The Texas Tech University Early Head Start is committed to the belief that children can develop to their highest potential in a nurturing atmosphere which fosters mutual respect and an appreciation for the uniqueness and capabilities of the individual.
Thus one of our primary goals is to provide a developmentally appropriate program that supports individuality, cultural diversity, and children with special needs.
Our center based program uses the High/Scope curriculum and our home based program uses Partners for A Healthy Baby, both are widely recognized successful approaches to early education. Children are encouraged to be "active learners," and are given daily opportunities to decide what they want to do. The High Scope's premise is that children learn best from experiences when they plan and carry out themselves. Thus the role of the teacher is to build upon each child's existing strengths and accomplishments, using his or her choice of activities as the springboard for further development. Partners for a Healthy Baby Home Visiting Curriculum's vision is that parents will be their child's first teacher and children are born learners.
Through individual, small-group, and large group experiences, teachers initiate activities designed to meet the needs of every child involved, with an emphasis on facilitating the development of the total child—physical, social, emotional, and cognitive. Learning through play, through exploring the environment, and through interacting with others are essential components. Children progress at their own pace as they are supported and encouraged to participate in both child-selected and adult-initiated activities. In order to further the children's knowledge, these experiences are usually incorporated into weekly thematic units appropriate to the needs of and interest of the children.
Developmentally Appropriate: Learning experiences geared to child's skills, interests, maturation level, and chronological age; the "goodness of fit" between the child and curriculum activities.
Goals for infants and toddlers enrolled in the Texas Tech University Early Head Start program are stated in the Head Start Performance Standards 1304.21.
Each child is unique and no one child can be treated exactly as any other child.
Plans for children's experiences must be based on the individual child's routines, temperament, interests, abilities, culture, and developmental assessments.
Goals are set in each of the following areas:
- Foster a positive self-concept
- Develop social skills
- Encourage physical development
- Encourage language and communication
- Encourage thinking, reasoning, and questioning
- Encourage and demonstrate health, safety, and nutritional practices
- Encourage early literacy
- Encourage emergent math
- Encourage creative expression