The educational program at Crossroads is a traditional, child centered, developmentally oriented program. Our goals are to provide a caring and safe environment in which each child can develop a strong sense of self-worth, creativity, and curiosity about the environment and to enable him/her to interact successfully and comfortably with peers and teachers. In our particular situation, this often includes assistance in adapting to a new community and, many times, to a new language. Our program is flexible and geared to the needs and interests of the children. We believe that the work of children is play and that the work of children has value not only for the results we see but for the learning that occurs within that can not be readily measured. We strive to foster in each child a sense of self respect as well as a sense of respect and concern for others.
The school morning for the toddlers and pre-schoolers is divided into three parts. We begin the day with an indoor period in which the child may choose freely from a selection of materials, such as paints, clay, collage, books, blocks, dolls, sand, puzzles, carpentry, etc. or perhaps participate in some special project. The choices will vary in the different age groups depending on what is developmentally appropriate. At mid-morning children and teachers share a pick-up time and snack, followed by a quiet time of rest, music and stories. During the latter part of the morning, the children play outside to exercise large muscles on slides, climbing bars, wheel toys, etc. The play area for the pre-school is separate from that of the younger children and the equipment is age appropriate. Walks are often taken to nearby woods and fields to take advantage of the beautiful and rich natural environment of the Institute surroundings. At noon children wash hands and have lunch. After lunch the pre-school children often go back out to play till the children from the morning program leave for home.
After toileting or diapering a period of quiet/rest/nap is taken. For the rest of the afternoon the children are involved in a variety of activities or projects indoor or out. For the pre-school group, the afternoons and the days that the pre-school is not in regular session are less structured and the activities more directed by the children's' interests. This time is meant to be a distinct change of pace from the regular school day and the group being smaller and of mixed age will have much more of a family feeling.
The infants' days will be structured around the schedules and abilities of the children and will change throughout the year as the group "grows up." Some of the older infants may join in some of the toddlers' activities as they become appropriate for their growing skills. Likewise some of the afternoon activities of the toddler and pre-school groups may be joined when appropriate. Both the infant and toddler groups take frequent outings in the strollers, providing for a time of relaxation, fresh air, and often for the youngest, a nap.