Our curriculum goal is kindergarten readiness, beginning at birth and throughout the preschool years. We use the same assessment materials as HCPSS in determining a child’s readiness for kindergarten and in planning instructional activities. State statistics consistently show that a higher percentage of children enrolled in private preschool are “fully ready” for kindergarten than those in any other pre-kindergarten experience.
Program Philosophy & Purpose
PSECDP knows that a child’s early years play a unique and important role in their total development. Our philosophy is that learning occurs when children are actively involved—both physically and cognitively—in experiences that are developmentally appropriate. Developmentally appropriate practices respect the needs, interests, and abilities of the children in all domains of development—social, emotional, cognitive, and physical—while considering each child’s age, culture, and prior experiences.
Our objectives are:
to help children feel safe and comfortable by creating a warm and nurturing environment;
to facilitate development of autonomy and initiative by providing children with choices;
to facilitate problem-solving in young children by offering and supporting open-ended activities that allow them to creatively formulate their own ideas about their world;
to enhance positive self-feelings by providing activities with varying levels of complexity to allow both mastery and challenge;
to encourage attention span and task completion development through flexible schedules; and
to encourage interaction among children of diverse backgrounds and ability levels by recognizing each child's uniqueness.
During the day, children have opportunities for large group, small group, and individual activities. There is a balance between teacher-initiated and child-initiated activities and between active and quiet times. Activities are also planned around the outcome of daily observations of individual children’s needs, interests, and abilities. Therefore, the curriculum is responsive to each child’s developmental level. Children are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for decision-making, planning, problem-solving, and taking responsibility for their actions.
PSECDP uses the Tadpoles platform to ensure parents are always updated on their child's activities each day. Tadpoles sends regular notifications by email or smartphone app that include age-appropriate information on meals/feeding, diapers, activities, lessons, and more. Parents can view photos and videos of their child, and can easily communicate with teachers in the case of an absence or to authorize someone else to pick up a child. Tadpoles is private and secure. Learn more at www.tadpoles.com.
Our Partnership with HCPSS
The Howard County Public School System leases classroom space to PSECDP. This support allows our program to keep prices competitive while offering a low child/staff ratio. It is also the reason we follow the school system calendar.
High School Students
High school students enrolled in the HCPSS Early Childhood Development (ECD) program earn college credit from Howard Community College as they study child development and program planning for early childhood instruction. As part of their course of study, they may observe PSECDP staff and students, read to or play with the children, or plan and implement part of the daily schedule of activities. Our staff works closely with the high school ECD teachers in coordinating classroom visits, aligning planned activities with PSECDP lessons and objectives, and evaluating the high school students’ participation
To help the students evaluate their time in our classrooms, we may occasionally record students interacting with children. These recordings are used as instructional tools and are subject—as are all photos, slides, and videos of our children—to our program policies. The Program Director approves each evaluation “project” and notifies the center families of its impending completion. Although PSECDP families are asked to sign a form permitting videotaping, slides, and photos of the children, you may choose not to have your child participate in these evaluation projects. In this case, it is important to notify the Program Director of the decision so they can help the teachers restrict your child’s involvement.
Other students may work in our centers as volunteers or work/study students. At no time are high school students left unsupervised in a PSECDP classroom, even if they are on payroll and therefore part of our staffing ratio.
Cedar Lane School
Believing that children reap social, emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits from interacting with other children of all abilities, we have forged a partnership with the administrative and teaching staff at the Cedar Lane School to share our expertise and to jointly plan and implement activities for all preschool students at this site. Our daily schedule allows for one to three hours of "together time" in activities devoted to the learning needs of both HCPSS and PSECDP preschool classes. Our partnership with the Cedar Lane School also allows our program access to related arts specialists, special outdoor equipment, technology, and additional program enhancements.