Curriculum

respecting early childhood development as a foundation for learning

The curriculum at Little Dolphins By the Sea is unique among Los Angeles preschools. Each month, the entire school focuses on a different world culture: North America, Europe, Native America, Asia, Africa, India, and Latin America. Through exposure to authentic artifacts, materials, foods, texts, dances, and songs, students have profound cultural encounters, culminating in a school-wide festival where the children share their work with their parents and the larger community.

MINDFULNESS

As we facilitate children’s appreciation of global cultures, we integrate a mindfulness curriculum, helping students explore their autonomy and individuality, exercise self control, discover intrinsic motivations, work with enthusiasm and non-attachment to outcomes, and learn to collaborate with their peers. Through storytelling, we explore universal values, and connect literature to other areas of the curriculum, such as visual art, music, and theater. Each child learns respect for their own and their classmates’ art along the path of their own self-discovery.

Our curriculum is based on all of the following principles( condensed from The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Reaching Potentials: Appropriate Curriculum and Assessment for Young Children, Vol. 1.)

Promote interactive learning and encourage the child's construction of knowledge.

Encourage active learning and allow children to make meaningful choices.

Foster children's exploration and inquiry, rather than focusing on "right" answers and "right" ways to complete a task.

Lead to conceptual understanding by helping children construct their own understanding in meaningful contexts.

Embody educational expectations in children that are realistic and attainable at this time, rather than push skills and knowledge that are more easily and efficiently acquired at a later time.

Encourage development of positive feelings and dispositions toward learning while leading to acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Help achieve social, emotional, physical, and cognitive goals.

Promote democratic values.

Promote and encourage social interaction among children and adults.

Mindfulness: We are deeply committed to encouraging individual and personal growth through:

Self-consciousness, Autonomy: Children are establishing a strong sense of individuality (especially following potty-training), discovering feelings and relating experiences to "me".

Self-control: The beginnings of "social" relations, praise for respecting the same needs in others as a result of problem solving.

Motivation: Initiative vs. guilt, exploring and accomplishing tasks with optimism, eliminate expectations by enthusiasm.

Social Ability: Enjoy working with peers and benefiting from it in the long run.

Concentration on the development of these attributes is done through:

Teaching non-violent means of problem solving.

Creating and implementing a dynamic curriculum that showcases the fine arts.

Creating a safe and nurturing environment.

Focusing attention on the arts for the purpose of instilling in children a sense of their own special creative powers.

Going the extra mile to provide a quality learning environment in which to create.

Exploring the diversity of our world.

Giving something back to the community.

Searching for excellence.

Strengthening the power of family relationships.

Having fun.

Creating art.

Using Bilingual Education via language-in-action.

Supporting children helping children.

We achieve the above commitments by:

Using real images, photographs and authentic artifacts as visual displays.

Using nature and the materials it provides for art projects and productions.

Providing quality materials for art creation.

Incorporating similar global experiences throughout the yearly curriculum, e.g. weaving drums, storytelling and dance.

Organizing the setup of projects to facilitate the ease of accomplishment.

Including the extended family in the creation, preparation and presentation of our programs.

Recognizing that intellectual maturity does not equate with emotional maturity.

Having a teacher/student ratio of 6:1 younger groups and 9:1 older groups.

Remembering that children learn approximately 50% of their knowledge by the age of 4.

Remembering that HOW children create is more important than WHAT they create.

Listening to those who have more experience.

Collaborating with professional artists and trained educators.

Having mixed-age group classes in which younger children use older children as role models and older children can help younger children.

Teaching at Little Dolphins by the Sea has been the best learning experience. I love that I can soak up information along with the kids, which makes working here even more enjoyable.

- Lauren "Lala" Joseph, "Mountain Lions" Teacher

MINDFULNESS

integrated into our curriculum through storytelling

As we facilitate children’s appreciation of global cultures, we integrate a mindfulness curriculum, helping students explore their autonomy and individuality, exercise self control, discover intrinsic motivations, work with enthusiasm and non-attachment to outcomes, and learn to collaborate with their peers. Through storytelling, we explore universal values, and connect literature to other areas of the curriculum, such as visual art, music, and theater. Each child learns respect for their own and their classmates’ art along the path of their own self-discovery.


Early childhood

recommendation list

foundational books

recommendation list

character (mindfulness)

recommendation list