Curiosity Corner “Success for all foundations” By: Mercedes Fulton, Katherine Gumbrell, Elizabeth Lorusso, Diana Lenh & RebeckaTeves
WHAT is curiosity corner? • Established in 1987 • Found by Bob Slavin and Nancy Madden • Curiosity Corner child care centre’s are located in the United States of American (i.e. Pennsylvania, California etc.) • Integrated approach: curriculum is thematic based facilitated by educators and child initiative through exploration (i.e. “Lab periods”). • Curiosity Corner’s curriculum supports the theorists Lev Vygotski and Jean Piaget. How do you think the theories of Vygotski and Piaget support Curiosity Corner’s curriculum approach?
What is curiosity corner cont. • Vygotski’s theories state children learn best through interacting with our environment and believes in teacher directed approaches. • Curiosity Corner approach supports Vygotski’s theories because children are encouraged to learn freely during “Lab periods.” • Children have opportunities to manipulate thematic as educators facilitate language and literacy during “Lab periods.” • Piaget theory states that “children are born with a very basic mental structure” (McLeod, 2009, para.4). • Curiosity Corner’s approach relates to Piaget’s theory because when children enter a child care centre their minds become full of knowledge equipped from exploration and initial learning process. Language and Literacy is the fundamental foundation to learning, furthering the fact that Curiosity Corner’s primary focus is based around Language and Literacy.
Curriculum central elements • Contains 38 thematic units, pertain to children’s common interest in their lives and familiar surroundings within their community. • Educators are provided with learning manuals weekly to promote the particular theme of the week. • Each learning manual consist of two themes guides, manipulative, games, books, list of materials needed for activities, rhymes, recipes and home link pages in English/Spanish for parents/guardians. • Educators promotes Language and Literacy through the fundamental domains of physical, emotional and interpersonal developments as well as math, science, social studies, art and music and movement. • Educators use “ Curiosity Cat”, the centre’s mascot at the beginning of each day, introducing academic activities for the day through a problem solving activity relating to the theme of the week.
A typical day in a preschool classroom • Temporal environment consists of a 6 hour day schedule • Throughout the day children engage in 8 daily routines in which promote language and literacy • Curiosity Corner abides by the Department of Public Welfare Regulations (DPW) • Physical environment relates to the current theme • http://www.successforall.org/Early-Childhood/Powerful-Instruction/Curiosity-Corner/
Child Assessment • There are two similar child assessments, a pre-test in the fall and another post-test in the spring. • Each child is assessed on reading, phonological awareness, oral language development, behaviour, interactions with educators and mathematical knowledge. • In addition, educators record anecdotal notes on children based on the pre-determined criteria within the pre-test and post-test. http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/pubs/20082009/pdf/20082009_1.pdf
Present day practice As student educators enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program, do you believe Curiosity Corner’s integrated curriculum approach is a positive current day practice in educating young children? • As educators we are aware that young children learn best through play based learning as well as activities based on the children’s interests. • However, Curiosity Corner’s curriculum is thematic based. Child are presented with pre-determined thematic units, facilitated by educators. • Children participate in structured routines, directed my the educators. • Children have the opportunity twice a day to manipulate thematic materials chosen by the educators during “Lab periods.” • Therefore, according to Ontario’s current research on Early Childhood Education, play based learning is being promoted as the new approach to children’s learning.