Our primary focus is enhancing oral language, cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool-age children, while educating and modeling for parents how to be their child’s first teacher and advocate. At The Learning Collaborative, we provide content-rich, developmentally appropriate curriculum and assessments along with continuing education and professional development for our teachers and staff.
Curriculum revolves around research-based strategies (High/Scope, Opening the World of Learning, Developing Emergent Literacy) for improving oral language and literacy development among young children. We have a 22 year record validating the accomplishments of the children and families during their time with us. We continually strive to add depth to our program.
The curriculum for our children is focused, dynamic and results-oriented. The High/Scope curriculum, developed by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, Michigan, endeavors to improve the educational and life chances of children and youth. The High/Scope educational approach is a set of guiding principles and practices that adults, including teachers, parents and staff, follow as they work with and care for children. “Active learning” — the belief that children learn best through active experiences with people, materials, events and ideas, rather than through direct teaching or sequenced exercises — is a central tenet of the High/Scope approach. For more information, visit http://www.highscope.org.
The Learning Collaborative is an NC Pre-Kindergarten program site. We currently have one NC Pre-K class. Initiated by Governor Mike Easley, NC Pre-K is a voluntary pre-kindergarten program designed to prepare at risk four-year-old in North Carolina for success in school. High quality childcare centers partner to provide a developmentally appropriate curriculum and structured environment for students.
To be eligible for the NC Pre-K program, children must:
• Be four years old by August 31st and be eligible for kindergarten the following year.
• Be a resident of Mecklenburg County
• Meet the income requirements as set by the state of North Carolina. Children of active duty military families are also eligible.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Pre-Kindergarten Programs provide a rich, child-centered, literacy-focused program that incorporates and encourages parent involvement. We invite parent involvement through:
• Home Visits
• Parent Orientations
• Parent – Teacher Conferences
• Classroom Visits
• Parent Workshops and Training
• Family Reading program
The CMS Pre-Kindergarten curriculum, Opening the World of Learning (OWL), incorporates all domains of learning, including social-emotional, cognitive, language, communication and physical development. This comprehensive curriculum integrates language and literacy skills through rich content in social studies and science, favorite children’s books, non-fiction books, songs, and poems.
The language skills in the OWL curriculum include conversation (speaking and listening), vocabulary development, book and print awareness, phonemic awareness, letter identification and writing. Integrated mathematics skills include number sense, numeration, spatial sense, measurement, geometry, and patterns. Science and social studies and the arts are woven throughout the day.
The OWL curriculum provides the tools to implement six thematically organized units, Family, Friends, Wind and Water, the World of Color, Shadows and Reflections, and Things That Grow. The content of each unit is built around a carefully crafted, active daily routine. The O.W.L schedule includes a “Morning Meeting”, center time, story time, “Songs, Word Play and Letters,” small groups, and “Let’s Find Out About It.” Activities within these components are designed to encourage conversations, social skills and concept knowledge. In addition to language, literacy and math skills, participation in Pre-Kindergarten fosters the development of the whole child.
Developing Emergent Literacy
The average three-year-old who enters The Learning Collaborative scores in the 25th percentile in the area of language on developmental tests. By the time children graduate from TLC’s four-year-old program, the average developmental score increases to the 75th percentile. Despite this success, some children still fail to make progress once they enter the school system; tests show that their language proficiency decreases each year. The effects of even an excellent preschool education appear to diminish over time as the students progress through school.
To address this regression, The Learning Collaborative uses the Developing Emergent Literacy curriculum. This program strengthens the child’s preschool experience in the area of emerging literacy skills by giving the child an “edge” in language and literacy. Developing Emergent Literacy allows the Preschool Cooperative to employ an on-site Speech and Language Pathologist in the following capacities:
• as a consultant to the teachers,
• as a literacy therapist to individual children,
• as a vehicle to adapt and deliver the literacy curriculum within the home,
• as an assistant to our Parent Educator, providing literacy-based programs and services for parents,
• and as a facilitator who conducts developmental testing for children.
The specific beneficiary of Developing Emergent Literacy is the child who is empowered to be successful in school and in life through early literacy intervention. In the bigger picture, the entire community benefits by building up of its most precious resources, its children and families.