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The ELC at NKU embraces the constructivist position. This position posits that children learn when they are engaged both physically and cognitively, with objects, people, and events. The program has a developmental focus which grants each child the opportunity to grow and learn at his or her own pace. The planned environments offer purposeful activities that support and encourage growth and exploration in math, science, literacy, music, art, as well as social skills, all which provide a solid foundation for entering elementary school. The programs design reflects the belief that quality early childhood education based on constructivist assumptions involves constant interaction between and among the environment, the child, the teacher and the family.

In the constructivist view:

  • Environments foster trust and free children to take charge of their play.
  • Children are encouraged to refine skills in self-direction, self-regulation and problem solving within the context of a program carefully planned to balance freedom with direction that meets both group and individual needs.
  • Schedules are flexible to meet the unique nees of each child with a balance of active/quiet play, indoor/outdoor activity, and need for food and rest based on the developmental levels of the children.
  • Teachers begin with the knowledge the child has and finds ways to help the child figure out new thinking related to what the child understands, thus clarifying and moving forward with appropriate solutions.
  • Teachers are engaged in frequent one-on-one purposeful interactions and commentary to encourage language, scientific inquiry, and creative expression, while supporting social and emotional well-being.
  • Materials and supplies are selected carefully to enrich play and work with music/movement, literature/literacy, math conconpts, scientific inquiry, sensory and art media and props for dramatic expression.

Schedules are flexible to meet the unique needs of the individual child. Children are fed when hungry, sleep when tired and are changed as needed. Teachers encourage the toddlers to move toward independence by supportin their attempts to self-feed, use the toilet and dress themselves. The daily program invites the young child to play and actively explore the environment during waking hours. Opportunities for outdoor play are included in the daily routine.

Teachers engage in frequent one-to-one interactions with each child throughout the day to encourage language, social, and emotional development. Included are opportunities for children to observe and interact with each other.

Parents and teachers communicate daily to share important information. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the daily program, as their schedule allows.  

Play activities include music and movement, reading stories, sensory play (with water, play dough, sand), play with toys that stimulate intellectual and motor development, experiences with appropriate non-toxic art media and pretend play.