Curriculum at Bank Street Head Start incorporates both the college’s philosophy of education and New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards. Bank Street's developmental-interaction approach to education emphasizes the importance of a large variety of open-ended materials in the classroom and defines the role of the teacher in the classroom as a facilitator of learning.
Bank Street Head Start's curriculum:
- Is developmentally meaningful
- Provides a balance between child and adult initiated activities
- Requires on going staff training and parent involvement
- Necessitates the staff to set goals, plan strategies for achieving them and follow up to evaluate and revise them as necessary.
Bank Street Head Start's curriculum
A brief overview
Children's Approaches to Learning
Children at Bank Street Head Start are encouraged to explore a variety of activities, materials and places. Allowing children to choose from a variety of materials helps them to stimulate their flexibility, imagination and inventiveness — all of which engage children in their own learning process of planning and carrying it out, reasoning and problem-solving, and interacting with others.
Social- Emotional Development
Our curriculum focuses on making connections between home and school, and it includes the experience of separation from home and family. Children learn to build trusting relationships with others and how to be a part of a group. They also begin to understand how they are different from, and similar to, others. Learning about their community is also an important aspect of social-emotional development, therefore children take trips to other classrooms and offices within Bank Street Head Start and local stores and parks.
Literacy & Language Development
Literacy and language development builds on the social and cognitive skills of speaking and listening that young children have already acquired. Children are encouraged to express themselves, their ideas, feelings and experiences, as well as to engage in dialogue and discussions.
Our literacy & language development curriculum revolves around the following goals:
- Communication and expression about self, others, and the physical world
- Appreciation of the points of view of others
- Sense of story
- Phonemic awareness
- Making a connection between the spoken and written word
- Love of books, the language of books, and of authors
- Interests in symbolic representation (i.e., drawing, letters, sounds, print), use of symbols to represent experiences, ideas and feelings
A variety of age-appropriate techniques and activities are used to accomplish these goals, including, but not limited to: recording stories children dictate, creative dramatics, making group and individual books, reading and discussion of the daily chart, writing signs and writing simple stories using invented spelling.
Mathematics is a part of the core curriculum. Concrete and active experiences in math provide a solid foundation from which children can build an understanding of abstract mathematical ideas. Preschoolers work with different kinds of mathematical materials, including unit blocks, pegs, pegboards, pattern blocks, unifix cubes, dice and woodworking materials.
Teachers plan daily activities that support children developing important basic mathematical concepts:
- One-to-one correspondence and counting
- Numerical relations, ordering, and sequencing
- Sorting and classifying
- Geometric understandings about space, volume and shape
- Measurement of size, weight, time and temperature
- Pictorial representations of data
The science curriculum is designed so that children can make sense of the world around them. Topics or themes are chosen by observing children; in this way, children can see the relevance of science to their own lives. As with the other curriculum domains, there is not a "science" hour; it is integrated into everything children do during their school day. Teachers encourage children to develop an attitude of respect for nature and their surrounding environment. Children record, order, categorize, generalize, discuss and make predictions based on their observations of the natural environment and natural materials. They also explore transformation, cause-and-effect relationships and the relationship between functions.
Physical Health & Development
All children need opportunities to move and use their bodies. Young children do so constantly as they experiment with what their bodies can do and where their bodies will fit. Just as children like to manipulate toys, they enjoy putting their bodies in, on, under, over, through, behind and around. Children also have the opportunity to explore sounds and rhythms with drums, tambourines, xylophones, maracas and other non-pitched musical instruments.
Art activities are geared to individual children's needs and skills. Few restrictions are placed on the children's explorations with art materials; they are free to experiment in order to increase their understanding of the medium. Repeated exposure to basic materials of paint, clay and collage lead to the ability to use different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.