Classroom Learning Centers
Each classroom is set up with various developmentally appropriate learning centers that are intended to be used by the children. These areas are accessible by the children at various times of the day to encourage the development of fine motor skills. The learning centers are created with specific goals for brain development in mind, and are an integral part of maintaining a room that acts as a “third” classroom teacher. Our staff are involved in center play throughout the day by using comments and questions to help children expand spoken language. They will often document what the child says in print as a way to make learning more visible. Some of the centers you will see in the center are art, music & movement, blocks, dramatic play, nature/science/sensory. These centers are set up to promote cultural diversity, while providing a stimulating, fun and educational experience. They are intended to introduce skills in science, technology, math, and writing in preparation for school.

Children’s Literature
Children’s literature is promoted through the use of high quality, developmentally appropriate books in each classroom. Teachers will focus their learning activities and lesson plans on themes, using these books. A variety of books are placed throughout the centers and in the reading areas in each classroom, in order to maintain a language rich environment.

  • ITERS – Infant/Toddler Environmental Rating Scales is used to measure the quality of an infant/toddler program by using a set of scales to evaluate personal care routines, furnishings, language, fine and gross motor activities, creative activities, social development, and adult needs. ITERS identifies areas where quality is already high as well as identifying where improvement is needed.
  • ECERS-3 – Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales is used to measure the quality of an early childhood program, serving children ages 3-5 years of age. This program uses a set of scales to measure both environmental provisions and teacher-child interactions that affect the broad developmental needs of young children, including cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and health and safety. Areas measured include:
    • Space and Furnishings
    • Personal Care Routines
    • Language and Literacy
    • Learning Activities
    • Interaction
    • Program Structure
  • ECERS-E complements the ECERS-3 and extends the scales to provide additional insight into literacy, mathematics, science and environment, as well as practices related to diversity. It is a very useful tool for directors and teaching staff, for daily use in maintaining a high quality level of care throughout the center.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developmentally appropriate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development. DAP involves teachers meeting young children where they are (by stage of development), both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet challenging and achievable learning goals.


  1. Knowing about child development and learning.
    Knowing what is typical at each age and stage of early development is crucial. This knowledge, based on research, helps us decide which experiences are best for children’s learning and development. (See “12 Principles of Child Development and Learning” from Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.)
  2. Knowing what is individually appropriate.
    What we learn about specific children helps us teach and care for each child as an individual. By continually observing children’s play and interaction with the physical environment and others, we learn about each child’s interests, abilities, and developmental progress.
  3. Knowing what is culturally important.
    We must make an effort to get to know the children’s families and learn about the values, expectations, and factors that shape their lives at home and in their communities. This background information helps us provide meaningful, relevant, and respectful learning experiences for each child and family.