We strongly believe children grow and develop best in an atmosphere where they are encouraged to explore, take safe risks, try multiple solutions to problems and interact with peers. Our classrooms are based on learning centers with carefully chosen areas available for children to explore. Basic centers in each room are:
Puzzles, pegboards, beads, Duplos, building materials, etc.
This area helps children develop and practice small motor skills, eye-hand coordination and sorting and patterning skills essential for math and reading.
The dress-up or "house" area is one of the most vital and best-loved areas by children.
It encourages the development of the social skills and language of sharing, working together towards a common goal, bartering and delegating. The practicing of and experimenting with social and gender roles also occurs.
Block usage encompasses more than "just building."
This area promotes skill development, language, math concepts (comparing sizes, weights, elements of gravity/balance) and a host of socialization skills, including cooperation, sharing ideas and being appropriately assertive. Children are very creative in this area!
Both the library and writing center help children develop basic academic skills related to acquisition of reading and writing.
They gain knowledge by handling books, reading left to right, exploring meaning of words and learn concepts of storytelling. Most importantly, children develop a love for reading.
The writing center encourages the practice of written language skills of letter recognition and formation. It allows children to experiment with known letters or words and those just learned.
Environments rich in written language and exposure to books are great predictors of strong readers and writers.
The art area allows children free access to materials without a great deal of intervention or teacher direction.
Children experiment with a wide variety of mediums with freedom to interpret creatively and individually. They practice and refine small and large motor skills, develop basic concepts like color, shape and size, and practice socialization skills.
Children's Center art is very hands-on and can be messy! Projects are child directed, made and interpreted by the children – not the teachers – and reflect their unique creative processes.
The Play-Doh table offers opportunities for both large and small muscle development with pinching, squeezing and rolling.
Play-Doh also has great imaginative qualities, offers sensory experiences and encourages a great deal of social interactions.
In addition to sand and water, we also use rice, flour, beans, peas, cornstarch and other interesting textures in this table.
Besides tactile and sensory exposure, these areas almost always require that children work together, which involves inventing elaborate role-playing scenarios.
One of our best-loved areas! The outdoors offers an area most free from restrictions and with the greatest opportunities for unlimited play.
Children engage exuberantly with each other in "pretend I'm the ..." play, practice large motor skills, socialize and engage in interesting natural experiences.
Classrooms are staffed with two full-time teachers and a part time assistant and maintains a ratio of four infants to one adult. The maximum group size is eight infants. The curriculum in the infant room revolves around the child's routine: eating, sleeping, diapering and sensory motor exploration.
Our philosophy on infant care is based on best practices outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. According to NAEYC we learn more about the incredible capacities of infants every day. Babies react to noise, changes in lighting, and new people — proof that they are very aware from the very beginning of sights, sounds and others in their lives.
Caring for infants on a day-to-day basis presents special challenges and opportunities to promote children's learning and allow families to thrive. Centers should ensure children's safety and comfort, but also foster infants' physical, sensory, social, emotional and intellectual development. Good caregiving means more and stronger connections are made in the infant's brain — connections that last a lifetime.
Classrooms are staffed with two full-time teachers and a part time assistant and maintains a ratio of five children to one adult. The maximum group size is nine toddlers. Curriculum for this age group also revolves around the children's routine: eating, sleeping and diapering with expanded sensory motor exploration and more complex play.
Toddlers are stepping out — out of baby booties and into walking shoes, out of infancy and into childhood. At this stage all areas of development — thinking, feeling, moving and getting along with others — are intertwined. Newly mobile toddlers want to take off in every direction at once and experience every sensation the world has to offer. Toddlers also need to feel safe and secure so they can develop a love of learning.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children says that relationships with caring adults give toddlers the confidence to experiment as they grow.
Two and Three Years Old
Young preschool classes are staffed with two full-time teachers and a part time assistant. A ratio of six children to one adult is maintained with a group size of 11 children. According to The National Association for the Education of Young Children, “the goal of a good program for this age is to help them develop into individuals who can sustain themselves, feel good about themselves, and grow up to be productive members of society. Curriculum starts from the very beginning… with a program that provides safe, challenging, and meaningful materials for children's learning.”
Four and Five Years Old
Our Older Preschool Classes are staffed with two full-time teachers and a part time assistant and maintains a ratio of nine children to one adult with a group size of up to a max of 16. In older preschool classroom, the curriculum begins to expand and is based on children's interests and teacher observations.
Center philosophy is based on best practices outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and emphasizes “they learn best when … they feel safe and secure in their environment … they learn what is meaningful to them …they are given opportunities to learn and develop through exploration and play.
The North Idaho College Children’s Center and the North Idaho College Head Start are committed to a partnership which will provide a strong school-readiness foundation for shared families. The partnership will serve a limited number of Head Start families at the NIC Children’s Center who meet the Children’s Center eligibility requirements as well as the Head Stat eligibility requirements. It is the intent of both programs to provide seamless education services to the children of families of North Idaho College.
If a child is selected for a Head Start slot, the parents/guardians must ensure that the child is in attendance during the specified Head Start slot (Monday through Friday 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.), which is provided at no cost to the family. If the parent/guardian chooses care outside the Head Start hours/days, they will be charged at a half day rate, which is subject to all applicable billing policies and procedures (see payment and fee section). If a Head Start parent/guardian either withdraws from classes or drops down below six credits, the child may stay enrolled at the Children’s Center during Head Start hours only (i.e. no extended care hours) until a slot at their community Head Start is available.
Visit the North Idaho College Head Start page for more information about Head Start.