KCDC Instructional Approach

The premise of Keystone Child Development Center’s instructional approach is to encourage exploration and mastery of concepts through a combination of teacher-directed and child-initiated learning.

Individualized skills and group-appropriate skills are identified through an examination of skills and needs, as well as what is of practical use based on a child’s age and development.  Students are offered repeated opportunities to practice skills that incorporate functional communication and meaningful academics. Student effort is heavily reinforced (rewarded), and support (prompts) provided to ensure practice with success. Instruction is hands-on, multi-modal and socially- interactive whenever possible. Children are offered opportunities to explore on their own as well as take part in individual and small-group lessons. Our hope is for our students to become enthusiastic learners who recognize all of life’s events as opportunities for learning. Our goal is for students to be intellectually, socially and physically prepared for wherever their futures may take them.

KS4At KCDC, we believe that curriculum programs with a strong research base should guide decision-making regarding student programming and outcomes.  Our staff is committed to staying abreast of the latest innovations regarding early childhood educational practices while remaining dedicated to tried and true strategies that have stood the test of time. Each learning area is supported by at least one such curriculum.

Curricula Overview

2016 – 2017 School Year

 Teachers at Keystone Child Development Center draw from a variety of curricula when creatively designing instruction that engages learners and effectively meets each child’s needs. Rather than applying a “one size fits all” approach to educating children, KCDC teachers are equipped with a rich selection of evidence-based curricular resources. These resources are intended to inform the instructional decisions that teachers make in response to on-going assessment of children’s interests, learning styles and current mastery levels for developmental and academic objectives. The following curricula help fuel the responsive and enriching learning that occurs in KCDC classrooms.

 

Curricula

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool and The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos

The Creative Curriculum® developed by Teaching Strategies is a research-based and research-proven set of resources that support teachers in providing children with developmentally appropriate and active learning opportunities to facilitate growth through a whole child approach. This 25-year old curriculum is used nationwide, is fully aligned with the Florida State Early Learning Standards and is regularly updated to incorporate the latest research and best practices in the field of early childhood education. Teaching tools include a collaborative assessment program, GOLDplus®, which helps guide individualized instruction based on developmental progressions from birth through third grade. This curriculum is used in our Infants & Ones classroom, Preschool classroom and Pre-K/VPK classrooms.

Ages & Stages Questionnaires-3 (ASQ3)

This widely-used developmental screener is designed for children ages one month to five-and-a-half years and is used in our Infant & Ones, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten/VPK classrooms. Early assessment and pinpointing developmental progress are important components of nurturing and supporting children so that they can meet their full potential. KCDC teachers use this screener, in close collaboration with the child’s parents and other caregivers, to measure each child’s growth towards developmental benchmarks and milestones in order to identify activities to help each child grow and learn.

Brigance Inventory of Early Development-III Standardized (Brigance IED)

This assessment is appropriate for use with children from birth through seven years of age and is used for all children in our Preschool, Pre-K/VPK classrooms and Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms. “The Brigance IED III Standardized contains 55 norm-referenced assessments, which allow educators to compare a child’s performance to that of a nationally representative sample of children the same age. This streamlined assessment tool produces standardized scores, which can be used for benchmarking, standardized reporting and providing documentation to support referrals” (Curriculum Associates, http://www.curriculumassociates.com/products).

Florida Voluntary Pre-K Assessment & Florida Standards for Four Year Olds

The Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program is guided by the Florida Standards for Four Year Olds. These standards describe the skills students should master by the end of their VPK year in order to lay the foundation for academic success in Kindergarten. “Kindergarten readiness” refers to the mastery of these foundational skills. In Florida’s VPK program, academic learning is broken down into four categories: print knowledge, phonological awareness, oral language/vocabulary and mathematics. The VPK Assessment is administered to students in our Pre-Kindergarten/VPK classrooms at the beginning, middle and end of the school year in order to establish a baseline and measure individual student progress across the four academic domains over the course of the school year. Our Pre-Kindergarten/VPK teachers use the information obtained from each administration of this assessment to tailor instruction to each child’s needs, building upon individuals’ strengths to bolster skills in the areas in which they need more support.

Handwriting Without Tears

Used by more than three million students each year, Handwriting Without Tears® uses fun, engaging, research-based and developmentally appropriate instructional methods to enable children to master handwriting so that they can write comfortably and with ease. The curriculum uses multi-sensory tools and strategies and active learning to approach handwriting with joy and to address all styles of learning. Recent findings demonstrate that the earlier children are supported in mastering handwriting, “the more likely they are to succeed in school, and write with speed and ease in all subjects” (Handwriting Without Tears, https://www.hwtears.com/hwt). This curriculum is used in our Preschool , Pre-K/VPK, and Kindergarten classrooms.

Tools of the Mind

Based on Lev Vygotsky’s theories of child development and learning, Tools of the Mind integrates rigor and developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education in a way that provides children with opportunities to learn through social interaction and with tools to actively think through and solve problems in real world situations. A key component of this curriculum is the principle of “scaffolding,” while focusing on the “zone” between what a child already knows and can already do and what they do not yet know or cannot already do. When children are appropriately challenged with modeling and just enough support (“scaffolding”), they learn independence, critical thinking and “tools of the mind.” This curriculum is used as a supplementary curriculum in all KCDC classrooms.

Early Literacy and Learning Model/Plus

ELLM is “a research-based, comprehensive curriculum for three-, four- and five-year old preschool children that has proven to be effective in improving children’s early reading achievement in an experimental study. The literacy-focused curriculum builds children’s cognitive development through literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, motor experiences and physical health. ELLM/Plus is designed to expand children’s vocabularies and refine their understanding and comprehension of words they know and use “through engaging activities and interactions” with supportive adults who “encourage children’s curiosity, persistence and creativity” (ELLM, https://www.unf.edu/fie/ellm/). This curriculum is used as a supplementary curriculum in our Preschool, Pre-K/VPK and Kindergarten classrooms.

Number Sense Screener (NSS) & Interventions

This research-based tool designed for Grades K-1 is used in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms to assess early numerical competencies that are foundational for continued success in math. Teachers use the information obtained from this screener to identify areas in which students need more support in order to meet state and national kindergarten standards, guide effective interventions and monitor student progress to ensure instruction is effectively improving learner outcomes.

Investigations

Investigations is a complete K-5 mathematics curriculum, developed at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is designed to help all children understand fundamental ideas of number and operations, geometry, data, measurement and early algebra… the curriculum represents the culmination of over 20 years of research and development aimed at improving the teaching and learning of elementary mathematics” (Investigations, https://investigations.terc.edu/). This curriculum is used in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms.

enVisionMath2.0

This K-6 mathematics curriculum targets conceptual understanding for all learners through problem-based and interactive learning. The curriculum guides instruction based on Common Core Clusters, organized to support learners in making the connections between mathematical content that promotes maximal learning. It is used in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms.

Houghton Mifflin Reading

This K-6 program for improving reading skills incorporates leveled readers and learning aids to develop strategic reading skills and motivate early readers, while meeting Common Core standards. This curriculum is used in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms.

ABC Foundations for Young Children & Phonemic Awareness in Young Children

These curriculum supplements provide an engaging and playful approach to effective instruction of letter recognition, letter sounds, letter writing and discriminating distinct sounds, all important prerequisites for reading. Fast-paced, hands-on activities are designed for active student engagement in preschool though kindergarten based on the latest research on early learning. These activities are integrated into instruction to complement other literacy and reading curricula used in our preschool, pre-kindergarten/VPK and kindergarten-1 and -2 classrooms.

Reading A-Z

Reading A-Z is a large selection of reading resources that teachers use to individualize instruction and ensure children have reading material that interests them while appropriately challenging each child at her reading level. Teachers use Reading A-Z tools and reading materials to support early readers’ positive attitudes about reading and to ensure steady progress in reading skills. This curriculum is used in our Pre-K/VPK classrooms and in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms.

The Intensive Phonological Awareness (IPA) Program

Used primarily in our Kindergarten-2 classroom, the IPA Program guides teachers in the delivery of evidence-based, intensive and systematic small-group instruction. This program is intended as a supplement to other reading and literacy curricula for use with students in Kindergarten through Grade 2 who may have language delays or who simply need more focused support to develop their literacy skills.

Interventions for Reading Success

Used in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms, this curriculum supplement for students in Grades K – 3 targets the skills needed for early literacy: phonological awareness, the alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. This resource provides 130 research-based 20-30 minute activities that teachers can choose from for use with the whole class, in small groups or individually in order to respond to each learner’s academic needs, to meet grade level standards and to set children up with the prerequisites to make reading enjoyable.

The LittleCounters® Approach to Building Early Math Skills

Using The LittleCounters® Approach, our Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten/VPK classrooms integrate counting and activities that develop learners’ conceptual understanding of counting and quantity into everyday activities and purposeful play. Common objects are transformed into opportunities for learning and teachers plan for and capture teachable moments throughout the day to build each child’s counting skills in preparation for success in kindergarten.

 

Guiding Principles

At KCDC, our educators make intentional decisions to support the learning and growth of each child. Decisions are informed by ongoing measurement of children’s development and progress toward developmental milestones and mastery of grade-level standards. Our decisions are also based in the guiding principles of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Center on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

National Association for the Education of Young Children

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional association for the early childhood field that connects early childhood practice, policy and research in order to promote high-quality learning for all children, birth through age 8, and to achieve the vision “that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential” (NAEYC, http://www.naeyc.org). This year, KCDC is undergoing the process of NAEYC accreditation, which is the gold standard for early childhood programs nationally.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

“The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone – not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs” (National Center on Universal Design for Learning, www.udlcenter.org). The principles of UDL are based on neuroscience research and on how children learn.

 

Address: 6867 Southpoint Drive North, Jacksonville, FL 32216
Phone: 904.619.6071 | Fax: 904.212.0309 | Email: info@keystonebehavioral.com
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