In the United States, there are many different methods for teaching young children. Specifically in Texas, the large day care chains and the many diverse Montessori Schools, schedule activities which are Teacher-Centered and rigid. A “Teacher-Centered” classroom has a daily activity schedule that is fixed. All aspects of the day and curriculum are taught systematically. At many well known schools, the teachers do not create lesson plans. In fact, they are just handed their plan each week. While the schools may sell this as a positive aspect to their program, at Creative Minds, we do not believe that learning is “cookie cutter”. Teaching, especially for young children, must be flexible and adaptable. “Cookie Cutter” curriculums that are the same for every age, at every school, in every city, do not take into consideration the uniqueness of every single child. A portion of the children will adapt to the rigid curriculum, and the others will be bored, uninterested, and disconnected, leading to behavior problems and emotional outbursts. The teachers get overwhelmed, the parents get frustrated and the child feels like a failure. At Creative Minds, we meet children where they are and customize each child’s experience to their wants and needs. By no means is our approach a “free for all” classroom. Children know the boundaries and expectations, and because they feel empowered and important, they quickly adjust to the Creative Mind’s setting.
At Creative MInds, our method is very different. Following the Waldorf approach, our teachers are given large blocks of time with the students without set start and stop times. During the 2 to 3 hour time blocks, the class will be involved in large group play, individual play, project based learning, social skills, music, art, and active play . The teachers will guide the children seamlessly through the different activities by making connections, building excitement and developing an environment that is child centered. While the teachers have objectives and goals for the children each day, these are fluid, not fixed, and will change based on the direction the children are wanting to go. For example, the theme for the week is fire safety. The children have been given the opportunity to create and practice fire safety skills in the classroom. A fireman and firetruck has come to the school and several books have been read. Through discussion among the children, they decide to create a fire station in the classroom. Under the teacher’s guidance, the children decide on the roles, start planning what it will look like, and they divide up to make it happen. As a facilitator, the teacher continues to guide the children, but because the children are learning, communicating, writing, planning, and more, at Creative Minds, the teacher will not intervene and interrupt the learning process.