When planning curriculum, teachers adhere to standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children as well as the Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences adopted by the Massachusetts Department of Education in April of 2003. The guidelines cover learning in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology/Engineering, History and Social Science, Health Education, and the Arts. They recommend learning through play and meaningful activities in a developmental sequence and many opportunities for children to:
Plan: children consider what they are going to do with materials and how they are going to do it.
Play: children use materials and equipment in ways that best suit their personal curiosity and understanding.
Reflect: children recall things that happened to them, reinforcing or questioning their understandings.
Revisit: children practice skills and replay experiences in many different ways, with each activity refining or modifying previous understandings.
Connect: children, with the help of teachers, connect new knowledge with past experiences, creating links among subject areas and areas of skill development.
Classroom activities are geared toward the particular group of students in a class that year. Different combinations of children present a different group dynamic and different interests. Teachers design their curriculum by including topics of particular interest to their group.
The curriculum also reflects a school rich in tradition. Over the past 50 years, the curriculum has reflected the wealth of natural and community resources available in our immediate environment to provide children with meaningful experiences. Many Berrybrook traditions are based on the natural world. Harvesting beach plums on the property to make jelly each September and tapping the maple trees each spring are examples of traditions enjoyed every year. While the traditions are important to our curriculum, they are subject to revisions that reflect the needs of the group as well as the talents and interests of the staff and parent population.
Our curriculum, through developmentally based activities, is designed to promote a well-managed classroom that encourages children to learn skills like how to ask for help or how to lend a helping hand. We practice solving problems with friends and encourage children to talk about feelings. Social and emotional growth is considered as important as intellectual and physical growth.