Learning comes naturally.
The Creative Curriculum
IPCP specifically utilizes a play-based, research-based curriculum called the Creative Curriculum. This is designed to support discovery by using general knowledge about child development with the knowledge a teacher gains from the relationship they have with each child and family. Nationally known for its forward-thinking and comprehensive model, the Creative Curriculum’s unique approach to teaching and learning helps teachers successfully plan and implement a content-rich, developmentally appropriate program that supports active learning and promotes children’s progress in all developmental areas (social/emotional, physical, language and cognitive).
Through play, children learn about concepts, how to group and classify objects, how to make sense of things and events and how to solve problems. Play often involves trial and error and problem-solving tasks requiring a child to make choices, direct activities and make plans to reach a goal.
Through play, children develop control and coordination of muscles that are needed to walk, kick, eat and write. Gross motor skills are enhanced when a toddler pushes a toy grocery cart or an older child runs through the Outdoor Classroom. Fine motor and manipulation skills are developed when preschoolers use their fingers to string beads for a necklace or toddlers scribble with a crayon on paper. When throwing and catching a ball, children are practicing hand-eye coordination and their ability to grasp. When children kick a ball across the playground, they are practicing coordination and developing large muscle control, tone and flexibility.
Talking, singing, rhyming and word play help children master the rules and sounds of language while they have fun. Play develops imagination and creativity and gives children practice in social skills such as waiting, negotiating, taking turns, cooperating, compromising, sharing and expressing emotions. As children learn about themselves and the world, they acquire self-confidence, self-reliance and self-expression.
Children play because it is fun. Play takes many forms, but the heart of play is pleasure. With pleasure comes the powerful drive to repeat such activities; with repetition comes mastery; and mastery brings a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
In essence, the Creative Curriculum uses play as opportunities for teachers to help children learn about their world, master challenges and expand their knowledge.
Our Nature-Based Curriculum
IPCP’s nature-based explorations of the outdoors are based on hands-on experiential learning as well as the North American Environmental Education Association Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence (NAAEE 2010). These opportunities connect children to the Earth’s rhythms and beauty by involving them in activities related to the different seasons.
Creating a sense of wonder, appreciation and gratitude of all living things, IPCP teachers use a variety of tools and resources to meet the developmental needs of the children, while initiating them into a lifelong, meaningful relationship with the natural world. Your Big Backyard, an award winning children’s magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation, and Click, a Parent’s Choice Gold Award winning children’s magazine of science and exploration, are literary resources for both teachers and children as they discover the world around them.
Students explore in our outdoor classrooms nearly every day, often regardless of the weather, with the support and guidance of their teachers. It is not uncommon to find a class outside in rainy, windy weather looking for worms or splashing in puddles in the classroom garden. The facilities at IPCP include generous space that has been designed to support student exploration and discovery outdoors. Each day brings age-appropriate activities guided by teachers as well as a variety of materials for children to include in their free play experiences.
- Play is the child’s medium for learning and development. Our teachers design rich, developmentally appropriate settings for this play that ensures opportunities for safe and active exploration.
- Every child is a curious, independent learner. Our teachers provide an environment in which children are encouraged to make choices and become enthusiastic, self-confident, and inquisitive learners.
- Each child creates his/her own learning experience by exploring and manipulating the environment and interacting with the world around them. Our teachers support and enrich the children’s play so the process of discovery can occur.
- Physical development occurs through repeated opportunities to use the body in various ways. Our teachers ensure that physical activity is an integral part of our program.
- Relating to peers and adults in a group setting is an important part of a young child’s preschool experience. Developing positive relationships is the basic building block in guiding children to become confident, life-long learners who respect themselves, each other, and their community.
- Each child is unique and brings his/her strengths and challenges to any situation. Our programs are designed to respect, accommodate, support, and respond to each child while creating a sense of cooperation and belonging within a community.
- Teaching a reverence and respect for one another, communities and ecosystems cannot be more powerfully taught than in a “living Outdoor Classroom.” Our outdoor spaces have been designed as a place for children to learn to care for each other and for nature.