Chutes ‘N Ladders LLC implements The Creative Curriculum in all of our classrooms, which has been widely used in Head Start programs throughout the United States. Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum is followed in both of our pre-k classrooms to teach social and emotional skills. This curriculum is also used in many of The Charlotte County Public Schools Head Start programs and elementary schools, such as Myakka River Elementary and Meadow Park Elementary, thus allowing for fluidity in learning environments between pre-k and kindergarten.
The Creative Curriculum
This is a scientifically based early childhood curriculum shown to improve cognitive and social/emotional outcomes in young children. The Creative Curriculum is based on the latest research on how children learn best and has been shown through experimental and quasi-experimental studies to improve classroom quality and promote the school readiness of preschool children from infant to age five. The works of developmental psychologists Piaget, Maslow, Erikson, Smilansky, Vygotsky, and Gardner are incorporated in this curriculum approach.
The Creative Curriculum allows teachers to implement developmentally appropriate practices in the classroom. The teacher will observe the children in each interest area (ie. Blocks, Dramatic Play, Music, Discovery, Literacy, Creative Arts, and Manipulatives) and comprise a plan for the individual child or the whole group, which will integrate content learning and bring it back to everyday experiences. The various interest areas allow children to learn via child-directed activities utilizing all five senses. This curriculum approach will ensure children develop all of the skills necessary to be prepared for kindergarten.
*Our pre-kindergarten classroom adds the Animal Alphabet to the curriculum for developing emergent literacy skills, with an emphasis on phonemic awareness. See our VPK page for more information.
Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum
Social and emotional skills are an important part of your child’s early childhood education. If a child is not able to take turns, listen and sit in a group … how can he/she learn what is being taught in the classroom? Once these basic social interaction and group behavior skills are in place, your child is more ready and able to concentrate on academics. Additionally, teachers are able to be more effective when the children have the social and emotional skills they need to curb disruptive behaviors. Your child learns best with a balanced approach supporting her growth in social, emotional and cognitive (academic) skills. Recent research in brain development has shown that a child’s ability to interact with others, control and express her feelings, and take care of basic self-help tasks independently are as (or even more) important for success in school as academic skills.
The research-based Second Step violence prevention program provides engaging lessons and activities that teach essential social skills, such as problem solving, emotion management, impulse control, and empathy. This social and emotional learning program uses hands-on, activity-based lessons to captivate young learners. Child-friendly photo-lesson cards contain complete lesson scripts with ideas for group discussions, skill practice, and other activities. Young children enjoy Impulsive Puppy and Slow-Down Snail puppets, as well as the lively Sing-Along Songs CD, which reinforces ideas from the curriculum. This is a research based and demonstrative effective curriculum which addresses Head Start and other Pre-K standards.
We utilize The Kindness Curriculum in classrooms with children age 2 and above, which supplements the character development portion of the Chutes ‘n’ Ladders program. The Kindness Curriculum: Introducing Young Children to Loving Valuesby Judith Ann Rice assists teachers in “creating opportunities for kids to practice such things as kindness, empathy, respect and conflict resolution.” The activities in this book help build character by teaching children the loving values and skills that they need in order to develop into happy, productive, and caring individuals.
Each child’s developmental level is assessed using the E-Lap and Lap-3 systems. This assessment tool allows the teachers to determine what skills each child has achieved, and what skills they need to work on. Progress is recorded on a daily basis as each developmental skill is accomplished. Formal recording of assessments are conducted three times a year, with results provided to the parents via a parent-teacher conference. Referrals are made as needed to Early Steps or Child Find with parental consent.