Research in early childhood education indicates that the first five years of a child’s life are the most important for brain development. Further, economists and legislators all agree that there is a correlation between high quality Early Childhood Education and benefits to community, states, and the nation.
Learning Through Play
Research indicates that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences. In fact, it is through active free play, especially outdoors, that children start to build the foundational life skills they need in order to be successful for years to come. Children younger than age seven need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds.
The Exploration Station classrooms provide a planned environment that is designed to stimulate a child’s interest. Our individualized approach
meets each child’s different and unique needs and interests. The Exploration Station encourages children to choose freely from a wide range of play and learning experiences and in doing so, help them to recognize, understand and express their own emotions as well as to sympathize with the emotions of others. The program focuses on the child’s cognitive, social-emotional, psychomotor, language and communication, and creative
needs. Children outdoor time daily on an age appropriate playground and on the bicycle path. They visit the Exploration Station library and
can check out books. They also learn in the Exploration Station Science Lab and visit all the departments at North Campus.
Miami Dade College School of Education (MDC SOE) is fortunate to have a state-of-the-art National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)-accredited Pre-School Laboratory Demonstration School at North Campus. MDC SOE Pre-School Lab became a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused preschool lab starting on July 1, 2011, making this preschool one of only two such preschools in the U.S. (The other was at California Polytechnic University.) This means that we offer children the chance to explore the wonderful worlds of STEM before they even begin kindergarten! It was officially named “Exploration Station” in January 2012.
We learn about butterflies, finding out where they come from, what they eat, and how we can attract even more butterflies to the preschool and to our homes. We learn where food comes from by tending to our children’s garden. We make clouds in bottles as a way to see fog up close and to help us understand what fog is and how it is formed. We look at rainbows and compare these to prisms.
We use smart tables and computers in our classrooms. We also go on virtual field trips via our smartboards.
Engineering and Math
We design miniature buildings and cities using Lego/Duplo blocks and then we use our designs to learn about counting and other math ideas. We learn about bridges, roads and ramps, and how fast or slow cars can travel on these.
We create graphs to show us many things about ourselves, such as how many teeth we have, or how many different hair and eye colors there are in the class.
We are careful observers, look for similarities and differences, problem solve, set up experiments and test them. We look for the STEM connections in all that we do. The developmentally appropriate program is child-centered and based on research in early childhood education using the High Scope Curriculum.
A High Quality Early Childhood Program
- Promote positive relationships for all children and adults.
- A curriculum that fosters all areas of child development-cognitive, emotional, language, physical, and social.
- Use developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches.
- Provide ongoing assessments of child progress.
- Promote the nutrition and health of children and staff.
- Employ and support qualified teaching staff.
- Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with families.
- Establish and maintain relationships with and use resources of the community.
- Provide a safe and healthy physical environment.
- Implement strong program management policies that result in high-quality service.
- A STEM-focused school in which all learning ultimately is tied to scientific principles and mathematic constructs:
- Children select plants to be grown in their garden and keep scientific journals of the growth of the plants, while learning about good nutrition and eating habits.
- Expands on their natural inquisitiveness and supports their explorations of amazing phenomena.
- Child-centered and based on best practices research in early childhood education.
- Learning through playing.
- Classrooms designed to stimulate child’s interest.
- Our individualized approach focusing on the child’s cognitive, social / emotional, psychomotor, language and communication and creative needs.
- Choose freely from a wide range of play and learning experiences
- Teach students to recognize, understand, and express their own emotions as well as to sympathize with the emotions of others.
This program is sponsored by the Miami Dade College School of Education