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Rita Gold Early Childhood Center
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Rita Gold Early Childhood Center

Rita Gold Early Childhood Center

About Our Program > Philosophy


PhilosophyTHE CENTER PHILOSOPHY is guided by several principles which inform our work with children, families, graduate students, and staff.

WE CONSIDER FAMILIES AS THE PRIMARY CAREGIVERS AND EDUCATORS OF THEIR CHILDREN and we ask them to participate in their children's care and education at the Center. Parents and teachers exchange information on a daily basis through verbal and written communication. Some parents are members of our advisory board, while others serve on the newsletter or fund-raising committees. All parents are invited to join the staff for ongoing parent-teacher seminars, individual conferences, small group discussions, and social events.

WE PRIORITIZE HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR WORK. Research tells us that young children's learning takes place within the context of human relationships. We work to create and support positive relationships through ongoing staff collaboration, reciprocal communication between staff, graduate students, and families, and fostering a spirit of community among the children.

WE BELIEVE THAT YOUNG CHILDREN ARE COMPETENT AND INNATELY MOTIVATED TO LEARN. Our teachers create curriculum based on careful observations of children. A safe and interesting environment is designed each day which allows children to engage in activities according to their interests and developmental abilities. Children are encouraged to participate in their own care and to take responsibility for the group to the extent that they are able.

WE EMBRACE AN INTEGRATED AND EMERGENT CURRICULUM that strengthens children's developmental potential. Interactions and activities in our classrooms focus on the whole child, and are designed to be flexible enough to take advantage of "teachable moments". We provide care and education for children in mixed-age groups that foster caring and community. Activities and materials are carefully selected for their potential interest to a wide range of children to accommodate developmental and learning differences.

WE RESPECT YOUNG CHILDREN'S SENSE OF TIME (in the moment), and work to mediate their understanding of adult (parent and caregiver) expectations and schedules. We allow children to make choices and try to accommodate to the children's pace when possible during transitions. When adult schedules must be imposed, teachers try to take the child's perspective as they negotiate understanding and compliance.

About Our Program