Understanding that children learn at all different paces, Step by Step aims to provide children with a variety of learning opportunities and experiences that utilize their current strengths and skills, while helping them to explore and advance in new stages of development. To accommodate a diversity of learning styles, concepts and lessons are presented via a variety of channels, including discussions, hands-on activities, art projects, music and songs, games, and stories.
Children learn both through direct instruction from their teachers as well as through child-initiated experience, individually and as a group. In this way, our school aims to foster the learning – and the love for learning – in each of our children. These goals may only be achieved by the total inclusion of the family unit. As partners in the complete education of our children we hope to include and even utilize the skills and resources of our parents and guardians. With the continued overlapping of the roles of parent and teacher communication is of the utmost importance at Step by Step.
The curriculum at Step by Step is designed around three basic categories of education: intellectual, moral, and physical.
- Intellectual education embodies the types of learning that are most often evaluated in our society’s current K-12 and higher education settings. This learning includes not only the traditional concepts of math, science, and language, but all types of cognitive skills, from problem-solving to brainstorming; from reflecting on ideas to generating plans. We aim to help children acquire these skills at all stages of development, making adjustments for each child’s age and abilities. Intellectual learning is stimulated through our school’s themed curriculum, in which a different theme or topic serving as the focus of learning each week is incorporated into the curriculum via stories, songs, games, art projects, activities, show-and-tell, and other circle-time discussions. Examples of themes include occupations, world cultures, holidays, safety and nutrition, ecosystems, family, music, and various other fun topics drawing from the children’s lives as well as concepts in science, social studies, geography, and history.
- Moral education includes the types of learning that influence our interactions with others as well as our own personal growth. Using a non-denominational approach, our school aims to teach children about various qualities or virtues, such as love, kindness, generosity, truthfulness, patience, and others, one of which is highlighted each month through stories, songs, games, and discussions. We also aim to provide continuous opportunities for socio-emotional development. Through positive peer play and one-on-one interactions with loving and trained teachers, our children learn how to label and express their emotions, utilize coping skills when sad or angry, practice sharing and turn-taking with peers, and otherwise develop their emotional and social skills. Our ultimate goal is to set children up for success as moral human beings living and working together in a social world.
- Physical education refers to the development of our body’s health and abilities, including fine and gross motor skills. Our school aims to incorporate fine motor development through the use of various table-time and play-time activities, exposing children to a variety of sensory materials, writing and drawing utensils, and other age-appropriate manipulatives, puzzles, and toys. Gross motor skills are addressed during indoor and outdoor play time by providing large open spaces and play equipment which enables children to safely enjoy running, jumping, skipping, hopping, and dancing!
Lesson Plans and Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards
Each week, teachers from each classroom develop written lesson plans that integrate the school’s weekly themes, guided by the Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood. “The Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education Standards are research-based standards that identify key learning areas of development for children and are reflected in the Core Body of Knowledge competencies. The standards guide practitioners to intentionally integrate developmental knowledge with the attitudes, skills, and concepts children need to make progress in all learning area” (PA Keys website). Learning areas include creative thinking, health and wellness, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social and emotional development, and social studies.
To view the Learning Standards for infants/toddlers and for pre-k, please visit www.pakeys.org/pages/get.aspx?page=career_standards. Lesson plans at Step by Step are posted each week near the door of each classroom. Please consult your teacher and/or classroom website for further information regarding each week’s lessons.