Explorer’s curriculum is a developmental-based program concerned with the development of the whole child, emphasizing social, intellectual, emotional and physical growth. At Explorer, the teachers carefully plan open-ended and child-directed activities and emphasis is placed on the value of play, learning environments and developmentally appropriate materials and activities. Our philosophy is that children learn through active and child-initiated play, through direct contact with concrete objects, through repeated positive experiences, and most of all, they learn through interactions with people who are important to them.

Our parents are encouraged to use their special talents during their teaching time at school to make our school a nurturing and safe environment for the children. They can help the child use inductive thinking by using such encouragements as “I wonder what would happen if...?” or “Where do you suppose this came from?” By doing this, the parent shares the child’s wonder and enjoys the newness of discovery along with him. Parents are scheduled through a rotation of parent-teacher jobs including art, cooking, creative play, music and movement, outdoor supervision, observation and special projects. This curriculum is briefly described below.


The development of self-concept, small motor skills and spatial concepts necessary for academic success are a by-product of a successful art program. Children get emotional satisfaction from being able to express themselves and are more concerned with the process they are going through than the finished product. It is helpful to have art materials organized to enhance maximum development of artistic and creative abilities, but producing a model for the child to copy is discouraged.

  “Cooking provides a wide variety of experiences which give a child a sense of accomplishment, a chance to experiment, a developing awareness of his own senses of taste, touch and smell.”* Our parents provide daily food experiences for our children at the snack area, and children get an opportunity to use different tools and equipment to improve small motor muscle coordination.

The philosophy of our school encourages self-discovery in the child. Creative play allows a child to construct the world as he sees it and act out feelings and emotions in a comfortable setting. Make-believe, dress-up, domestic play, block building, and playing games encourage a child’s development of language and thought processes.


The book area is a relaxing center that allows children to browse through books for pleasure and to develop personal reading interests. The child not only learns to listen but has an opportunity to increase his vocabulary by hearing new words read to him. He learns about different concepts, people and places and visualizes the things that he is hearing about. At the literacy center children also learn about shapes, sizes, colors and textures, and learn how to use materials like scissors and glue.

  Music offers the child a chance to improve balance, coordination and rhythm through dancing and other activities. Large muscle skills are taught through obstacle courses, the balance beam, running, and active play. When group games are organized, music provides the perfect medium to teach young children. Singing and musical instruments, besides offering pure enjoyment, help the young child develop many pre-academic skills.

  Blocks, puzzles and many other supplied manipulatives provide an opportunity for the child to learn about classifying, sorting, predicting, problem solving, and analyzing results. The child develops his knowledge of the world around him using real objects and concrete examples. Manipulative activities also improve small and large motor coordination.

  By playing on the outdoor equipment children learn how to use their body effectively and experience joy in achieving a skill. Bikes, sand, water and exposure to the natural environment expand the child’s knowledge of his world and also allow him to experience sensory pleasure by working with different media. Although outdoor play is most frequently associated with large muscle movement, opportunities for developing social skills are numerous.


First-hand exploration is the keynote of the child’s science experience, both at our indoor school and outdoor classes at Vasona Park. The child’s cumulative knowledge of his world grows as he is exposed to natural and man-made objects. He learns to compare, contrast, classify and to use these objects in play as well as in arts and crafts.

  Our 4day afternoon class is very unique! 10 weeks of environmental education are divided between fall and spring at Vasona Park, Los Gatos. Choices include creek and water exploration, free climbing, cooking, nature study, hiking, writing experiences, science books and materials.

  *The CEMREL Institute, School Before Six, A Diagnostic Approach. Vol. 11, page 653.

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