Classroom Assessment Manual
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.
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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