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The NIST CCC is designed to provide a developmentally appropriate program for children ages 18 months through kindergarten age. There is general agreement among experts that a good program for young children must be developmentally appropriate, but what exactly does this mean? According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), this means that the quality of the program is defined in large measure by the extent to which the environment, activities, and interactions are rooted in the teacher’s understanding of developmental stages and knowledge of each child. The decisions teachers make in planning the curriculum and in reacting spontaneously to what happens each day are based on knowledge of typical child development and what is known about each child’s interests, abilities, needs and background.
At the NIST CCC, we know and understand that children learn best through play. Play is the serious work of the young child. We value and encourage play, knowing how central it is to a child’s development. Young children learn best by “doing”. Learning requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in. Our carefully prepared environment provides the child with the opportunity to learn “hands-on”, moving from the concrete to more abstract concept development. Our program is designed to stimulate and challenge the child to try new roles, experiment with ideas and materials and solve real problems. It is the process rather than the product, the means rather than the end, and the availability of opportunities in which each child can experience success which are emphasized.
The NIST Child Care Center provides a warm and supportive environment that provides opportunity and challenge, and individual success and growth.