Importance of Play

We believe that play is essential to optimal child development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. Play and the expression of ideas through interactions with adults, peers, and the environment is the primary business of children. Play has a central place in our program curriculum. Young children learn through play. It is through spontaneous, child-initiated, child-directed, teacher-facilitated play that children interact with and learn about their world. This emphasis on play is reflected throughout the program designs and activities.

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their social, physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master. We believe play enables a child to develop skills, knowledge, and attitude to work effectively in our increasingly interdependent world. Children are our future leaders. As they master their world, play helps children develop global competency that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges, and more important, to understand and appreciate the diversity of societies and cultures.

A Dynamic, Developmentally-Appropriate Learning Environment

We believe that a rich and stimulating learning environment is essential to a children program that promotes global competency. In any program environment, you will find a learning community organized into various thematic program and interest areas. Children play with concrete and relevant objects, including but not limited to paints, blocks, water or sand, and books. Our facilities and program materials reflect the developmental needs for children to explore and manipulate. They offer sensorial, active, intellectual and constructive play opportunities for young children. Materials and material for any one group of children are selected to provide for the developmental range of interests and abilities of the children within the group. As the children grow and develop, program facilitators change the material and experiences in a program to meet children's needs for increasing complexity and challenges.

Child-Initiated Play

We believe that child-initiated play allows children to learn how to work in groups and diverse settings, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. These are important characteristics of a resilient and dynamic globally competent leader. When play is allowed to be child-driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.

Diversity

We believe that children should be provided with materials and experiences that recognize the diversity of the group we serve. We welcome all children and provide an opportunity to enrich the lives of children by supporting the holistic development of each child. We invite families to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences among us and to extend their experiences to include knowledge of the ways of other families who share our learning community. Our open-ended approach to curriculum creates opportunities for children to talk about and compare experiences.

Program Facilitators

We believe that our staff members are program facilitators. Our program facilitators are sensitive listeners, observers, questioners, clarifiers, and problem-solvers, assisting and ˇ§scaffoldingˇ¨ children while allowing them to own the learning. We provide various opportunities for children to communicate within a learning community. We also recognize that children learn though trial and error and that children's preconceptions reflect their developing thoughts. Children need time and space to explore independently. They also need to know that their work is important. Program facilitators show this by providing support and encouragement, by listening to and valuing children's ideas and feelings, by asking them questions, and helping children to clarify their thoughts. Finally, learning how to make friends and function as a productive member of a group is very important. Program facilitators enrich children's social development by providing limits and clear expectations, by responding to children respectfully, and by assisting children in resolving their conflicts.

Parent-Program Facilitator Partnerships

We believe the parent-child relationship is the most important context for learning and development and we strive to maintain close connections between home and our program. We value the cultural and individual perspectives that families bring to the program. We believe that parents and program facilitators form an important partnership on behalf of each child. We believe that parents have both the right and the responsibility to share in decisions about their child's care and education. Program facilitators come to the partnership with knowledge and expertise in child development and early childhood education. Parents bring a unique understanding of their child. The mutual sharing of information and insights enables us to work together in nurturing and enriching the children to become globally competent leaders of tomorrow. Above all, play is a simple joy that is an important part of childhood. Play is a central part of growth and development (Henig, 2008).

Our Service Goals

Dr. PLAY is a program devoted to promoting global competency of children through play. Four goals guide our work.

(1) Our primary goal is to provide a quality program for children that promotes and builds global competency. Fostering the development of global competency is an essential part of our mission as an organization. Children should have the abilities to communicate effectively across linguistic and cultural boundaries, to see and understand the world from a perspective other than oneˇ¦s own. Children are global explorers who should be afforded at a very early age with a world of endless opportunities to help them transform into resilient and dynamic global leaders of tomorrow. In this regard we strive to provide and delivers a high-quality childrenˇ¦s program ˇV The Play Infinity Playhouse.

(2) Our second goal is to offer a developmentally appropriate learning environment in which children are given opportunities to make choices; pursue their own questions, interests and concerns, connect what is known and unknown; and be successful as they explore and discover the world through play, informal learning investigations and projects. Play environments are inherently social places where program facilitators and children construct program curriculum together. Within the program, the social interactions between children and program facilitators encourage children to develop an understanding of themselves and others as well as the understanding and appreciation of the diversity of societies and cultures that is characterized by warmth, mutual respect, and sensitivity to the individuality within each of us. Our staff facilitates interaction among children that encourages self-esteem, global competency, language development, and intellectual growth.

Our Service Goals

(3) Our third goal is to work in partnership with families to support the needs of children and to educate and support the families of young children. The Playhouse program provides a vital service for parents, enabling them to meet the developmental needs of their children, knowing that their children are safe and in quality care. It is important for parents to be informed about the learning of their children. Through a) assessment, b) documentation, c) evaluation, and d) open communication, we form a partnership with parents on behalf of the children. Parents are encouraged to get involved and contribute their ideas to improve our program.

(4) Our final goal is to model quality childrenˇ¦s program that builds globally competent individuals. We are committed to modeling a program which reflects the most current research in our area of expertise.