Beyond Centers and Circle Time® Curriculum Pre-K Theme Series
The Beyond Centers and Circle Time curriculum theme series is written in an effort to offer support to educators and parents who wish to maintain a balance between supporting their child's acquisition of skills and knowledge that will prepare him for later school success and the joys and delights of experiencing a playful childhood.
The research and theory that has guided The BCCT curriculum, used at the Creative Pre-School for over 35 years, provides children with emergent literacy experiences within well planned and implemented play opportunities that use cooking, dramatic play, fluid and structured construction, and fine and gross motor opportunities to meet the individual and cultural needs of each child while providing him opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in all domains.
This set of themes contains experiences that will support the development of the whole child through topics that young children find interesting. Adults using these themes must be sure that the children have knowledge of the content being discussed and provide field trips, visitors, books, pictures, and other materials that will give meaning to the topics. The theme topics are purposely broad and can be easily extended to last a full month. Children need time to develop knowledge and play skills. The individual interests of the children in the classroom should be used to guide the direction that each theme takes.
The experiences that children are provided by caring adults help them create a vast resource of general knowledge about their world. Children who enter later school having had rich experiences and who have had many books read to them will have a better foundation for comprehending subjects they read.
When young children are provided opportunities to learn in safe, loving, exciting environments they will develop the ability to persist at tasks, as well as an eagerness and curiosity about their world. When they can handle and experiment with materials and objects they will develop inventiveness and creativity and when they can play with other children and adults who encourage their ideas they will learn to plan and reflect on their activities. Research shows that children's success is based on how they approach learning situations. Children who are resilient, who keep trying and who are confident in their own abilities will be successful.
The Beyond Centers and Circle Time theme series is designed to provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences for three and four-year-old children. These experiences are based on research conducted at the Creative Pre-School located in Tallahassee, Florida as well as research and theory that has been used to guide best early childhood practice for decades. The theme choices have proven to delight and support the education of four-year-old children over 30+ years of observation of their interests and learning progress.
The following nine themes are presented in this theme series:
- Me and My Family
- Real and Make-Believe
- The Farm and The City
- Insects and Spiders
- Birds in My Neighborhood
- Animals of the Jungle
- Amphibians and Reptiles
- Oceans and Ocean Life
- Authors and Illustrators
A daily schedule that can be used by full day and part day programs will be presented. Each theme will provide four weeks of activities that include early morning set-ups, sharing circles, outside play ideas, center time experiences, and literacy circles. Teachers can follow the theme outline specifically or pick and choose adding their own ideas and following the children's interests.
- Gross Motor Development
- Pre-Scissor and Cutting Development
- Marker/Crayon and Easel Painting
- Sensorimotor and Dramatic Play
- Structured Construction Play
- Patterning Development
- Writing Development
- Math, Science, Health, and Safety Concepts in Cooking
A set of six training DVDs are provided featuring the following videos:
- Beyond ABCs and Writing My Name
- From Theories to Play
- Food, Fun, and Family-Style Meals
- Literacy Throughout the Day
- Scaffolding Dramatic Play
- Authentic Assessments
Teachers must be prepared for each day's program and provide intentional experiences that maintain the children's interests and enhance their skills and knowledge. The infrastructure for tomorrow's school success is being built one exciting, enriching, playful moment at a time—TODAY.
MathThe Beyond Centers and Circle Time Curriculum Theme Series provides early childhood educators with easy to implement daily experiences that are designed to offer children opportunities to explore materials and discover mathematical knowledge. Counting, sorting, classifying, creating patterns, measuring, and just playing with numerals are a part of each days lesson plan. This Math Supplement offers additional ideas of experiences that can be substituted or exchanged to add more density to these daily plans. Incorporating experiences that will support young childrens acquisition of mathematic knowledge is easy and can be a lot of fun.
Mathematical Thinking and the Pre-School Child
Young children are born scientists. At birth they are interested in their environments and respond quickly to positive experiences. Adults often inadvertently stifle this natural interest in the world by embedding unfounded fears of animals and objects in an effort to keep them safe. When young children leave quality early childhood programs and enter schools that redefine their scientific interests to fit a narrow curriculum focus of science, their knowledge and interest in science diminishes (US Department of Education, 2007). For young children science is not just facts in a content area, but a way of thinking and feeling about the world. The young childs eagerness to understand the world around him provides knowledgeable adults with a window of opportunity for creating a strong love of science and a curiosity and enthusiasm that will support his desire to learn for the rest of his life.The Science Connection
Pamela C. Phelps, Ph.D.
Dr. Phelps has over 40 years experience working with young children and their families. For nine years she taught kindergarten and first-grade in the public schools of Wakulla and Leon Counties in the state of Florida. For the past thirty years she has been the Owner/Director of the Creative Pre-School, providing care for approximately one hundred and thirty children, ages two months to six years, on a full day, year round basis. Creative has been chosen as a national and state model for the inclusion of young children with disabilities; continuously nationally accredited since 1989; and "A Gold Seal" program in the state of Florida. It is also the home of The Creative Pre-School Model Program Curriculum: Beyond Centers and Circle Time©.
Dr. Phelps is the Vice-President of The Creative Center for Childhood Research and Training, a non-profit corporation, providing training and program consultation for adults working with young children. CCCRT conducts and supports research, and makes presentations to professional and non-professional groups on a variety of subjects concerning young children and their families. Dr. Phelps is an international consultant on early childhood education to the Republic of Indonesia, and has conducted multiple national symposiums and workshops in that country.
Dr. Phelps is active in local, state, and national professional organizations. She works as an advocate for young children and their families on both the state and national levels. She is a past chair of the State of Florida's Coordinating Council for Early Childhood Services appointed by the Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida and a past member of The Florida Interagency Council for Infants and Toddlers. She has published articles in professional early childhood and special education journals; directed research in early childhood settings; and regularly conducts workshops for educators and parents on play and play environments, behavior management, and numerous other topics related to young children.
During the fall of 1992, Dr. Phelps was recognized as Volunteer of the Year by The Florida Association of Volunteer Agencies for Caribbean Action and as the Child Care Advocate of the Year for her work on behalf of young children by Big Bend Community Coordinated Child Care. In March of 1994, she was chosen Public Citizen of the Year by The Big Bend Unit of the National Association of Social Workers, Inc.; in May of 1998, she received The Outstanding Women Award from the Tallahassee Branch of the American Association of University Women; and in August of 2002 she was presented with the Research in Education Award by the Florida State University chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. Most recently, the Tallahassee 25 recognized Dr. Phelps as a "Superhero" for her dedication and commitment to children.
Author's website: http://www.cccrt.org/
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Beyond Centers and Circle Time Theme Series
Scaffolding & Assessing the Play of Young Children
This institute provides adults who work with young children, and professionals who direct early childhood programs, knowledge through interactive training. The training is designed to provide an understanding of typical child development as a basis for observing the development of young children and implementing developmental play strategies. All participants will learn the importance of structuring the play environment for age-appropriate milestones and be able to evaluate children’s play and play products. Emphasis will be on the application of theory and research to the play of young children.
- Participants will be able to use knowledge of both typical and atypical child development when observing young children and planning classroom experiences.
- Participants will be able to understand research and theories focusing on play and use this knowledge to plan and scaffold classroom experiences.
- Participants will understand how young children acquire knowledge and skills that will support their success in later school.
- Participants will be able to plan and organize a quality play environment that will support each child’s individual developmental level.
- Participants will be able to use knowledge of children’s development to plan and implement a quality program that will support the acquisition of school readiness skills.
- Participants will become familiar with research-supported stages of development in writing, easel painting, marker/crayon drawing, block building, bead stringing, and cutting with scissors and be able to use these stages to assess the play behaviors of young children.
- Participants will understand the importance of language, books, and other literacy experiences in children’s development of school readiness skills and be able to use this knowledge to plan literacy-rich experiences for young children.
For more information on this or other KAPLAN professional development options, please contact us at 800.334.2014, ext 3252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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