Washington State Early Learning and Development Benchmarks
It is without a doubt that the early years are the most extraordinary period of growth and development in a child’s life. In the early years children totally depend on adults, and now we know how important adults are and what difference can they make in children's’ lives.
Since there is no single, universal theory of child’s development, Benchmarks that we use as guidelines in our curriculum, bring together different theoretical perspectives with established scientific research. The Benchmarks emphasize that young children’s learning is multi-dimensional, because young children grow physically, emotionally, socially, linguistically and cognitively at the same time and one area of development influences the other. The Benchmarks serve as a source document and statements that reflect expectations for children’s knowledge and behaviour, while taking into consideration socio-economic, cultural, racial, linguistic, ethnic and gender variations. The Benchmarks represent the rich cultural heritage and knowledge of children and families in the UAE. In addition, the efforts have been made to include the unique learning needs of children with disabilities.
Structure and Content of the Benchmarks
- Physical Well-Being, Health, and Motor Development
The domain covers children’s physical health and ability to engage in daily activities.
- Social and Emotional Development
This domain addresses the emotional competence and ability to form positive relationships that give meaning to children’s experiences in the home, school, and larger community.
- Approaches Toward Learning
This domain refers to to a child’s disposition, rather than skill for learning.
- Cognition and General Knowledge
The domain includes children’s ability to understand and think about the physical and social worlds. The focus is mainly on the logic, mathematical knowledge, knowledge of social conventions and appreciation of arts and the world around them.
- Language, Literacy and Communication
This domain covers the understanding and use of language, emerging reading and writing skills and ability to communicate effectively.
Age Grouping and How Children Learn as they Grow
All the classes at the Odyssey nurseries are developmentally appropriate classrooms. The developmentally appropriate classroom is a carefully planned room where children can initiate learning. It is a place that meets the needs of the children and provides materials that are age appropriate, individually appropriate, and culturally appropriate.
We know that children learn best through hands-on experiences. Our monthly themes are fun-filled activities that target each developmental domain. Each activity provides children with the confidence needed to grow both cognitively and socially. Classrooms have prepared centers to explore a different theme every day.
Youngest babies at Odyssey are encouraged to mimic numerous actions such as the sounds of animals, moving vehicles, saying good morning and good-bye.
Infants are discovering what is inside of the treasure sensory baskets filled with everyday items like bubble wrap, aluminum foil, newspaper, sponges, soft and hard wooden items, which helps them to refine their tactical senses, so important for the brain connections and overall development.
Older children tend to become more independent with high self-esteem. Our nursery school curriculum supports their confidence by providing activities to help three- and four-year-olds to become problem solvers and develop the love for a lifelong learning.
Through independent investigation, structured and child-led activities and hands-on learning, children will improve variety of skills and knowledge in areas such as early literacy, mathematics, science, languages, communication and social skills.