The core belief within the philosophy of The Giving Tree is that children have different developmental needs and learning styles that first must be learned by their teachers and then catered to in a stimulating environment at their own rate. The educational curriculum is based on the theory of developmental interactionism and is accomplished through activities that are developmentally appropriate.
Lessons are designed around the children's goals, which means they are being taught to individually. Lessons will be formatted with each child’s goals in mind. Monthly units are created by teachers that incorporate student’s goals and new concepts that excite children about learning. Basic skill instruction will be incorporated into the thematic units. Phonics and whole language instruction will be used to associate letters, sounds and words together in the formation of reading skills.
Quality early childhood education lays a solid foundation for children. The program must incorporate a challenging environment in the areas of physical development, social development, emotional development, cognitive development and language development. Our attention must be focused on the totality of these developmental domains. It takes a highly developed curriculum and a learned instructor to continually assess the needs of the individual children and to create the optimal learning environment for a group of children. Children will develop at different rates and levels across the developmental domains. The rate of growth is determined by the quality of the child’s interaction with the environment and genetic predisposition. Our job as educators is to enhance the interaction with the environment. This is accomplished through planned arrangement of the classroom. Environmental enhancement can assist the teacher in promoting the greatest achievement possible. Enjoying a passion for learning is a quality that must be inherent to the early childhood teachers, for their professional growth and the growth of their students. The instructor must have a deep understanding of how children grow and when they learn best.
Understanding that children learn both through spontaneous and created play experiences is crucial. Teachers need to know when to allow children to be problem solvers, when to step in and offer suggestions for successful mediation and when to watch the children explore and learn independently. Children also learn when they are invited to become active participants in a community of learners. Children watch and learn from their peers. Maximizing opportunities for children to work cooperatively as well as individually allows for alternative learning styles. Children will develop problem solving skills and yet also be offered individual time for the promotion of self-help and coping strategies.
At The Giving Tree, the curriculum is devised with each child’s developmental needs in mind. Lessons are based on the combination of skills which have been previously learned, new skills that are introduced and then intertwined towards the goal of mastery.