The Child Development Centers of the University of Rhode Island offer high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs for children ages three to six years. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), our full day preschool and kindergarten programs' mission mirrors that of the University: to provide high quality programs for pre-primary children, to serve as a high quality teacher training facility, to support research in the field of early childhood education, and to serve the community as a model of best practice in early care and education through outreach and advocacy. The original Child Development Center is located on the Kingston campus of the University. The Dr. Pat Feinstein Child Development Center is located at the Feinstein Providence Campus.
The Child Development Centers are part of the Human Development and Family Studies program in the College of Human Science and Services at the University of Rhode Island. The directors and teachers in the program have Rhode Island Early Childhood teacher certification, a strong background of education and experience, and outstanding evidence of professional development, community support and outreach.
At the Child Development Centers
We believe in the uniqueness and intrinsic value of each child. We strive to develop a program that will enhance the development of each child to the fullest extent. We believe that children learn through meaningful play experiences with interesting materials that match children's interests and abilities. These rich experiences and interactions help children move toward individual and age appropriate goals of the Rhode Island Early Learning Standards and Kindergarten Grade Level Expectations.
We believe that high quality programs include goals for children, families and the program. The goals for the Child Development Centers reflect the 10 core standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the whole child through a play-oriented, integrated approach. Our curriculum includes a consistent daily schedule, well-defined classroom environment, positive verbal climate, a range of high quality instructional strategies, peaceful guidance techniques, and open-ended activities that are reflective of our diverse world.
Based on the belief that children are best understood within the context of their family and community, we strive to foster strong reciprocal relationships with families and to use knowledge of the community we serve as an integral part of children's learning experiences. We seek to understand families' personal and cultural backgrounds, create and maintain effective two-way communication and support and nurture family members to be effective advocates for their children. Families are encouraged to work in partnership sharing their knowledge of their child's interests, approaches to learning and developmental needs. Through this strong relationship we learn about families' concerns, goals and hopes for their child. Families are encouraged to be active participants in the program and are offered numerous and diverse opportunities to be included in all aspects of the program.
The URI Child Development Centers early childhood program philosophy, curriculum, and objectives are based on the integration of a number of theories of child development and early education as well as on recent research findings.
One significant influence, which informs our decisions is the National Association for the Education of Young Children's position statement on Developmentally Appropriate Practice. This statement emphasizes the importance of basing curriculum decisions on three critical factors: age appropriateness in which decisions are made based on what is known about children's growth and development in the early childhood years, individual appropriateness in which decisions are made understanding that each individual child has unique strengths, interests and needs and social and cultural appropriateness in which decisions are made based on knowledge about child's social and cultural environment. In a developmentally appropriate program, each of these factors inform curricular decisions.
Other influences include the integration of a number of child development and early education theories and approaches. The constructivist theory advocated by Piaget, Forman, Kamii, DeVries and others tells us that children construct their own knowledge as they strive to make sense of the world around them. Children learn when they are actively engaged and intrinsically motivated to learn. The teacher's role is to provide a rich and diverse environment with many opportunities for exploration, investigation, formulating questions, and solving problems.
The Child Development Center's philosophy is influenced by the work of Howard Gardner. His theory articulates the existence of eight intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Gardner emphasizes the importance of recognizing that each child has a unique approach to learning and that teachers must provide curricular opportunities in each of these eight intelligences so that all children can experience success.
Lev Vygotsky's work articulates the importance of social interaction for learning to take place. Additionally, educators from the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy emphasize the importance of providing opportunities for creativity and for documenting children's ideas in a variety of different ways.
Each of these theoretical perspectives inform the decisions made at the Child Development Centers as teachers develop curriculum to meet the developmental and educational needs of each unique child.
Child Development Center
University of Rhode Island
10 Lower College Road
Kingston, RI 02881