Program Component Areas for Preschools
Curriculum and Program
The Creative Curriculum is a research-based comprehensive curriculum which was adopted by the Paterson Department of Early Childhood as the curriculum to guide our 3 and 4 year old students. Since 2003, we have provided all staff with direct training from Teaching Strategies consultants. We continually sustain and extend the concepts and contract with Teaching Strategies to continue professional development activities and site visitations to assure that implementation is ongoing and our classroom environment is dynamic.
Supporting English Language Learners
In order to create optimal language environments for English Language Learners, center directors are required to have bilingual staff available for dialogue and interaction with children. The Natural Approach is used. Activities are to reflect an environment whereby communication in both the native language and English flows freely.
In collaboration with the community-based centers, it is our goal to:
- Provide a responsive environment that will incorporate and enhance the use of all languages represented by the students.
- Use the Creative Curriculum and supplemental materials that will help students acquire English language skills.
- Increase the awareness of cultural diversity.
- Develop oral language skills in both the first and second language with a naturalistic approach to learning.
- Provide opportunities for center teachers and staff to attend various staff development workshops relevant to Bilingual/ESL methodologies and strategies to strengthen their knowledge.
- Develop a process which will ease the transition for early language learners and their families to elementary schools.
- Afford opportunities for parents to attend workshops and informational meetings.
We are dedicated to providing resources and strategies that will ensure an atmosphere or classroom environment where three and four-year-old children can continue the development of their first language while enhancing and facilitating the acquisition of a second one.
Our goals include ensuring that:
- The language and culture of families are central to the curriculum and teaching.
- Curriculum and materials reflect cultural diversity.
- Students have opportunities to express themselves, develop motor skills and experience literature and communication in their own language, music, science and nature.
- Master Teachers with Bilingual/Bicultural and ESL certification and experience serve as models in classrooms, provide resources and conduct workshops related to ELL teachings and methodologies.
Students identified with a dominant language other than English will be serviced by an English-speaking teacher with a bilingual paraprofessional. Preschool centers may opt to have an English –speaking teacher teach the whole class with a bilingual instructional assistant serving as a linguistic link to the home.
In Paterson, we are fortunate that many of our teachers and instructional assistants are bilingual due to the rich diversity of our community. This translates into staff that understands the languages, culture and tradition of the population served.
The center staff continues to assess the language skills of the 4-year-old students who were identified by the Home Language Survey as having a language other than English. They administer the WAPT test to determine the level of English proficiency in late October and May. The results and findings are placed in the transition folder for the Kindergarten teachers.
The Bilingual/ESL Department maintains its support of the Department of Early Childhood Education; there is regular communication between the two departments to share information, data and resources to ensure that we are providing the appropriate services for students.