Last month, I introduced our Balanced Learning® approach – Primrose Schools’ research-informed approach to early education developed by early learning experts. Balanced Learning is the blueprint that guides Primrose teachers and parents in helping children build the right foundation for Active Minds, Healthy Bodies and Happy Hearts®. You may be asking yourself, “What does this actually look, sound and feel like in Primrose classrooms?” We thought the best way to show you would be to detail a day-in-the-life for each age group we serve, delving deeper into the experiences and opportunities that Balanced Learning provides for children.
The Balanced Learning journey begins in our infant classrooms where our loving teachers encourage babies to laugh, play and explore in a safe and nurturing environment. This is an important part of our learning philosophy, which blends child-initiated play and exploration with meaningful guidance from teachers to extend children’s learning.
Of our seven learning domains that are woven throughout all Primrose classrooms, our infant curriculum focuses on the areas of babies’ brains that are developing at this stage – language and communication, physical development and social-emotional growth. A typical day in the infant classroom includes exploration time, music, stories and sign language, as well as plenty of time for one-on-one interactions with teachers to nurture important connections and social-emotional growth.
Toddler and Early Preschool Classrooms
The Balanced Learning curriculum in toddler and early preschool classrooms is tailored to build on 1 and 2-year-olds’ budding sense of independence. Children’s choice learning centers include art, books, blocks/math manipulatives, science/sensory experiences and dramatic play, and allow children to satisfy their natural desire to explore and discover.
Weekly, school-wide themes such as space, transportation and jungle animals provide meaningful contexts for students to connect new skills and concepts. For example, children may initially learn the word “car” during Circle Time, then build on that word as they experiment pushing toy cars “fast” and “slow” in children’s choice learning centers. Later in the day, toddlers listen to their teacher read stories about cars that go “honk” and wheels that go “round and round” to help build additional knowledge and vocabulary around cars and transportation. Finally, at the art learning center children may use their creativity as they paint or glue shapes together to design their own cars.
Balanced Learning also includes enrichment programs that help young children develop physically, creatively, socially and emotionally. For example, our Thumbs Up! physical development and fitness program promotes coordination, balance and fine and gross motor skill growth. As a result of our additional emphasis on character development and essential life skills, children learn to share, work cooperatively with others, make good decisions, resolve conflicts, and other Executive Function skills. They also learn the importance of practicing healthy habits and other self-help skills through stories, puppet play and role playing.
Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Classrooms
Our oldest students participate in the full breadth of the Balanced Learning curriculum. Teachers continue to build on the skills nurtured in younger classrooms to further develop literacy, vocabulary, writing and math concepts through large and small group instruction and children’s choice learning centers. Children now begin extending their learning through enrichment programs focused on creative arts, music appreciation, gardening, nature exploration, physical activity and foreign language.
Children continue to develop strong character traits, such as empathy, teamwork and generosity, through our character development programs. They plan and participate in authentic learning experiences, such as donating food to a local food bank and collecting and donating books to local hospitals and shelters. Our Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students participate in a pen pal program where they exchange letters with students in another region of the country who are part of the Save the Children® U.S. Child Sponsorship program. Older Primrose students also continue learning and practicing important life skills, like taking care of our environment and learning the steps to take in case of an emergency.
For our youngest infants through our private kindergarten students, each day at Primrose is filled with purposeful, meaningful learning experiences that are crafted considering long-standing early childhood development theories, modern wisdom and research-informed educational practices. You can learn more about the learning and discovery that goes on inside each Primrose classroom by watching these short videos.