Young Children’s Community Academics
The curriculum in the Young Children’s Community falls into three general categories: practical life, language acquisition, and development of coordinated movement. Practical life activities assist the child in his or her quest for independence, and include self-care skills such as dressing, feeding, and toileting. New language is learned through the use of stories, books, songs, picture cards, and conversations with other children and adults. Children develop a wide range of motor control and eye-hand coordination through the use of attractive, well crafted, child proportionally sized materials.
For many children, the Casita is their first school or outside care experience, and because of this we seek to make our environment as similar to the home as possible. The activities the children engage in are things they have seen used in their homes. Food preparation activities pave the way for more practical life work: sweeping, mopping, and washing tables and dishes. All of this happens spontaneously with few cues from the guide as they become aware of the need to clean up and take care of the environment.
Alongside the children’s activities in daily life are opportunities for learning the language spoken around them. During class activities the guide is careful to speak slowly and softly so that her speech is clear for the child. Children can choose from a wide array of language enhancing activities, starting with real things and progressing to realistic objects, and then to picture cards for naming. The children also enjoy singing together, reading books, and reciting little poems.