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              GCS Explorers Playgroup Syllabus



SCHOOL: Overbrook CDC                                           TEACHER: Bridget Foley    

              I.      Explorers Playgroups Program Goal


            The overall goal of Explorers Playgroups is to provide individual and group instruction which meets the needs of each child, as identified in their IEPs.  Appropriate, intellectually challenging learning opportunities are planned to promote student growth in the developmental areas of: activities of daily living, cognition, communication, motor, and social/emotional development.

Much of children’s learning takes place when they direct their own play activities.  During play, children feel successful when they engage in a task they have defined for themselves…Children need years of play with real objects and events before they are able to understand the meaning of symbols…Learning takes place as young children touch, manipulate, and experiment with things and interact with people…The child’s participation in self-directed play with concrete, real-life experiences continues to be a key to motivated, meaningful learning in Kindergarten and the primary grades.  (Developmentally Appropriate Practice Guidelines, 1986)

Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as promoting language, cognition, and social competence…Children of all ages love to play, and it gives them opportunities to explore the world, interact with others, express and control emotions, develop their symbolic and problem-solving abilities, and practice emerging skills.  Research shows the links between play and foundational capacities such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, social skills, and success in school.  (Developmentally Appropriate Practice Guidelines, 2008)

Valued content is learned through investigation, play, and focused, intentional teaching.  Children learn by exploring, thinking about, and inquiring about all sorts of phenomena.  These experiences help children investigate “big ideas”, those that are important at any age and are connected to later learning.  Pedagogy or teaching strategies are tailored to children’s ages, developmental capacities, language and culture, and abilities or disabilities.  (NAEYC-NAECS/SDE Position Statement on Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation, 2003)


            II.      Daily Schedule



A/C (8:30-10)

B/D (10:30-12)

Arrival/Table Time



Circle Time



Play/Work Time



Snack Time



Story Time





          III.      Descriptions of Students Being Taught

           Children served in Explorers Playgroups have Individualized Education Programs developed to meet their specific needs.  Typical Peers are included, as models of typical development.


         IV.      Grade Level Standards in Each Subject

·         AEPS (Assessment, Evaluation and Programming System for infants and Children)

·         Good Start, Grow Smart (3K standards)

·         Individualized Education Programs


           V.      Units of Instruction are aligned with standards and IEP goals.


         VI.      Instructional Materials and Resources

            Explorers Playgroups actively involve children in learning experiences consistent with their development, and help children acquire a strong foundation for future learning.  A basic list of materials is attached.  Additional materials are rotated into the classroom as appropriate for specific themes and/or projects.

  • Individualized Education Programs
  • AEPS (Assessment, Evaluation and Programming System for infants and Children)
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Everyday Math  Counts
  • Manipulatives that support development across all domains (play-do, clay, scissors, crayons, paint, puzzles, legos, blocks, balls, scooters, books, puppets, etc)
  • Outdoors: playground, garden, nature trail


       VII.      Assessment/Evaluation of Student Progress

            Sources for assessment:

·         Anecdotal records based on teacher observation and checklists

·         Documentation of progress made toward IEP goals

·         Student Folders/work samples

·         Documentation of student progress:

       IEP Progress Reports

       AEPS Reports


     VIII.      Home/School Connections

            Parents are provided with suggestions and activities to support children’s           learning in an on-going basis.  Family members are invited to be part of our          community of learners through a variety of ways that may include sharing                       special skills and talents relating to jobs or hobbies, serving as classroom      volunteers, assisting with special activities, collecting materials for classrooms,   and attending parent education workshops.

   Parent participation in the development of Individualized Education Programs is               strongly encouraged.  You will receive advance notification of all IEP meetings             for your child.


         IX.      Communication with Parents

            The Explorers Playgroups program supports the development of children as         lifelong learners through partnerships with each child’s home and family.  Parents   will have the opportunity to participate in parent conferences, IEP meetings and             home visits throughout the school year and are encouraged to call the teacher       and/or send a note with questions and concerns.  Each family receives:

·         classroom rules and procedures

·         student work samples

·         monthly newsletters describing class and school activities.  This information is also included on the teacher’s website:


           X.      Attendance and Tardy Policies

            Every learning day is important.  Regular, prompt attendance helps young          children build a lifetime of good school habits.  Families will be contacted    when attendance or late arrival affects student learning. 


         XI.      Building Responsible and Respectful Behavior

   The Explorers Playgroup program goals build self-discipline, respect for others, and develop individual responsibility.  Clear and consistent expectations and routines provide a framework for responsible student behavior.  Three to five simple classroom rules are developed with students in the first days of school.  Individual and small group problem solving is used as the primary method for resolving conflicts.   

            Classroom Rules:

1.      listen

2.      walk

3.      share


       XII.      Procedures for Non-Instructional Routines

·         Please notify me immediately if you have a change of address or phone number.  It is important for me to be able to contact you.

·         The children should wear shoes that they can be active in (flip-flops and crocks are not recommended)