BPCNS follows the Developmental Interaction/whole child approach, with an emphasis on rich, hands-on experiences and time to reflect and represent those experiences through language and physical means. Play is at the heart of the curriculum, and children are given many forums for play – dolls and pretend materials, blocks, building manipulatives, sensory materials such as sand, water and play dough, art materials, science investigations.
Highly trained, experienced teachers skillfully assess children’s understandings and facilitate their play to deepen and expand learning. Materials are rotated to build on children’s prior knowledge. While letters and numbers are present in the classroom, we resist skills-based curriculum. Instead, we provide children with rich emergent literacy experiences (stories read and told, rhyming and chants, story dictation and story acting) and numeracy experiences (counting games, blocks, three-dimensional graphs of experiences) in the context of meaningful curricular themes. Curriculum has depth (themes may last several months or even the whole year) and touches children’s lives and interests. Teachers pay careful attention to this process, which builds an experience that makes sense to the child, and gives the child a sense of mastery.
Outdoor play is offered daily, except in inclement weather, when our gym is used. Cooking, art, story-acting, music & movement, yoga & mindfulness experiences are part of the curriculum. Children are supported in the development of language, social friendships, asking questions, problem-solving, empathy, autonomy, creativity, and working in groups.
Building a democratic classroom community, one in which children learn to listen to each other, solve problems, and develop a sense of fairness is an important part of the school. As children learn about each other – their similarities and differences – they also learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We make sure children get the time and help they need to listen, think, and practice talking through conflict.