Curriculum and Programs
The Brownstone School sets high standards for the education of young children. Our play-based approach is developmentally progressive and child-centered, focusing on the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of each child. Daily schedules offer a broad range of structured and unstructured activities, and provide children with the security of a routine. Working independently and in small groups, the children learn through hands-on exploration of selected materials. Dramatic play, children's literature, puppets, games, puzzles, blocks, artistic media, music, creative movement, outdoor activities, water play, cooking and manipulatives promote the development of pre-reading, pre-writing and pre-math skills as well as foster understanding of scientific concepts.
We use an interdisciplinary approach with school-wide themes forming the basis of the curriculum. The themes are incorporated into aspects of the children’s experiences through art, books, circle time discussions and projects. The specific topics explored as part of the thematic units vary within the individual classrooms, based on the children's stage of development and their previous exposure to, and knowledge of, the content. Teachers have the flexibility to plan and implement emergent curriculum projects, taking planned units in different directions as the children make connections to the content and their interests are sparked.
All of our programs reflect our beliefs about how young children learn best – thorough play and active engagement with their environment. Our goal is to prepare the children for the increasing academic demands of on-going school programs, while maintaining the critical essence of childhood - having fun, developing self-confidence and learning the social, emotional and physical foundational skills necessary for success, through play. We believe that how children learn is as important as what they learn, and we focus on process versus product. The school's play-based program embraces the principles of The Responsive Classroom to create a joyful learning environment, with positive teacher language and clear expectations for behavior, providing opportunities for the children to learn from their own mistakes while building their self esteem. We use the Handwriting Without Tears program, which includes multisensory activities, music and specifically designed materials, to help the children develop fine motor and letter formation skills. Our overall educational philosophy draws upon the theories of Paiget, Erikson, Gardiner and Vygotsky.