Your child’s learning experience

St. John Lutheran Church responds to her mission, “Proclaim and Practice the Love of Christ” through St. John Child Development Center.

In this setting, it is our practice to tie the goals and objectives directly to our mission statement.  It is best accomplished by a curriculum which is Christ-centered, developmentally appropriate and which leads children and families to witness the gospel message.

St. John Child Development Center recognizes parents as their child’s primary and most influential teacher by responding as a partner for parents of our community in caring for their young children.

A Multi-faceted Curriculum

Formative years, birth through 5 years.

We believe that all children are competent and capable learners.  Each of us, as children of God, have been uniquely gifted.  Each child will grow, develop and achieve at different rates.  When children are exposed to purposefully planned environments, (both at home and at school), which support and respond to their needs, they become better equipped for the demands of formal education regardless of differing learning abilities.

Goals and objectives are individualized.

St. John Child Development Center uses the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Birth-5 Year Olds as a framework, rather than a rating scale, for individualizing, planning and evaluating programs for young children.

During the home visit at the beginning of the year, broad goals for group development will be shared with the parent.  At the first parent teacher visit, the child’s teacher will have identified at least one objective which has been met and one which is developing for each child.   At the second parent teacher visit, the child’s progress in meeting group goals will be discussed and used to support the child as s/he enters the next level of preschool learning, or enrollment in kindergarten. In this way children’s abilities are respected and celebrated both individually and collectively.

In order for the curriculum to be effective, there must be a plan for implementation.

While spiritual development is at the heart of the curriculum, the child’s social, emotional, aesthetic, physical and intellectual development cannot be separated.  The curriculum is a contemporary and eclectic collection of early childhood approaches which, when practiced, honors Christ-centered teaching.

The Child Development Center uses the following curriculum, approaches and practice:

  • Little Lambs – Bible based themes for toddler children
  • Voyages –  Integrated, Bible based curriculum for 3-5 year olds
  • Project Work – In-depth study evolving from the child’s interest as a segment of the learning environment
  • Theme-Based Teaching – Prompts child-directed learning and integrates strands of curriculum
  • Creative Curriculum – Coordinates learning centers, assessment, and how children learn
  • Reggio Emilia – An approach which promotes emergent learning, considers the environment as a teacher, values family involvement, and guides documentation of children’s progress

Children must be immersed in an environment rich in discovery.

Adults support the child as protagonist, (Reggio Emilia), by preparing an environment which is built on information the children already know and provide new information which supports their curiosities.  Children are not left to discover aimlessly, rather, intentionally as the teacher provides for in-depth and dynamic connections into other areas of development.  Consequently, the responsibility for learning becomes shared.  Planning becomes a rich blend of themes and project work .

Parent awareness and support of the program goals enriches the learning experience.

By establishing curriculum goals, teachers are better able to make good decisions about the classroom environment and activities, and along with parents, sound decisions for individual children.   Parents share their expertise with children in the classroom as a means by which children collect knowledge about an area of special interest.

Teacher Training and Assessment

Teachers meet regularly to review children’s group and individual responses to the curriculum goals.  This collaborative study is supported by on-going support through professional training so that best practices for young children continue to be integrated into the learning program.  In this way the program is continually being evaluated for appropriateness and effectiveness.

Child Assessment: The Child, Parent, Teacher Team

Twice each year, teachers and parents have the opportunity to meet to discuss their child’s early childhood experience. Parents are given opportunities to be active in their child’s program through written communication, parent and parenting events, and as experts in the classroom.