Social-emotional learning is the process by which children learn to recognize their own emotions and the emotions of others. Coppens Academy Childcare believes that fostering the growth of children’s social-emotional development provides a solid foundation for the future, leading to a healthy and happy academic journey into adulthood. Our curriculum focuses on helping children understand and manage their emotions, establish healthy relationships, and develop a sense of self-importance and value with others.
Language development is one of children’s major accomplishments during the first 3 years of life. They progress from communicating their needs through facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and carrying to communicating through verbal or sign language. They can acquire a vocabulary of thousands of words and learn the rules for using them by being around and interacting with adults who communicate with them, encourage their efforts to communicate, and guide their exploration and learning.
Physical development refers to gradually gaining control over large and small muscles. Gross-motor (or large-muscle) skills allow a child to do things such as roll over, sit, crawl, walk, run, and throw a ball. Fine-motor (or small-muscle) skills, such as holding, pinching, and flexing fingers, eventually enable children to do things such as draw, write, eat with utensils, and cut with scissors. The development of new motor skills allows young children to make other new discoveries. As they explore, they begin to make sense of their environment.
Cognitive development in children is the development of the skills and knowledge that help them understand their environment. It’s the evolution of their thought process— how they process information; how they think and feel; how they determine right from wrong; how they make decisions and solve problems; how they learn new things, and how they perceive the world around them. Every day, even as adults, we gain more knowledge, learn new things, acquire new skills, form new or different opinions. Children are the same— as they explore their world and are exposed to a plethora of emotions, experiences, and situations, their brains constantly process new information and develop cognitive thinking.
Artistic experiences are a wonderful way for children to develop their social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and language skills. Art materials give children a safe, constructive way to express their feelings, such as when they pound dough with their fists or swirl their fingers through paint. Children feel a sense of accomplishment when they triumphantly make their first snips with scissors or tell you that their drawing is a picture of a cat. When you provide a wide variety of tools and materials for art experiences, young children build their fine-motor skills. Holding a crayon and making a mark is a sign that mobile infants are learning to control their small muscles. When toddlers paste a feather on a collage, they are demonstrating hand-eye coordination.
Science involves finding answers to interesting questions. What does this feel like? What would happen if we tried it another way? How can we make this work better? Scientists are curious and eager investigators. They wonder about what they see, try their ideas, observe what happens, and draw conclusions. A new discovery often leads them to investigate more. Opportunities to explore and investigate are everywhere. Young children are born scientists. They are curious about everything. Children experiment, trying to discover how things work, what things do, and what they can make happen. They are fascinated by animals and people and what makes plants grow. Like scientists, young children are curious about and want to investigate the physical, natural, and social worlds around them.
Mathematical thinking involves noticing similarities and differences; organizing information; and understanding quantity, numbers, patterns, space, and shapes. Learning the concepts and language of math— more, less, smaller, the same as, how many— gives children a sense of order and a way to make predictions and comparisons, and to solve problems. Children discover mathematical relationships every day when they explore space, compare amounts, and sort and match objects. Young children need many opportunities to explore and manipulate interesting objects in their environment and to be with adults who take an interest in what they are doing and talk to them about their discoveries.
Social studies is the study of people and the ways they relate to others. As a discipline, social studies incorporates concepts and ideas from the fields of history, geography, anthropology, sociology, civics, and economics. When young children explore social studies, they learn how to be researchers, critical thinkers, and active members of a classroom community. Everyday experiences provide the foundation for learning social studies. Teachers can build upon children’s interests and use them to introduce children to other places, traditions, and cultures. Many of the children at Coppens Academy are immigrants or come from immigrant-headed households. These children face particular challenges, such as being different or learning a new language. Issues of human diversity can be addressed through social studies as children learn how people live, work, get along with others, solve problems, and are shaped by their surroundings.