Primary Education Philosophy

Cognitive Based Philosophy

In a program which is cognitive based, young children learn through active exploration in an environment which is rich in materials and opportunities to converse, socialize, work, play and negotiate with others. The classrooms are planned to encourage curiosity, exploration, and problem-solving in an atmosphere of warmth, affection, and respect for each child. Teachers plan experiences based on children’s interests and appropriate educational concepts. Children may work individually or collaboratively and may choose whether or not to participate in a project. Children are actively involved in experiences which include foundations of math, science, social studies, creative art, language arts, music, movement and dramatic play. All interrelated aspects of the child’s growth and development are considered — intellectual, social, emotional, physical and creative. Activities, experiences, and teacher-child interactions are constantly being measured and evaluated regarding the goals of the following program:
  1. Development of a positive self-concept 2. Respect for the individuality and rights of others 3. Positive ways of interacting with peers and adults 4. Acceptance and expression of both positive and negative feelings 5. The growth of independence and self-sufficiency 6. The growth of creative thinking and problem solving 7. Cognitive growth and development 8. Emergent literacy development 9. Small and large muscle development

Play Based Philosophy

Playing to Learn/Learning to Play High-quality early childhood programs teach children to think creatively so they may succeed in a complex and ever-changing world. Purposeful play is developmentally appropriate and a significant element of any early childhood program. The following emphasizes the importance of play in a child’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical development. Play is a way of learning for children. During a typical preschool day, there will be structured and unstructured periods, enabling children to learn through at their rate.
  Values that support learning through play include: 
  • Children are viewed as thinkers, reflecting about their world
  • Purposeful play is when children learn through the process of their efforts
  • Children gain knowledge by building on a path of ever-increasing knowledge
  • Children are encouraged to make choices and practice individual decision-making

  Learning environments support purposeful play by: 
  • Blocks of various sizes and materials
  • Materials and time for dramatic, imaginative play
  • Manipulative and table toys
  • Art materials and tools to explore
  • Sensory play materials, including sand and water
  • A library area
  • Music and movement activities
  • Cooking experiences
  • Computer exploration
  • Outdoor and gross motor play
  • A quiet area for the child who needs to be alone
  • Ample and rich language and print
  • Writing tools and materials

  Adapted from the Evanston Early Childhood Directors’ Council, POSITION STATEMENT: THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY TO CHILDREN’S LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS…“Playing to Learn/Learning to Play”