Sheltering Arms Curriculum

Sheltering Arms' teaching philosophy is based on current research that defines developmentally appropriate practices for children ages birth through 5 years. We work to facilitate children's ability to master basic school readiness skills in five essential domains: 

  1. Physical Well-Being and Motor Development
  2. Social and Emotional Development
  3. Approaches to Learning
  4. Language and Literacy Development
  5. Cognition and General Knowledge.

These developmental goals are aligned with Georgia's Early Learning and Development Standards and The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. Emphasis is placed on respect and appreciation of each individual's abilities and contributions. This developmental approach to education affirms 1) that children are natural learners who develop at their own unique rate, and 2) high quality education meets the needs of each individual child.

We believe that children learn best when:

  • They are supported by sensitive, responsive, trusted adults who create nurturing environments that support and encourage exploration and independence.
  • Teachers are intentional in offering choices and responding to their changing interests and abilities.
  • Their home language and cultural backgrounds are respected and reflected in all areas of the program and parents are engaged in their child's early learning experience.
  • They have a predictable, yet flexible, daily schedule that is child-paced and meets their individual needs.
  • Their day includes a balance of teacher-facilitated and child-initiated activities.
  • They are active and engaged in activities that build on prior knowledge and that are designed to build their self-confidence, competence, and capability as self-directed learners.

Sheltering Arms uses The Creative Curriculum® which is the country's leading scientifically based, comprehensive curriculum for programs serving children from birth to age 5. It is grounded in current research and theory and supports teachers' increased professional knowledge of best practice. The curriculum aligns with Sheltering Arms' educational philosophy in that it is integrated with high-quality assessment, professional development, and family connection resources to create a well-rounded program that addresses the needs of early childhood education professionals, children, and their families.

The Creative Curriculum overall provides teachers with the framework for providing high quality, individualized caring and teaching. The Curriculum:

  • Explains the objectives for development and learning.
  • Describes the characteristics that make each child unique, including temperament, life experiences, dual-language learning and the presence of a disability.
  • Provides a model for setting up the physical environment.
  • Emphasizes the importance of daily routines and experiences that build positive, trusting relationships with children, nurture children's curiosity, and guide them as they make increasing sense of their world.
  • Provides strategies to help children develop self-regulation, to respond to challenging behaviors, and to guide children's learning.
  • Explains the role and process of ongoing assessment for learning about each child, following their progress, and planning.
  • Describes how to build and sustain partnerships with families for the benefit of children.

The Curriculum also defines and provides teachers with detailed information about each of the 36 Objectives for Development and Learning. It presents the research related to each objective, shows the developmental progression for each objective, and explains why the objective is most predictive of school success. Also included are classroom strategies related to each objective. Two additional objectives are included for English language learners so that teachers and parents can follow and support a child's progress in acquiring both receptive and expressive skills in English. Teachers use the Objectives for Development and Learning to assess children's developmental levels, identify goals, plan for each child, and track children's progress over time.

Additionally, The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos emphasizes the importance of daily routines and experiences as the foundation for responsive caregiving and intentional teaching. Consistent routines enable teachers to help children build trust and autonomy. Responsive care helps children develop secure attachments to the important people in their lives. Teachers plan meaningful experiences by selecting materials that match children's growing abilities and interests, by observing what children do, and by learning about children through their observations. While teachers plan experiences for the child, they keep in mind that they are only planning for the possibilities because they must be able to respond to whatever interests the child in the moment.

Additionally, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool illustrates ten classroom interest areas and describes the materials appropriate for each. The Curriculum also guides teachers' understanding and ability to intentionally teach children essential skills in literacy and mathematics throughout the day. Through The Creative Curriculum System and Study Starters teachers are guided to use studies, in-depth investigations, as a way of helping children build content knowledge, and develop, practice, and apply a range process skills.


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