Allen Creek strives to build relationships in a variety of ways:
- Positive Interaction Techniques;
- A Focus on Child Strengths;
- Forming Authentic Relationships;
- Supporting Children’s Play;
- Using a Problem-Solving Approach to Conflict;
- Respect and Predictability;
- Guidelines for Indoor and Outdoor Play.
The staff at Allen Creek is committed to positive interactions with individual children and within each class group. We greet children as they arrive and work with parents to facilitate a successful separation. During our conversations with children we maintain eye contact, listen carefully, and move close, rather than speaking from a distance. We respect their personal space, and encourage each child to be independent and creative.
We believe that children learn best from a position of strength, and that they are highly motivated by personal goals and interests. We understand children by observing them at play. Over time we learn a great deal about their unique qualities. These observations are documented, giving us a record of the child’s development over the course of a year. We use this information to help us create a curriculum based directly on children’s interests and abilities.
Our belief that the teaching/learning process is social and interactive guides our relationships with children in the classroom. Authentic relationships encourage children to know that there will be times for them to be heard, do things on their own, consider the needs of others, and take initiative and pride in their work. We engage in genuine conversations with children, with specific comments about their work and questions that we honestly need to ask to gather information. Class environments and routines are designed so children have many opportunities to be aware of others, to watch and imitate, to focus on things that have meaning to them, and to discuss and reflect on their actions.
We believe that children learn through their play, motivated by curiosity about the world around them. Playing as a partner with children in thoughtful and respectful ways is a hallmark of our interactions with children. We do not tease, belittle, tickle, or use other forms of physical aggression in our interactions with your children.
Social conflict is seen as an opportunity to give children repeated instruction and practice in developing the skills they need to get along with others in the world. We focus on teaching children to resolve their differences with others in cooperative and constructive ways. Teachers facilitate conflict resolution by remaining calm, acknowledging and labeling feelings, gathering information, restating the problem, and offering or asking for solutions. Through this process children make a habit of solving problems, and gain the confidence to do so in future situations.
We teach children to take ownership and responsibility for their classroom environment by ensuring safety, predictability and consistency. This includes letting children know in advance as much as possible of any changes (for instance, visitors, absences, upcoming holidays, and so on).
Children of preschool age are physical with each other and typically use their bodies to express themselves, their emotions, and their frustrations and joys. As they get older and enter elementary school they tend to become more comfortable using a combination of physicality and newly acquired verbal and relationship skills to share the same feelings. Allen Creek does not normally report to parents all the physical interactions that fall within developmental norms. However, if a child seems unusually upset, if there is a unusual pattern to the physicality, or there is something else otherwise remarkable about the behavior the teachers will let the parents know at the end of the day in person, via an email or call, or at conferences.