According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children Curriculum Guidelines, an exceptional early childhood learning environment:
Read, Play, and Learn!® meets these requirements and more, creating a supportive environment that nurtures children and their learning process.
Realistic and Attainable Goals
Read, Play, and Learn!® respects and supports the developmental levels of all students. The curriculum is flexible enough to provide for modifications to all class activities to meet special needs. The Teachers Guide and each module booklet are filled with suggestions for modifying each activity to meet the needs of children at diverse levels of development and help them move to the next level. During all activities and projects, children are provided with tasks and challenges that are developmentally appropriate. Each child is given the opportunity to access the curriculum at his or her level and is able to benefit from all class activities. Teachers can follow the modifications to meet the needs of students with a range of abilities using the same activities.
A Wide Variety of Experiences
In each story module, children partake in a variety of educational activities that stretch across many disciplines. Reading, dramatic play, science and math, art, and sensory, motor, and outdoor play are all incorporated into the school day. Children have the opportunity to learn through self-expression and exploration, experiment with materials of a variety of textures, manipulate objects, climb and swing, and participate in numerous literacy games.
Through song, experimentation, self-expression and knowledge-sharing, children are constantly learning new skills. In addition to suggested activities and materials for each classroom center, module booklets offer suggestions for fingerplays, songs, games, computer software, and supplementary storybooks. Every activity is a chance for children to gain new skills by creating, experimenting, listening, talking, and moving.
Accommodations for Differences
In addition to accommodating children with differing developmental levels as mentioned above, Read, Play, and Learn! respects and celebrates diversity of culture and thought.
Module storybooks have been carefully selected for their attention to diverse cultures. For example, Abiyoyo is an African folktale. A Rainbow of Friends discusses diversity of all types and encourages children to think and talk about how people may be similar, but have different strengths.
In all class activities, children are encouraged to express their opinions. After they read each story, teachers and children discuss characters feelings and make predictions about what they think will happen next. Dramatic play allows the children to express their feelings about the storys events. Science experiments, art projects, sensory and motor activities, and outdoor games invite children to express themselves, represent their thoughts and knowledge through what they create, and share their knowledge with others as well as listen to their peers.
Opportunities for Exploration and Interaction
Exploration and interaction are the core of Read, Play, and Learn!®. The curriculum recognizes young childrens need to explore their world and interact with their peers. They are invited to partake in the classroom centers of their choosing during daily Choice Time. During Book Time, children can explore books at their own level of development with their peers and teachers in the Literacy Center. Even structured class activities, such as designing a mural, building a castle, or conducting a science experiment, allow children to experiment with materials, props, and equipment. In a Read, Play, and Learn!® classroom, children are constantly learning new concepts and discovering new facts about their world.
In addition to inviting exploration, the activities and activity centers in a Read, Play, and Learn!® classroom invite and encourage social interaction. Children work together to run science experiments, design story settings, dramatize the story, prepare the snack, play indoor and outdoor motor games, and experiment with sensory materials. Children are involved in the retelling of stories and are also encouraged to read storybooks to each other during Book Time. The Teachers Guide helps teachers make the activity centers as interactive as possible (by placing chairs close together or putting materials on a lazy Susan at the center of a table, for example).
Support for Childrens Psychological Needs
Read, Play, and Learn!® classrooms are active and nurturing places. Children are constantly engaged in games, songs, experiments, reading, dramatic play, and projects. In the Sensory Area, children can explore and manipulate various textures and noisemaking devices. Children can play on the floor with blocks and puzzles, work on art projects at tables, climb and swing outdoors, and enhance their motor skills through a variety of indoor activities. The module activity books offer multiple suggestions for adapting activities to meet diverse physical and developmental needs. In addition to activities and projects, snack (which the children can help prepare), rest time, and bathroom breaks are integral parts of the school day.
Many story themes serve to comfort the children. For example, The Kissing Hand helps children adjust to leaving home for the first time. Family involvement components help children incorporate materials and favorite items from home into their day.