Quality Child Care Early Learning Center uses curricula that has been shaped by the standards, set by the Arkansas Child Development and Early Learning Standards: Birth through 60 months (CDELS). These standards help to ensure that the most important parts of each child’s growth and development are addressed and measured in developmentally appropriate ways in our curriculum. The standards are organized into nine domains of development and learning:
Social and Emotional Development
There have been many important developments in our understanding of the importance of this domain. Research shows that early relationships and social interactions have a dramatic impact on a child’s academic performance and mental health, as well as on the the success of their future relationships and career. The early interactions and influences in a child’s life, such as family and early learning programs, help shape their identity by providing role models that influence how they should behave and regulate their emotions. For children with behavioral problems, their behavior could be understood as a form of communication. It is important to try to understand the needs that children are trying to express through their behavior and then react appropriately to support those needs. Social and Emotional Development also helps mold the way in which they communicate, cooperate, show empathy, and build relationships with others. As Parents and Early Educators, we must be able to build secure, nurturing relationships with children as a foundation for further learning by promoting their social and emotional health and growth.
This is the way the brain helps children plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and handle multiple tasks successfully. The development of these skills are vital to a child’s future success because learning requires that a child focus on specific tasks to take in information, connect different pieces of information, and use information to solve problems or build new knowledge.
Physical Development and Health
Physical development will usually happen on its own but there are things that Early Childhood Professionals can do to encourage physical growth and coordination. This guidance is especially important during play. We want to ensure children have confidence when they play, that they are able to engage in fun physical activities, and can develop a strong foundation for a healthy, active lifestyle.
Children are processing the sounds of language even before they are born and engage in an immense amount of language learning before they learn to speak. Children’s language learning is largely driven by the language environment in which they are exposed. This is why our curriculum is full of language and literacy activities. High quality language experiences are as critical to children’s brain development as food is to their physical development.
Research and testing shows that the most important predictor of high school graduation is a child’s ability to read by the third grade. At birth we must begin building a solid literacy foundation so that emergent literacy skills can be acquired at the earliest possible age. This is critical for future learning and literacy development. It is the foundation for reading and writing skills, which supports all other academic endeavors. As Early Childhood Educators, we must use this time to build the foundation for literacy in developmentally appropriate ways.
The years before a child enters kindergarten are called the “years of promise” for mathematics because they are so crucial for developing math skills. Activities that seem like simple play, such as building block towers, creating and recognizing patterns, and comparing items, are actually tremendously helpful at teaching children mathematical thinking and problem solving. As Early Childhood Educators, we must encourage and guide this kind of play, so the foundation will be set for learning more complex math when the child enters school.
Science and Technology
All young children are natural scientists and engineers. Children observe the world around them and experiment with their surroundings. Children begin science and technology skills with the process of identifying problems, analyzing information they see or are told, and then using their own ideas to form conclusions. It is critical that we provide developmentally appropriate activities for children to help foster scientific thinking, because this is a skill on which all other domains of development are built.
During early childhood, children begin to widen their circles to include not only their family, but also their friends, neighborhoods, and Early Learning setting. They begin to recognize their cultural heritage and see themselves as part of a wider community. Social studies is a broad discipline that incorporates concepts from history, civics, math, geography, and many other subjects that will be studied later in school. It is the job of the Early Childhood Educator to broaden a child’s understanding of the world by introducing them to things through pictures, books, and technology that are not immediately present in their everyday environment. Seeing a broader view of the world and their place in it helps make them more empathetic, think more critically and become better problem solvers.
Creativity and Aesthetics
Being able to express themselves through music, art, and drama are serious topics of study. They are just as important as math and science. Through these topics, children are given the ability to develop and learn in ways that other classroom experiences may not offer. Just like in other domains, it is important that teachers provide activities that encourage exploration of different forms of artistic expression and provide opportunities to engage in paint, singing, and dramatic play activitie s.
It is important to point out that these standards are not a curriculum in and of themselves. Instead, we use a curriculum that was designed to align with these standards. As an officially licensed Early Learning Center, Quality Child Care is mandated to use a curriculum approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. This curriculum must provide a path to meet these standards as well as an assessment system to measure what standards a child has met and how reaching the next milestone can be most efficiently accomplished.
Better Beginnings Endorsed Curricula
At Quality Child Care Early Learning Center, we uses curricula endorsed by Better Beginnings, a program developed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services that provides families and child care professionals with the tools and knowledge to build better paths towards learning in Early Childhood Education. Better Beginnings also provides a voluntary quality rating system for child care centers, which allows participants to measure their efficacy and progress in several important areas of Early Childhood Education. Through evaluations and assessments of Arkansas child care centers and their teachers, Better Beginnings rates the quality of each child care facility by a three-star rating system.
Levels of Certification
All six QCC centers are proud to participate in this distinguished program and we are so excited that four of our six centers have a Level two rating and the other two are at Level one. Our dedicated team of directors and staff members are continuously working hard to reach the next level and our goal is for all six of our centers to have a Level three rating.
A Note on Transitioning
As children grow, they will move to a different group within the center. Transition is dependent upon age and a child’s overall development and social capacity. We will work with you to make the transition a positive experience.