Assessment and Academics
We believe that all people, regardless of their age, are learners. We each have experiences, reflect on them, and adjust accordingly. We follow an inquiry-based learning model and actively cultivate a safe and open learning environment. Our teacher's do not hesitate to admit when they don't know an answer to a question, and we make a point to identify times we feel frustrated or make a mistake. At Woodland Playhouse, we learn and grow together both as individuals and as a community and encourage our students on the path of a life-long learner.
Students at Woodland Playhouse are offered a wealth of experiences: we are able to access our names and photos when we want to practice signing our work or writing to a friend, we regularly "move our clips" with our names and faces to mark when we've finished the steps of trying to use the bathroom and washing our hands, we count up the days of the month and count down to special events, we predict and hypothesize about the world around us and the stories we're reading, and we spend lots of time learning how to navigate the social-emotional dynamic that naturally occurs between people with big feelings and a sense of justice (or injustice). When we aren't exploring the forest and wondering "why is that tree missing its bark?" or chopping apples to make our own homemade applesauce for afternoon snack, you will often find us writing stories in our writing journals to re-enact with our class, dancing to any list of musical encounters reminding us to identify body parts, social-emotional learning, or mathematics, or using our science journals to document what we're observing during any number of experiments. Our learning is hands-on and full-on, never pausing through all our daily experiences.
Our program offers choice to the attending children. When given some agency over their daily decision making, they are more willing and comfortable in their experiences and take away more learning from each interaction. While we still gently "push" students to try new things and experiment with new experiences, we aim for a solid middle of offering a few good choices and letting them select what feels best that day.
We assess young children’s individual needs by witnessing a young child’s strengths, progress, and needs. Our teachers utilize developmental checklists, developmental milestones, our education and our experience when assessing an individual child’s needs. While developing our plans for the month ahead, our teachers regularly reference and reflect on the NYS Learning Standards and use that as a guide for design of our invitations to play and explore, our teacher led small and whole group activities, and our plans for assessment. Through our UPK system we utilize the High Scope COR Advantage assessment tool and the ASQ 3 and ASQ 2SE for pre-assessments prior to the start of the school year.
Checklists aside, for a child to thrive in any program or school there must be a comfortable and courteous relationship between teacher and student as well as teacher and parent. This relationship further fosters the children's connection to the classroom and the community; they are learning through both observation and experience. When the child feels rooted, connected, and safe, they are able to truly explore, cultivate, and learn.