The future is bright with KinderCare Education’s new School-Age curriculum

Our new School-Age curriculum is full of fun academic activities to excite children about learning. The new curriculum focuses on six content areas that are critical for children’s future success and not typically addressed during the school day: character development, community, creative expression, executive function, inquiry-based learning, and literacy.

 

As our teachers bring our curriculum to life this fall, school-agers will learn skills that set the stage for future learning and success.KinderCare teacher Julieta Villarey surprised with $10,000 as a Knowledge Universe Early Childhood Educator Award winner Monday, October 6, 2014 in Ponte Vedre Beach, Fl. (Rick Wilson/Getty Images for Knowledge Universe)

“Out-of-school-time programs for school-agers can incorporate content and fun topics that children might not have the chance to experience during their regular school day,” says Meg Davis, Manager of Curriculum and Content Development. With activities focused on Strategy Games, Gross and Gooey Physiology, Pop Art, Bridge-Building Basics, and The Art of Improv, what school-ager wouldn’t want to join in the fun? “Our new curriculum provides all of these things as well as time for homework and physical activities, and it’s flexible, too.”

The new school-age curriculum gives children a variety of choices throughout their day, like creating their own projects and setting up their own classroom clubs.

Thematic activities highlight six content areas that work together to provide a well-rounded and fun experience for every child.

Character Development and Community
“Creating a learning environment where all children feel welcome and want to be active participants is an important component of the program,” says Davis. At the beginning of the school year, teachers work with children to create an inclusive environment that focuses on developing respectful and supportive relationships. Kids can take part in the Junior Counselor program, which gives older children opportunities to take on bigger roles serving as mentors to younger children and helping teachers in the classroom.

Creative Expression
Encouraging children’s interest in the arts is invaluable, whether it’s through movement and dance, drama, music, or the visual arts. Giving children the opportunity to participate in the arts jumpstarts their imaginations, creative thinking, and open-ended experimentation.

Executive Function Skills
These are the skills we use to help us manage our thoughts, emotions, and behavior while pursuing different goals throughout the day. Not only are executive function skills foundational to children’s learning, but as adults we also rely on these skills to help us stay focused, remember our to-do lists, and remain flexible and open to change. Davis says, “We help school-agers develop these skills through games with rules, discussions that promote taking turns and listening, and activities that encourage children to recall what worked well, what didn’t, and how to improve upon it the next time.”

Inquiry-based learning
Inquiry-based learning invites children to pursue what they are curious about and to discover firsthand how the world around them works. Fun STEAM activities help children learn to make predictions, explore cause-and-effect relationships, and test theories and ideas. Project work helps facilitate these skills. Davis says, “Projects are diverse and touch on all learning domains and content areas, from social and emotional development, to creative expression, to math and physics. It should be a lot of fun for teachers and families to see some of the projects this age group comes up with.”

Literacy
Literacy activities reinforce foundational skills in reading and writing in playful ways, such as through word games and puzzles, daily journaling, creative writing, and book clubs. Vocabulary and communication skills are naturally enhanced when children come together to share ideas, work on projects, and think through issues. It also helps that many literacy and other activities in the program are geared toward either younger or older school-agers. “In this way, we can meet children where they are in their development, and present them with activities that are appropriate for their level but that also challenge them to strive toward the next level,” says Davis.

Overall, the new school-age curriculum is one every KinderCare Education employee should be proud of. “I’m proud that we’re doing the right thing for school-agers, and families should feel good about the kinds of learning experiences their children are going to have in this program,” said Davis. “Plus, the new assessment components of the program will not only help see how the program is working, but will tell us what the children think of it, too!”

 

 

 

 

 

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