Learning Experiences

The goals of our center include providing a high quality early childhood program that promotes physical, emotional and cognitive development in a caring environment. The Children’s Center bases its program on the recommendations of developmentally appropriate practice. 

Philosophy

At the CU Children’s Center, we believe that each child’s growth is augmented through developmentally appropriate experiences. Thus, our philosophy aims to nurture each child’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth through:

  • Providing children the opportunity to choose from activities in the areas of literacy, math, science, art, dramatic play, block, manipulative, and sensory.
  • Providing group times that include music, movement, stories, sharing, discussion, and games.
  • Encouraging creativity through emphasis on the process rather than the product.
  • Choosing materials, activities, and games, which challenge each child to continue exploring, growing, and learning at his/her own pace.
  • Encouraging children to think, reason, question, and experiment.
  • Encouraging the development of social and self-help skills in order to create a healthy self-concept, develop independence, and promote a positive attitude toward life.

We encourage parents to communicate with their child’s teacher about classroom daily schedules and activities to ensure that individual needs and early childhood educational goals are met. 

Classrooms

The CU Children’s Centers is currently composed of 5 classrooms: two toddler classrooms (ranging from 15-months to 3 year-olds) and three preschool classrooms (ranging from 2 ½ to 5 year-olds). The maximum teacher/child ratio is 1:5 (15 mo. – 2 yr), 1:7 (2-3), 1:8 (2 ½ - 3 ½), 1:10 (3-4) and 1:12 (4-5 years). The Children’s Center strives to offer ratios below those listed here.

Transitions

Our goal is to keep children with the same caregivers for as long as possible. The main time for move-ups takes place in mid to late August, when our oldest preschoolers graduate to kindergarten. Some children will move up in January and in May as spaces become available. When teachers and the director agree that a change in classrooms would be desirable, parents will be notified. Before a child’s classroom assignment is changed, the child and family will be given an opportunity to visit and become comfortable with the new teacher. A lot goes into consideration when planning for a move. Examples include the child’s age, length of stay in the current room, demonstration of readiness for the next level, and the timing. We usually try to avoid a move when the child has experienced a big change such as a new sibling, moving homes, etc. By regulation, children must move from the toddler program to the preschool program between the ages of 2 ½ and 3. Families preparing for kindergarten will be given information from the area’s public schools.

The Goals of Our Curriculum

The most important goal of our early childhood curriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners. This means encouraging children to be active and creative explorers who are not afraid to try out their ideas and to think their own thoughts. Our goal is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive learners. We do this by allowing them to learn at their own pace and in ways that are best for them. By giving children good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves, we will make a difference throughout their lives.

The activities we plan for children, the way we organize the environment, select toys and materials, plan the daily schedule, and talk with children, are all designed to accomplish the goals of our curriculum and give your child a successful start in school. Our curriculum identifies goals in all areas of development as listed in the Colorado Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines (ELDG’s). If you are interested in accessing the Colorado ELDG’s, you can do so here; https://earlylearningco.org

Creative Curriculum embodies our philosophy and we utilize Creative Curriculum to guide our lesson planning and curriculum. Creative Curriculum is based on age appropriateness, individual appropriateness, and cultural/social appropriateness.

The seven major aspects to the curriculum are:

  • The curriculum is based on generally accepted theories of child development.
  • It is individualized to meet the needs of every child.
  • Each family’s culture is respected and family members are encouraged to participate in the program.
  • The physical environment is safe, healthy, and contains a variety of toys and materials that are both stimulating and familiar.
  • Children select activities and materials that interest them and they learn by being actively involved.
  • Adults show respect for children and interact with them in caring ways.

Staff and providers have specialized training in child development and appropriate programming.

Staff

The most important component of a preschool program is its staff. The University of Colorado Children’s Center staff is comprised of a professional team of individuals who share one common goal: the nurturing, guidance, safety, and education of young children. Most of our staff members have bachelor’s degrees, many of which are in early childhood education or a related field. When hiring teaching staff, we make every effort to hire the most qualified candidates available. At minimum each year, we provide 15 hours of ongoing training opportunities, 3 of which must be social and emotional training for our staff.

The staff is carefully chosen to provide the best care and consistency for your children. All classrooms undergo yearly evaluations by the Director and participating parents to determine the program’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of children and families. Teachers attend bi-monthly staff meetings, have planning times, and attend state and local trainings, webinars and conferences for early childhood education.

Each teacher is required to be evaluated every year by their supervisor. When necessary, we follow the guidelines of the State Personnel Department and Social Services on corrective action and discipline.