Almost all aspects of a child’s development can be enhanced using blocks. Our blocks are designed in mathematical units, so they aid in developing a concrete understanding of concepts essential to logical thinking. Awareness of sizes, shapes, numbers, order, area, length, and weight grows as the children select, build with, and put away blocks. The child’s physical development of both large and small muscles is enhanced. Language, aesthetics, and social development grow, along with problem-solving skills, cooperation, and respect for others and their work.
Image-making helps children process life experiences and fantasies. It heightens their aesthetic awareness and sensitivity to beauty. The artistic process generates many opportunities for problem-solving, creative, critical, and, especially, intuitive thinking and developing decision-making skills. Manipulative, pre-writing, reading, and social skills are enhanced as children code and decode the world around them through their creations. There is little better chance for growth.
Open Door School teachers:
- Give children no pre-direction, modeling, or expectation regarding the finished product or use of materials.
- Respect the right of children to discard what they have made.
- Recognize and accept age and child-appropriate skills.
- Change plans at the children’s suggestions.
- Observe children to identify and meet their needs and let them go about their discoveries peacefully.
Books are the traditional backbone of learning. The primary goal at Open Door School is to teach the children to develop a love of books and reading them, a wealth of vocabulary building, and the evolution of communication skills. As with all our teaching materials, the books at Open Door have been chosen for their quality and developmental appropriateness.
In dramatic play, children take their experiences with people and things, combine them with their thoughts and feelings about those experiences, and develop new ideas.
Role-playing is an extraordinary creative outlet that allows children to try out new ideas in a safe environment, work out emotions, and share experiences. It promotes interaction with peers and aids in developing vocabulary and social skills.
Manipulatives promote versatility and creativity and provide opportunities for learning in several areas at once, including math, physics, spatial relations, verbal and social growth, problem-solving, decision-making, small and large muscle coordination, aesthetics, and imagination.
Music & Movement
Music and rhythmic movement are a natural part of all cultures, so we include them in many aspects of our classrooms. Music in the classroom encompasses singing, listening, instrument use, and creative movement. It allows children to express their moods, assimilate information, and develop language.
The significant difference between indoor and outdoor play is more space, freedom, movement, noise, and different construction materials – mainly sand and dirt. We see the playgrounds as outdoor classrooms where progressive education is still practiced.
Play Dough & Clay
Playdough and clay are three-dimensional art forms that children of various ages can easily use. Pounding, smashing, and pulling apart clay and play dough can allow children to vent intense emotions.
Sand & Water
Sand and water are naturally soothing substances. Children have a powerful desire to explore these media, providing them with sensory stimulation and opportunities for scientific discovery. They develop cognitive and observation skills while determining how adding water to sand changes its weight, texture, and cohesive properties, why particular objects sink in water, and how others float.
Woodworking uses various skills, tools, and materials, and the opportunity for unstructured conceptual learning is almost unlimited. Mathematics and fundamental laws of physics are part of measuring, fitting, balancing, and use of force. Practice in coordination is constant. Decision-making and planning are a large part of the experience.