Preschool in Atlanta, GA 30312
404 Fulton Street SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
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Sheltering Arms is Georgia’s oldest nonprofit early childhood education program, and one of its most respected. Our mission is to serve working families with high quality, affordable child care and education and comprehensive support services, as well as to provide professional development for early childhood educators and community outreach. Founded by Atlanta volunteers in 1888, Sheltering Arms now annually serves more than 3,600 children, ages six weeks to five years old, and their families, in 16 centers in 6 metro Atlanta counties. Sheltering Arms is a tax-exempt 501©3 organization.
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The Sheltering Arms curriculum is based on our philosophy of early childhood education:
High quality early childhood education meets the total needs of the individual child.
Children learn best through play – actively participating in and manipulating their environment.
Children learn all day long – during teacher directed activities and child-selected activities.
Children learn in a variety of individual ways using all five senses.
Children learn best in a positive stimulating environment designed to enhance their self-confidence and self esteem.
Our instructional program for children is based upon current research that documents developmentally appropriate activities for infants, toddlers, and three and four year olds.
Parents are viewed as important partners with us in their child’s care and education. Partnerships with parents include plans and dreams articulated during the enrollment interview, daily reports and regularly scheduled conferences, volunteer opportunities, frequent dissemination of suggestions for parent-child together homework activities, parenting skills classes, readily available information on ages and stages of development and positive guidance, and book ownership events.
A curriculum is defined as a written plan that includes …
1. the goals for children’s development and learning,
2. the experiences through which they will achieve these goals,
3. what staff and parents do to help children achieve these goals,
4. the materials needed to support the implementation of the curriculum.
Sheltering Arms bases our instructional or educational program upon guiding principles set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Every experience plays some part in the growth and development of a child’s personality. Therefore our educational philosophy is not complete without clarifying our principles of positive guidance:
Children “learn what they live”. Our example of honest and fair action with all children, loving and calming words and gentle hugs of encouragement are the most powerful ways we teach children how to live in the world.
Teachers provide a positive environment where the rules are clear and consistent.
Teachers encourage positive behavior by being well prepared with age-appropriate learning activities directing children whose behavior is inappropriate to another activity praising and encouraging specific behavior.
Teachers use positive guidance techniques to direct children’s behavior. Physical punishment or verbal abuse by any adult, including parents, is not allowed on center property.
Our goal of discipline is to help children learn an inner control over their own behavior. Helping children express emotions using words rather than physical force best does this.
Conferences may be scheduled with parents to discuss concerns about a child’s behavior in order to gain their understanding and support of ways to work better with the child. Our goal is to work in partnership with parents.
When persistent behaviors make it difficult for them or the other children to fully benefit from classroom activities a written plan is developed to involve the parents, teachers, management team, staff, and community resources.
Our philosophy on early childhood education stems from the values set forth in our strategic plan. Grounded in our history and mission, our strategic plan sets forth overarching values that guide our early childhood education philosophy:
excellence in early childhood education,
strong, self-reliant families,
a diverse, well-educated corps of staff and volunteers,
communities that are able to care for and uphold their children and families,
a strong, diverse board of directors,
collaboration with program participants, the community, and other constituencies,
accountability to donors and constituents, and
relationships formed in the work to empower families and strengthen communities.
To best reflect our philosophy and values, Sheltering Arms has designed our own developmentally appropriate curriculum for our program. The Sheltering Arms curriculum has evolved since our founding in 1888 and includes the most current research on early childhood best practices. It focuses on the individual needs of children, and is rooted in Piaget’s theory of how children learn and think in an enriched sensory environment, guided by the new brain research, and influenced by Erickson’s stages of emotional growth. It views the parent as the child’s first teacher and as a partner in education. The importance of this partnership has been confirmed by Vygotsky’s study of the impact of family and culture on children’s learning. The goal of the Sheltering Arms curriculum is to provide children with an environment that stimulates learning, encourages curiosity, exploration, problem solving, and self-expression through hands-on activities. We believe children learn by doing – through actively manipulating and exploring their environment as well as making many of their own decisions. Our curriculum has been approved by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning for use in the lottery-funded Pre-kindergarten Program, and is routinely purchased by other child care programs throughout the southeast region.
The Sheltering Arms curriculum revolves around a comprehensive system of…
establishing partnerships with parents, with sensitivity to their changing needs,
screening for developmental delays or health issues,
assigning a primary caregiver (bonding group),
ongoing individual child assessments,
enriching the learning environment,
following a daily schedule with a balance of child selected and teacher facilitated activities,
developing a child’s portfolio,
positive interactions between teachers and children,
parent involvement and conferences,
The curriculum is also reinforced through well-equipped classrooms, state-of-the-art facilities and playgrounds, and the provision of nutritious meals and snacks and nutrition education for parents.