Lexington Playcare Center‘s mission is to help children become good friends, proficient problem solvers, creative risk takers, and self-governing, accepting classmates. We want them to be as self-sufficient and independent as they can be based on their age and development. We respect parents and welcome them as partners and provide them with consistent and daily communication. Our community works hard to maintain a democratic, welcoming, and inclusive environment, which properly balances education and childcare. If you consistently see high staff morale, happy, curious children, involved and informed parents, then we have reached our goals!
Visitors at LPC will observe children painting, cooking, ”reading” or being read to, building with blocks, working a puzzle, climbing, jumping, sliding, running, and chatting. These activities make up our “obvious” curriculum. We carefully observe children’s play and use their interests as a springboard for units that are meaningful to young children. This “Emergent Curriculum” model absolutely makes the most of a young child’s motivation. The true or hidden curriculum at LPC involves the entire social realm. While children are exploring themes such as Pirates, Water, Food, Transportation… they are learning to share materials, teachers, space… they are learning to wait for their turn, to stand up for their rights, to understand that directions given to a group are meant for them too. They are learning to trust adults outside of their family, and that those adults can be really fun. They are learning how to ask for help, or to ask for more, or for someone to “stop that”. Our ultimate goal is for children to announce, as they have worked hard and mastered a new self-help, artistic or social task, “I did it!” Self esteem bursting out all over at LPC!
LPC’s ratios are one of the best things about our program. Toddlers are in groups of eight with two and sometimes three teachers. Preschoolers are in groups of ten, with two teachers per group. Given that the State of Massachusetts allows nine toddlers with two teachers, and twenty (yes 20!) preschoolers with two teachers, we are confident in saying LPC’s ratios are outstanding.
Our classrooms are made up of mixed-age groupings. Each of our two toddler rooms consist of 15 month olds to 3 year olds, and each of our four preschool rooms consist of 3 to 5 year old children. We love this approach for many reasons. These include that children are provided with opportunities to be both a teacher and a learner; to practice skills with younger children and once mastered, test them out on same age or older children; to observe a very wide range of behaviors thereby learning tolerance, to choose friendships from a wider range of developmental stages… The list could go on and on.
We believe that discipline is the process of teaching a child inner controls so that s/he may interact comfortably with others. The success of this “civilizing” process depends on the whole of the relationship you have with a child, the feelings of mutual trust and respect, the good modeling the adults provide, and the positive reinforcement provided.
We first do not yell across a room. Instead we get close to a child, get down on his or her level, use a calm voice with simple, positive and very concrete words so that the child is clear about our expectations. For example if a child is not sitting safely in a chair we might say “Feet on the floor please.” We then praise any small amount of progress to help them believe they can continue the expected behavior. “I LOVE the way you are sitting with your feet on the floor!” We use logical consequences when our positive approaches do not work: “You are all done in the sand area now. In a little while you can try again to play here and not throw sand.” Overall we have more strategies to help children be successful throughout their day then we could fit on this site.
We have six bright and sunny classrooms, occasional use of two large motor rooms, and an amazing “natural playground”. LPC rents this space from the Church of Our Redeemer.
Our Natural Playground was installed in 2012 after two years of planning! What is a natural playground? To help people understand this new concept we explain it this way – It is an environment designed to allow children to have organic experiences much like they would if they were lucky enough to have woods in their backyard. This type of design represents a major shift from manufactured play equipment to a design that incorporates plants, trees, and other natural elements such as logs, rocks and sand. Our playground is a magical place where children have an opportunity to interact in an organic way with our natural world. When you visit you will see a hill with a slide and a tunnel, a water pump, apple trees, blueberry and butterfly bushes, a four surface trike path, a fallen log, movable logs, a hobbit house, and so much more. It is a pleasure to watch our children play in such a wholesome, organic environment and manner!