Teaching & Learning Framework
Effective and high-quality early childhood educational programs include research and evidence-based curriculum, authentic assessment systems for children, and valid and reliable developmental screenings. The LYFE Program utilizes each of these components to support children’s continuous growth and development, as well as to strengthen family partnerships.
Curriculum — All LYFE classrooms implement The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos, a curriculum framework that promotes developmentally appropriate practices that respond to children’s strengths, interests, and needs. The curriculum supports the intentional planning and implementation of rich and meaningful learning experiences for children birth to age three, with a focus on responsive care. Teachers and educational paraprofessionals effectively balance intentional planning and facilitation with a flexibility to respond to the changing interests and/or abilities of the children in their care.
The curriculum reflects thirty-eight research-based objectives for development and learning that serve as predictors of school success. The objectives for development and learning highlight and explain the skills, knowledge, and behaviors most critical to the continuing growth, development and learning of infants and toddlers. The objectives serve as a tool to support teachers and educational paraprofessionals’ effective observation of children’s learning.
At the start of every child’s enrollment, teachers orient parents to The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos so that they are aware of the learning experiences their children will be engaged in daily, as well as to support families in extending learning at home.
Assessment — Assessment is a continuous, ongoing process that identifies children’s developmental progress. GOLD online, a researched-based assessment tool based on the 38 objectives for development and learning from The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos, is used program-wide in LYFE. GOLD enables teachers to create developmental profiles for each child. As a result, teachers are able to engage in data-driven lesson planning for both individual and groups of children. Classroom staff involve families in the assessment process by reviewing and discussing the data gathered through the use of GOLD, guiding their conversations on children’s development, as well as ways to extend learning experiences at home.
Screening — Screenings quickly capture a glimpse of a child’s developmental status. LYFE utilizes the Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) — a valid and reliable developmental screening for children from one month to 5 ½ years. It is a tool parents complete in collaboration with LYFE teachers and educational paraprofessionals, fostering and strengthening family and caregiver partnerships. Scores from the questionnaires help staff and parents identify potential concerns so that developmental delays can be prevented and/or more focused services can be provided.
Student Advocacy & Support Framework
From the time a student expresses interest in enrolling in LYFE to the time they transition out of our program, there are key processes that are critical to their success. Our student advocacy and support practices are designed to ensure that student parents have positive and effective experiences — socially and academically — at every stage of their involvement with LYFE.
To ensure student parent success, our student advocacy and support framework is based on providing student parents with interactive, strengths-based engagement practices and tools, aligned with District 79’s Social-Emotional and College/Career Readiness Learning Standards. Our licensed social workers implement student engagement practices such as facilitating weekly individual and group sessions, connecting student parents to quality referral services, and collaborating with school/community partners to ensure that our student parents stay on track toward graduation while successfully transitioning into parenthood.
The student engagement process is ongoing and collaborative in which the student parent is an active participant and encouraged to set high expectations for themselves. From assessing students’ comprehensive needs at the start of each school year, to helping our students set long and short-term goals and plan for graduation, we work closely and consistently with students to help them meet their needs, as well as empower them to become advocates for them and their child.
As a result, student parents transition from LYFE prepared to sustain healthy families and attain post-secondary success.