The Acorn School Philosophy on Care and Learning
The Acorn Mission
The mission of the Acorn School for Early Childhood Development is to provide high quality, accessible, early childhood education programming to children and the community
The process of writing our Care and Learning Philosophies is to define in simple terms how we will support children and families, and to set expectations within our community. Many of the items discussed are inherent to the basics of childcare and early education. The goal is to build a document that will show our ideals, where we are performing now, and a road map for where we can improve.
- Respect for each individual child
- Strive for Continuity of Care
- Provide an atmosphere of care and routine that children can predict and trust
- Nurturing the whole child – emotionally, physically, cognitively
- Staff will be well versed in supporting the needs of children within the age range of their classroom – age appropriate expectations
- Provide responsive caregiving to all children
- Building invested relationships between all children, families, and staff
- We understand that parents are a child’s first and best teacher. Our role is to assist parents in this critical work.
- Providing an environment where children are actively guided through Social and Emotional skill development
- Children are competent and capable and have the right to construct their own knowledge based on their interests, strengths, curiosities, and developing skills
- Teachers respect children’s processes of learning and provide positive direction, guidance and support when needed – supported by Creative Curriculum
- Provide intentionally planned small group work and dynamic learning environments
- That our whole community embraces collaborative learning (children, staff, families)
- Use reflective practices to review and improve programs on an ongoing basis
- The roles of teachers are clearly defined to provide clarity of expectations between staff and families for the sake of accountability
- Routines and rituals are embedded into the daily life of classrooms so children are able to anticipate what their time at school will look like
- Teachers are actively engaged in current research to enhance the quality of care we provide – Teachers are expected to develop their expertise and skill set for working with ages of children for which they are most passionate
- Teachers/Staff use observation, documentation, and reflective practice in inform their curriculum planning and developmentally appropriate learning experiences – supported by TS Gold
- Shared Care and Learning Philosophy within the Acorn Community to provide for consistent language, classroom environments, and support for all children
Continuity of Care
The generally accepted definition of Continuity of Care is providing an atmosphere of care and routine that children can predict and trust. This is done by having a shared Care and Learning Philosophy within a school to provide consistent language, classroom environments, and ways for supporting for all children. Programs do this by having small classrooms, low staff to children ratios, keeping children together as a group, and some staff that stays with children as they move through stages of development. The aim is to provide children nurturing relationships with teachers that provide a foundation of trust that facilitates learning. Most advocates for Continuity of Care focus on this model of care for children from zero to three years of age.
We will strive to provide a balance of high quality care with high quality learning by having qualified teachers at each age level of development. We want to make sure to provide excellent teachers for children at all levels of development to prepare them for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning. Since we are a small school, we hope to build strong relationships amongst the whole Acorn School Community so that students, families and staff provide the widest base for support and make transitions as smooth as possible.
One of our top goals is to retain staff to allow for Continuity of Care as children move through the younger classrooms (infant – toddler) and older classrooms (preschool – prekindergarten). We do acknowledge that the field of Early Education is challenged with fairly high turnover rates, so we expect that staffing transitions will always be present. Teachers may elect to stay at one age level and work towards excellence in serving the needs of a particular age of child because that is their passion, while others may elect to stay with a group of children for a number of years.
Article on Continuity of Care – Continuity of Care General Overview