image(4)Vision: Empowering children to boldly explore and compassionately interact with their world.

Learning Philosophy

At University Avenue Discovery Center Preschool fosters children’s intellectual and social development through a varied curriculum of age-appropriate activities. The guiding philosophy is that children learn best through play and in addition, through activities that are of interest to them. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and it reflects the understanding that the development of each child is a unique and evolving process. It allows children to develop skills naturally and at their own pace.


Program activities reflect all areas of development, i.e., large and small motor, language and pre-reading, social and emotional, math, science, arts and music, nutrition, health, safety, and self-help skills. These area of developmental are encouraged, guided and reinforced through creative dramatics, games, parties, community experience and field trips, stories, art, movement, and music activities, and will be provided regularly throughout the day. A schedule of daily activities will be posted in each classroom.

UADC’s curriculum will include exploration of the diversity of cultures, families, religions, individuals, etc. Classroom educators may present some child-centered aspects of religious celebrations as part of the multi-cultural curriculum. Religious practices might be discussed as part of individual and family differences.

UADC will make every effort to meet the developmental, social, educational and special needs of each child regardless of native language, developmental delays, behavioral concerns, physical limitations and other disabilities.


  • Each child is a unique individual with her or his own style of learning and a rich background of experiences.
  • Children learn best through hands-on, contextual and interactive experiences within a rich environment.
  • Children’s future life success is grounded in social-emotional literacy.
  • Children learn healthy ways to express themselves through exploration of the arts.
  • Children who have opportunities for unstructured, outdoor play are better able to concentrate, think critically and self-regulate.
  • Each individual has a unique and valued perspective.
  • Working collaboratively enriches our shared community.



Educators will do informal, on-going assessments of children’s developmental progress through observing their play and interactions as they naturally occur.  Educators will also do formal assessments using a developmental checklist for the purpose of determining the children’s developmental progress overall and for sharing these results with parents at parent-teacher conversations twice per year. Parent-teacher conversations will be held in the late fall and also in the following spring of each year.  Parents are encouraged to attend, give input, ask questions and be involved in the decisions concerning the developmental progress of their child.

Through the use of formal and informal assessments educators will be able to:
♥ Identify the interests and developmental needs of each child in the classroom.
♥ Communicate progress with parents daily.
♥ Reflect on their teaching.
♥ Make improvements to the curriculum.
♥ Adapt their teaching practices and make changes to the learning environment.

If concerns over the developmental progress of a child are raised through the formal and informal assessments made by the classroom educator or by the parent’s own concerns, the educators and parents will discuss the best course of action for the developmental progress of the child in a sensitive, supportive and confidential manner.

Educators may work cooperatively with parents to seek outside assistance for the developmental screening and referral for diagnostic assessment of the child for additional educational services. This may require the educator to work cooperatively and with the support of specialized consultants, to make adaptations to the classroom environment and/or the curriculum in order to meet the goals set forth in IFSPs, IEPs and other individualized learning plans for the developmental needs of the child so that they may participate fully within the classroom. This process is entirely confidential.

Role of Educators

  1. Develop classroom rules, supervision, routines, schedules, and weekly plans, keeping in mind the need for flexibility, spontaneity and parental participation.
  2. Develop an enriched learning environment.
  3. Provide meaningful learning opportunities for hands-on, active learning, exploration, discovery, individual expression, field trips, self-help, play and problem solving.
  4. Provide a balance of quality learning experiences including: group/individual, educator/child-initiated, quiet/active, and indoor/outdoor.
  5. Use formal and informal assessments to determine the interests and developmental needs of each child.
  6. Work cooperatively with parents and specialized consultants to meet the needs of children and families so that they might participate fully in the IMG_0655program, including children with disabilities, behavioral challenges, or other special needs.
  7. Provide personal contact and immediate care as needed to protect each child’s well-being.
  8. Provide on-going consistency in the care of children with well-planned transitions between classrooms or within the program.
  9. Provide children the opportunity to interact with children of other ages within the daily program under the supervision and direction of their regular classroom educators.
  10. Consult with parents before a permanent transition from one classroom to the next classroom is planned with the consideration of age, classroom space and the developmental progress of the child. Transitions will be planned in advance to prepare the child and allow two weeks of planned transitional time from one classroom to the next.
  11. Include parents in the decision making process regarding the educational services and developmental goals and progress of their child and the decision for their child to permanently transition from one classroom to the next.

Child Guidance

Philosophy of child guidance: Center staff members regard children’s learning of appropriate behaviors in a social context as a long and imperfect process. This process depends in part on each child’s level of development and amount of experience in a group setting. Every effort is made to let children know what is expected. Classroom strategies are used to arrange the children in an environment to provide a variety of choices and learning experiences and to avoid problems caused by lack of resources, waiting in line, or obstruction of view. Educators provide transitional cues and motivators between activities and monitor child groupings and movement to prevent having children standing or waiting in line. Educators take primary responsibility for guiding children’s behavior at UADC.

Staff trainings in appropriate guidance set the stage for positive and desirable behavior from children. Structure, routine, and consistency are provided so that over time children learn to accept responsibility for their behavior. Center staff participate in Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention training and learn the appropriate ways to manage crying, fussing or distraught children. Educators use positive behavior management techniques to manage children’s behavior including: discussion and explanation foreshadowing, rules, schedules, and clear, positively stated directions are used to promote children’s understanding of events and what is expected of them.

Children are taught to verbalize their feelings and their needs to other children and adults, and to engage in problem solving. Children are taught to consider and respect the rights and feelings of others. They are taught strategies to help them come up with solutions to resolve their problems in a positive way to develop self-control, give them ownership, and build their self-esteem.

16615_555554724570684_1537930973945571083_nEducators will offer comfort and make every effort to help children to address, work through, find a solution, and to express their thoughts and feelings when they are crying, fussing or feeling distraught and to teach them strategies to work through their feelings in a healthy way.

Educators will encourage children to problem solve alternative solutions to unwanted behaviors, aggressiveness, or physical responses to feelings of frustration, anger, or problem situations.

Educators will work as a team to resolve conflicts between children using the following steps:

  1. Approach calmly, stopping any hurtful actions.
  2. Educators place themselves between the children, and on their level, use a calm voice and gentle touch.
  3. Educators remain neutral rather than take sides.
  4. Refrain from shaming or using negative wording.
  5. Educators will work to empower children to solve problems on their own.
  6. Educators will acknowledge all children’s feelings.
  7. Educators will gather information so all students feel understood.
  8. Educators will restate the problem by using and extending the children’s vocabulary, substituting neutral words for hurtful or judgmental ones if needed.
  9. Educators will ask for solutions and choose one together.
  10. Educators will acknowledge children’s accomplishments, e.g., “You solved the problem!”
  11. Educators will assist the child(ren) in returning to the group. “Look I see that your friends have moved to the carpet to explore cars, would you like to join them?”
  12. Our Philosophy is to be Proactive, not Reactive!

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NAEYC City of Madison