We are a play-centered school. We believe that the best and most effective way for young children to learn is through their play. Play, according to L.S. Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, among many other educational researchers, is children’s work. It is serious business. Children concentrate when they play and become deep thinkers. Unfortunately, to many people, "play" suggests that not only is the day unstructured but that children “are wasting valuable time playing and are not "learning" and developing.
Many people assume that a play-centered school lacks the structure and substance of a so-called "academic" school. What may not be clear to the casual observer, however, is the underlying structure that supports the play, which, in turn, encourages the learning that occurs through self-initiated play, and guides the emergent curriculum that is the basis of all we do.
In fact, MCNS is very structured. But the structure doesn’t lie in daily lesson plans or work sheets. It does not lie in a full day of teacher-directed activities. The structure at MCNS is two-fold. The first is in the physical plant, the carefully designed classroom spaces and contents of the areas within them. The second is in the daily schedule, the flow of large and small motor activities, large group, small group and individual activities, eating and rest periods, music, story and discussion times. Combine those two underlying structures and you have the ideal learning environment for young children to flourish.
We lay a foundation for life skills
We believe that children are on a life-long learning path. The life skills of observation, personal control, and goal setting are a key focus of our curriculum. Our program is child centered, not teacher centered.. The explorations and development of each child are observed, nutured and encouraged by all staff and professionals in our school. We promote independence. All aspects of the program are structured to encourage independence and develop competance. "I can do it all by myself" is a phrase we all love to hear. When children learn to take responsibility for their everyday needs, they feel a great sense of pride. Whether it is putting away toys, setting up cots at rest time, setting the table for snack, or pouring juice into their own cups, children work on both large and small motor skills, become good problems-solvers by strategizing and carrying out plans, and increase social skills as they learn how to work together in a cooperative manner. Children feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when they can do real work, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of things by themselves with no assistance from adults. In our current educational climate, which focuses on workbooks, computers, and testing, we sometimes forget how many academic skills can be learned through doing this practical kind of work.
How we redefined our Class Names
Words matter. Names matter. To young children who are absorbing an enormous number of new vocabulary words each day, words are really important. Calling someone a name can hurt him, in point of fact. And employing a "bad word" can get immediate attention from adults.
Many parents struggle with the task of naming their children. What does the name mean and how will that affect the child? Companies test market product names because they know that what something is called affects sales figures. Lawsuits challenge names that are offensive to some and protect names from being used by others.Read more