The purpose of the Yorktown Community Nursery School is to provide children with the opportunity for self-expression and development of their interests and abilities, and to help them adjust to the educational environment; to afford them the opportunity to explore and experiment and live out their thoughts and problems in play; to provide a program for the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of the preschool child; and to aid parents in adopting constructive attitudes toward their children's behavior through actual participation in the operation of a cooperative nursery school.
The learning environment for our children at YCNS is essential to the school's philosophy. In the article, Continuity from Pre-Kindergarten to Kindergarten, Dorothy Cohen, an expert on learning through play, states, "If we think of curriculum as something we do to children, we think of products we teach them to make and lessons we have them remember. But, if we think of curriculum as something that happens to children, that children mesh with, then we think more of our role in preparing an environment and offering experiences through which children undergo the process of learning perhaps even without producing a product."
This is the type of environment which allows for the practice of Developmental Education, the basis for the educational policies at YCNS. The learning process allows each child to develop at an individual pace and learn about and make sense of one's own world through play. This process of learning about the world enables every child to develop cognitively through age-appropriate experiences in an interesting and fulfilling way.
Learning through play is learning about symbols, and symbolization is basic to human development. A child pretending a block is a garage is engaged in symbolization. He learns that one thing can represent something else. Symbolization in its more advanced form is reading, writing and arithmetic. Before a child can understand such abstract systems, he must become a symbolizer himself.
The teacher's role in the classroom is to observe and respect each child's play and to build that into a curriculum. The teacher can provide new opportunities and materials that allow the children to expand their own ideas as well as have a sense of community. The focus is to allow each child to learn and grow at his own pace and develop socialization skills.
The staff at YCNS is dedicated to the well-being of the children. We work hard to create a warm, enriching and safe environment where children are challenged and encouraged to learn and grow.
While the parent body of the school is ever changing, the Educational Policy and Learning Environment continue to be the foundation upon which YCNS grows.