UCSB Early Childhood Care & Education Services

Philosophy

Philosophy

Early Childhood Care and Education Services provide aquality child care program for student, staff and faculty families within theUniversity community. Our hope is to be a significant source of support foreach family while providing a caring learning environment for each child. Thegoals of the program strongly reflect an abiding sense of respect for children,their unique cultures and individual development.

With infants and toddlers, we work to provide an environment ashome like as possible – warm and welcoming, cozy spaces, photos of family, andso on. In their classrooms, infants develop intimate relationships with astable caregiver. Caregiving activities such as feeding and diapering are warm,consistent and individualized. These routines are viewed as opportunities forchildren to receive undivided adult attention and to promote language, selfawareness and social skills. The infants' pre-existing patterns for feeding andsleeping are respected and incorporated into the child's routine at the Center.Consistency in routines and schedules allow children to anticipate what iscoming next, thus transitions are predictable.

The preschool classrooms are composed of children 3 years to 5years of age. These multi-age groupings exemplify the program's commitmentto provide experiences that enhance the development of each child's whole self:creative, intellectual, physical, social and emotional. As each of these facetsdevelops at different rates, the children seek activities and experiences thatmeet their individual needs. In addition, children with different knowledge andabilities stimulate one another's thinking and encourage prosocial behaviorsamongst themselves. But, perhaps most importantly, this enables families,children and teachers the chance to build strong and consistent relationshipswith one another.

All of the classroom environments offer a rich variety ofspaces, material and activities organized to promote children's activeexploration and mastery. Although classrooms often appear informal, they arethe result of careful planning and structuring to ensure that the needs of eachchild are met in a supportive and nurturing way. Our teachers encouragecuriosity and enthusiasm for learning, promote cooperative social interactions,support individual creativity and diversity and provide opportunities forchildren to use their growing bodies to develop a sense of autonomy and selfworth. Children spend the majority of their day involved in a variety ofactivities: art, block building, dramatic play, music, sorting and matchinggames, listening to stories, movement activities, science activities and largemotor play.

Because we wish the program to be an extension of a child'sfamily life, we offer a variety of ways for parents to become involved inchildren’s classroom experience and in Center concerns. Conferences arescheduled at least twice a year, or more frequently at parent or teacherrequest. Parents are invited to share in their child's daily activities, tovolunteer for field trips, special events or to just come in for a visit.The program plans several social events, parent meetings and work partieseach year. In addition, all parents are members of the Parent Council thatmeets monthly.