Curriculum at Turtle Rock

The Turtle Rock approach emphasizes curiosity, creativity and hands-on learning.  We embrace a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.

Our curriculum is time-tested, unique to Turtle Rock, and crafted by our own Curriculum Director.  This customized curriculum is theme-based, and draws from multiple early childhood models, particularly Reggio Emilia.  We believe this blend offers children the well-rounded experiences and skill set needed for their future academic success.

Well-organized classrooms within our Nursery and Early Childhood programs are divided into interest areas, and children have a multitude of materials available to them for various types of play.  Each day is intended to be joyful and full of discovery.  Teachers lead children through a variety of experiences and learning opportunities that balances academics and meaningful play.

We Believe in the Power of Play

Play is fun, but it is also how young children learn. Through play, they learn conflict resolution, respect, creativity, independence, and self-confidence. Rather than just passive learning, play encourages children to actively engage in their world and become mini “scientists”—exploring, manipulating, and interacting with their environment. Play allows them to investigate, create, and discover; it motivates them to take risks; and it adds to their understanding of the world.

An Academic Focus

As children move up to our Junior Pre-K and Pre-Kindergarten programs, our curriculum is both academically challenging and developmentally appropriate for the age and maturity of each child. Through discovery and exploration, our children learn that acquiring knowledge can be both challenging and fun. Children are encouraged to take intellectual risks: to ask questions, venture answers, express their imaginations, and try things out in an accepting environment.  Areas of academic importance include: early learning skills in math, language, art and science.

Social Development

Our teachers know how to engender both enthusiasm and respect for learning in children. We also know that it’s equally important that our teachers, like parents, are models for children in every circumstance. The following are some of our social modeling philosophies:

  • Children who see their teachers treating them or their classmates with understanding and respect when they make mistakes are more likely to be tolerant of the mistakes of others, and to be more willing to take risks themselves.
  • Children also learn that it is acceptable to make mistakes when they see their teachers make mistakes without losing their composure.
  • When children watch teachers cooperate with each other in running the classroom, they learn valuable lessons about the benefits of teamwork.
  • When teachers help children settle conflicts that arise on the playground or in the classroom, children pick up strategies for conflict resolution that they themselves can later apply.
  • Our students learn from teachers that their ideas are respected and valued when the teachers encourage them to make choices for themselves.
  • Enthusiasm is contagious: teachers who exhibit enthusiasm for the subject matter of their lessons are more likely to have enthusiastic students.
  • The traditions practiced in our school community also serve as an integral part of our social curriculum.

Developing The Whole Child

Along with our focus on the social and emotional well-being of children, our goal is to ensure their academic preparedness by instilling a deep love of learning and nurturing a broad set of skills and knowledge. At Turtle Rock, a love of learning, the development of skills, and the pursuit of academic excellence are deeply connected to love of school and joy of collaborative exploration.

Classrooms at all age levels are structured to include opportunities for observation, exploration, risk taking, experimentation and problem-solving. We believe these are the key elements for a child’s successful development. Our curriculum also includes many opportunities for teachers to assess the individual needs of every child. We strongly believe that academic preparedness is unique for each individual child and it is our responsibility to know them intimately as a learner.

Outdoor Experiences

Our classrooms are merely a stepping-stone into the world around us. Outdoor play is vital for young children, and we spend a significant amount of time outside at Turtle Rock. Many of the developmental tasks that children must achieve—exploring, risk-taking, fine and gross motor development and the absorption of vast amounts of basic knowledge—can be most effectively learned through outdoor play. Children need the opportunity to explore the unknown, the unpredictable, and the adventurous. From venturing off-campus for nature walks to taking advantage of our natural playground, opportunities for wonder and discovery are limitless.