I’m stating the obvious, but being a mom (or a dad) isn’t easy. All moms are “working” moms, but many have to work outside the home, often juggling home, school, children and significant others. I’m an aunt of three awesome kids and not a mom in the “true” sense of the word, but I see my sister and close friends struggling to keep the balance. I hear the guilt in their voices when they talk about other moms who bake, make pillow forts, and lead crafting sessions every day. And while moms who work outside the home may need to place their children in the full-time care of others, they still want the best possible. They want caring adults and teachers who will nurture their child’s development socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively and an environment where their children will thrive.
Sea Turtle Early Learning Center at Seaside Community Charter School (SCCS) provides a warm and nurturing environment for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years. Located in Atlantic Beach on more than 22-wooded acres, it’s a full-day program designed to imitate the rhythm of a child’s day at home. The classrooms are set up with soft lighting, fabric and rugs. Natural materials (i.e., wooden blocks and toys) are
infused throughout the curriculum. Designed to be an all-weather program, the class gardens, wooded walking paths, a large playground and an outdoor classroom are all spaces perfect for outdoor learning and play.
The credentialed and Waldorf-trained teachers and principal are well-versed in the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (www.naeyc.org) recommended practices for teaching young children. They understand that a holistic approach, with a focus on a child’s head, heart, and hands, is best. They understand that a child’s work is play and that all children need time to play indoors and out, time to be with others, time to be alone, time to rest, and time to engage in meaningful activities. They understand the difference between “rote academic goals” and “intellectual goals” as defined in a recent article by Lillian Katz, one of the most influential early childhood researchers in the field.
A typical daily rhythm at Sea Turtle includes circle time, indoor and outdoor play, artistic activities, stories, songs, movement activities, recess, hands-on learning, rest times, and nutritious snacks and meals in a family-style setting. The VPK program includes state-approved curricula taught through best instructional practices. Each week, children bake bread, cook, paint, work in Palmetto Organics’ onsite teaching garden, dance, practice yoga, and learn music and handwork (i.e., finger knitting, sewing). Twice a week, the children have instruction in American Sign Language (ASL), a language that fosters literacy as well as fine motor skills. The children also have the opportunity to participate in SCCS’s seasonal festivals and special events. An added bonus is that children enrolled in the VPK program get preference for admission to the charter school.
When I visit a school, I look for teachers and a leader who see each child’s potential and the gifts they bring and who demonstrate the belief that learning should be a joyful, ongoing endeavor for everyone involved. If you are a parent looking for something similar, Sea Turtle Early Learning Center may be the answer.
To learn more,you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website http://www.seasidecharter.org/sea-turtle-early-learning-center-at-sccs.html.
To learn more about the Waldorf-approach, visit the Alliance for Public Waldorf website
About the blogger:
Katrina W. Hall, Ph.D. is an associate professor of early childhood and literacy at the University of North Florida and previously taught kindergarten and in the primary grades for a decade, earning her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist during that time. She can be reached at email@example.com through her website www.katrinawhall.com
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