We’re so excited to combine the Holiday season with this month’s theme. When dropping your little one off, take notice of their work hanging from our walls. From sorting food into groups, and defining what it means to be sick and how we can help each other stay healthy, to creating ornaments, we are staying cozy, enjoying the holiday season, and learning at Harmon Oaks.
Our toddler and preschool programs combine emergent and theme based curriculum that is age appropriate. So while there is plenty of time for self-directed discovery, we plan when and how to introduce new concepts, ask “why” and “how,” encourage our children to use their words, and model good manners.
While I’m certainly biased, I must say that I love the combination of theme and emergent curriculum. Themes insure the collaboration of staff creativity, and the reinforcement of a new concepts in each learning station– art, music, reading, etc., surrounding a theme. Meanwhile, emergent curriculum allows us to adjust daily discovery, activity times, etc., and keeps staff alert of learning opportunities that may emerge throughout the day. For example, while we were out discovering the outdoors this week, our class spotted a Praying-Mantis. While it would have been time to go back inside, we stayed out instead! Ms. Lourdes explained why praying mantis’ are green, we tried to feed it, learned how to be VERY gentle with it, observed it using our magnifiers, and finally let it free, back into the ’wild’. This discovery was a result of ‘play’. While play is self-directed, it serves an equal significance in the development of our little ones– socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
I should add that I was able to capture the most AMAZING photos with the praying mantis! Discovery is truly beautiful!
Smile– it’s contagious & it’s a healthy habit!
♥ Mariya Danayan, Administrator
P.S. Speaking of Healthy Habits...if you're anything like me and wake up to a list of things to do on a Saturday and Sunday morning which inevitably prevents you from strolling through the Farmers Market options in Encino, Lake Balboa, and North Hollywood areas, there's a good weekday option that might make for a great adventure. Try the Sherman Oaks Farmers Market on Riverside! It's open from 3pm to about 8pm every Tuesday, and makes for a great toddler or preschooler adventures. If it sounds like too much 'work'- take a stroller, but encourage holding hands and walking. Give your child a 'pep' talk on the way there about how to behave and what he or she should and should not do. Ask your child to help you fill up a bag or place a few items in your carrier. Asking them for help and giving them a meaningful responsibility- one they can feel proud of- keeps them out of trouble. Finally, have your little one pick out a fruit or vegetable to eat that night as a snack. When it's their "choice," it's typically easier to get them to eat it! Have fun and stay warm, and do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you take me up on the suggestion.