspiring students to create their own unique future, in a caring, supportive and inclusive academic environment.
An early childhood education at the Stamford American Early Learning Village is specially designed for the preschool years, from Pre-Nursery to Kindergarten 2, and welcomes children aged 2 months to 6 years.
Guided by the USA Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and The Creative Curriculum®, Stamford American’s Early Years Curriculum is driven by teacher-initiated experiences planned by highly skilled staff with expertise in child development.
Stamford’s Early Learning Village provides a rich and varied curriculum, led by Specialist teachers, including: Daily Foreign language in either Mandarin or Spanish; Physical Education using ‘Perceptual Motor Program’, Art specialist time, General Music, Weekly Suzuki Music for every child.
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, the built environment of the Early Learning Village is designed for safe, experiential learning. Natural wood structures and open spaces give children the freedom to explore and discover, and to express themselves.
Make the right choice with your child’s education. To find out more, including details of the Stamford Boarding House program, speak with Admissions to arrange a tour: