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Hands on Learning Curriculum

  • Provides consistency and a predictable routine, which is comforting to children. Children are relaxed and ready to learn when they can anticipate what is happening next. As children move through developmental milestones, they will need to practice skills at which they are successful. The skill levels will vary greatly with any group of children, even those that are all the same chronological age. Only you know how long to stick with an activity for the benefit of the children in your care. Activities may change or be repeated. You may spend fewer or more minutes on a specific activity; the suggested daily/weekly routines are a guide.

  • Includes open-ended activities and materials that build a learning community in your program. When materials can be used in a variety of ways, more children benefit. Activities that allow for multi-ages and multi-skill levels will include more children. Older children or those with more advanced skills will be models for younger children or those who have not yet attained the skill. Activities in this curriculum encourage children to work together, share, and be successful at their individual skill level.                           


  • Promotes multi-sensory experiences. Many opportunities are included in our activities that allow children to learn through touch, smell, taste, vision, and hearing. We know that children learn best when information is provided through all the senses. Inquire with families about scent, plant, or animal sensitivities and/or allergies the children may have before beginning any new activities.

  • Invites exploration and discovery. The activities in our curricula include open-ended questions to promote language development, thinking, and problem-solving. When you model curiosity and wonder and encourage divergent thinking, you will be helping children reach new levels of development and deeper understanding of concepts.

Early Learning Domains

Approaches to Learning

Approaches to Learning is a unique and critical domain of children’s development. Although each of the other domains of development reflects specific content knowledge that document what children know and do, Approaches to Learning is not about specific content knowledge. Instead, it addresses how children deal with new environments, interactions, and discoveries. Approaches to Learning describes children’s attitudes and dispositions toward learning.

Physical Development

During their first five years, young children undergo more rapid and dramatic changes in their physical development than at any other time in their lives. Changes in body proportion, coordination, and strength occur, as does increasingly complex brain development. Children develop remarkable physical, motor, and sensory capacities that enhance exploration and mastery of the environment.

Social and Emotional Development

As children grow, their ability to establish relationships with peers and with additional adults influences how they view themselves and the world. Positive and adaptive social behaviors result from interacting with others who have different characteristics and backgrounds. With the help of supportive adults, young children expand their capacities to recognize and express their own feelings, and to understand and respond to the emotions of others.


Mathematical Thinking

Mathematics is everywhere and it helps children make sense of their world. Children learn by observing and interacting with their environment and are naturally curious about number and mathematical concepts. Children’s development of mathematical understanding begins in the very first months of life and continues to grow and expand as they interact with others and with the world around them. For young children, math is about number knowledge, patterns, size, shape awareness, and the relationship between objects and space.

Scientific Inquiry  

Scientific inquiry addresses children exploring the world around them. Children are natural investigators and their levels of understanding deepen over time with varied experiences. Exploration and discovery are ways that young children learn about their worlds by first using their senses and reflexes. The initial spontaneous responses of infants become more purposeful as they gain mobility. The expanding physical and motor capacities of toddlers enable them to engage in ever-widening explorations which can promote new brain connections.

Language and Literacy


Language, communication, and early literacy and writing are critical to children’s ability to learn, work, and play with others. Language and literacy development involves the way children learn to communicate with sounds, words and gestures, and eventually, the way they learn to read and write. Children develop language and literacy through interactions with adults and other children, engagement with materials and instructional experiences.


Social Studies

In the earliest years, social studies concepts simply involve children exploring their world and trying to make sense of the social and physical environments. Social interactions form the basis of social studies, therefore in the early childhood arena, each child’s basic social understanding begins with self and family then expands to early education. A sensitive, respectful approach sets the tone for a child’s social learning.

Creative Arts   


Creative Expression Through the Arts, provides children with opportunities to express ideas and feelings, use words, manipulate tools and media, and solve problems Through the arts, children learn to express what they know, pursue their own interests and abilities and appreciate the contributions of others. They begin to understand that others can be creative in different ways and show appreciation for these differences by asking questions and commenting.

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