What type of curriculum is implemented at Carpe Diem?

The curriculum for each program is based on accepted theories of child development and the latest validated research on highly effective instructional approaches. Visit www.zerotothree.org and www.naeyc.org for more information.

We don’t use one specific set of curriculum materials. We have an extensive library of the latest resources available for our teachers as they plan their lessons and activities.

Academics or play — which is better?

Parents wonder if a school that focuses on academics is better than one that emphasizes learning through play. We believe this polarized, either/or view is unfortunate and misses the point.

The benefits of “enriched play” during the first five years of life are extensive and support academic goals for reading and writing, math, science, social studies, music, art, and drama. Research shows that high-quality preschool programs, which strengthen cognitive, social, and emotional skills through play, have extremely positive effects on all aspects of children’s development.

Can you tell me more about "enriched play" at Carpe Diem?

Children take the initiative when they learn through play. They choose what they want to do, come up with their own ideas, and experiment with those ideas.

This does not mean, however, that teachers do nothing but watch and supervise. After assessing each child’s needs, teachers set the stage for learning by selecting and organizing materials and activities based on conceptual themes. With engaging subjects such as “Rainforest Regions of the World” or “The Circus,” teachers provide guidance and ask questions to spark children’s thinking.

Teachers also encourage children to experience the power of feeling in charge of their own learning. At Carpe Diem, learning is meaningful, hands-on, challenging, and appropriate for each child.

Are there other benefits to the "enriched learning" approach?

Yes — reduced levels of stress. Studies show that children in programs where they select active, sensory activities and pursue their own interests show lower levels of stress compared with children in teacher-directed programs that emphasize group instruction and workbook activity

Too much stress negatively impacts the brain by producing cortisol. This hormone damages connections between cells in the part of the brain important to learning and memory.

Are there other core teaching philosophies at Carpe Diem?

We believe in Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of “multiple intelligences.” Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, concludes that people are intelligent, at varying levels, in at least eight different ways: linguistic intelligence, logical/mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily/kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalistic intelligence.

Gardner’s theory encourages teachers to look at each child and ask, “How is this child intelligent?” rather than “How intelligent is this child?”

When children have opportunities to learn through their strengths, they develop confidence in their own abilities. In this approach, children are challenged in many ways to promote their own development. They aren’t, however, stressed beyond their capacity to learn or are bored by activities they’ve already mastered.

Are Carpe Diem classrooms structured?

Yes. Every classroom, except the infant room, has a daily schedule. A chaotic setting confuses children and makes it difficult for them to know what to expect and how to behave. Clear structure helps children feel secure and encourages skills building. A predictable schedule — one with a good balance of activities — helps children know what will happen throughout the day and helps their confidence and self-control.

Classes for toddlers and two-year-old children need to be more flexible. Daily routines such as meals and diapering are learning opportunities in and of themselves, rather than events to be “gotten through.” Very young children also need open spaces and plenty of time for free play.

Does Carpe Diem have specialty teachers?

Yes, we do. We have a music teacher and a Spanish teacher on our faculty. Both conduct morning classes Monday through Friday to provide continuity in the learning experience.

Music and language experiences in the early years are very important.

We start toddlers in our music class to encourage the appreciation of singing and playing and listening to instruments. Music enhances brain development, especially spatial orientation and the ability to think mathematically. Our music teacher also includes many movement and literacy activities in the class.

The brain is most receptive to learning languages during early childhood. That’s why we start two-year-old children in Spanish class.

I‘ve heard about teaching sign language. What’s that all about?

Infants and toddlers understand that communication is occurring. They want to be part of that communication much earlier than they are able to articulate. That’s one of the reasons we use Dr. Joseph Garcia’s American Sign Language (ASL) method of communicating. Visit www.sign2me.com for more information.

By teaching infants and toddlers to use sign language before they can speak fluently, they have a way to express themselves beyond smiling, cooing and crying. Learning sign doesn’t interfere with normal speech development. In fact, research suggests exposing children to sign language encourages higher levels of spoken language competency as they get older.

Are there other special programs or offerings?

Yes. And we’re constantly modifying and updating everything we offer.

Our Preschool B and Pre-Kindergarten classrooms have computers which children use throughout the day. Children in our Transition to Preschool classes through our school-age programs also have daily scheduled times in our computer lab. All have access to enjoyable and educational software.

Dramatic play
Dramatic play increases literacy, listening, and memory skills — and its lots of fun. That’s why we offer creative drama classes once a week in our Preschool B and Pre-Kindergarten classes. A specialty teacher for this program is provided by “Capers for Kids.” Visit www.capersforkids.com for more information.

Kids in Motion is an optional tumbling and gymnastics program for two-year-old through Pre-K children. The class is offered once a week at an extra monthly charge. Children increase their motor skills in an environment where they already feel comfortable.

How do you select your employees?

A program is only as good as its staff. To make sure candidates meet our stringent requirements we assess their teaching philosophy and style, as well as education, training and experience. We also do a pre-employment drug screening and criminal history check.

We want administrators and teachers who are nurturing, responsive and committed to knowing you and your child. It’s also very important that our teachers know how, through on-going assessment, to build children’s interests in order to guide their learning.

Can you tell me more about this "on-going assessment" aspect?

Our teachers, including our music and Spanish teachers, contribute to continuous observation and documentation of each child’s development. This is done by using age-appropriate checklists of skills and general written commentary, not by formal testing.

We utilize specific forms for each age group — starting with our infants — which we include in each child’s development portfolio. The forms are used to track each child’s progress in every area of development. Each child’s portfolio is passed along as they progress from class to class. This process enables teachers to track each child’s development over several years. These portfolios are also valuable during parent-teacher conferences.

How can I enroll my child at Carpe Diem?

The first step is to tour our school. Call to schedule an appointment or visit unannounced. Tours are offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

If a spot is available, you can enroll your child immediately. Monthly tuition is prorated based on start date. If classes are full, we recommend getting on our wait list by submitting the enrollment form and nonrefundable application deposit.

Wait lists are unpredictable. When a space becomes available, we start at the top of the wait list. The first family on the list often decides to enroll their child. Other times, they may pass up the space and allow names lower on the list the opportunity to enroll.

In January we offer re-registration for currently enrolled children for the school year that starts the following August. After reviewing those results, we offer available places for the coming school year to children on our wait list. There is always the option of starting earlier if a spot opens.