VISIONS FOR CHILDREN CURRICULUM INTRODUCTION

Program Goals

The philosophy of Visions for Children is drawn from Black Children: Their Roots, Culture and Learning Styles by Janice-Hale Benson, (The Johns Hopkins University Press, (1986).

Early childhood educators commonly accept that preschool environments should be as homelike as possible. However, because many social scientists regard the Black home as pathological, this principle is often not applied to preschool programs designed for Black children. Every attempt should be made to incorporate key features of the Black child’s home into the preschool learning environment. The intent is to create a learning environment that complements the culture of the home.

The emphasis of this program is to make a child happy and comfortable in school. In other words, our primary goal is to help the child enjoy learning – not simply prepare him for the public schools. The philosophy of this model is that the purpose of preschool education is to provide the child with planned group experiences that will enrich his background and enhance his or her readiness for formal instruction in the elementary school. The function of early education is not to push the content of first grade downward into earlier and earlier age levels. Therefore, the overall orientation will be to expose children to a wide range of experiences. The curriculum will be balanced so that Afro-American culture is explored and legitimated at the same time that the children are taught about Euro-American and other cultures. Although the curriculum content will be broad, basic areas will be emphasized in this model:

A FRAMEWORK FOR CREATIVE MOVEMENT

Understanding the different aspects of movement enables you to plan and guide activities that are purposeful. These develop children’s awareness and skill and help them to become confident, creative movers—people who can use their bodies in expressive ways and who know a range of ways to express ideas and feelings through body movement.

In order for the body to be an effective medium for expression, children need to develop body awareness: where they are in space, the shapes they can create, the ways they can travel from one place to another, called locomotor movement, and the ways they can move while staying in the same place, or nonlocomotor movement. Among the most difficult skills for children to develop is the ability to move one part of the body while keeping the rest still, called body isolation.

All movement takes place in space, uses time, and involves force. These are the elements of movement. The space, in which we move, includes direction (forward, backward, sideways) and level (high, middle, low). Time concerns the tempo or speed of the movement, and force, the amount of energy used.

Personal space is the space right around you, defined by your presence. General space is used by the whole group. Activities can help children to use all of their personal space—up high, down low, to the side, in back—and to learn to share the general space. As you guide creative movement activities, you should include suggestions that encourage children to move at different speeds and levels without touching or bumping anyone else. Boundaries (for example, a chalked circle) can define the space for children to move within and around. Space may be filled in different ways while children stay in one place. Images motivate and encourage children to use space in diverse ways.