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Active Minds and Child Initiated Activities at Akers Academy

By S. Mathur

Early childhood education programs recognize that the curiosity and creativity of young children are in fact the foundation on which their future will be built. Distinct from day cares and preschools, early education centers help young children build the social and academic skills they will need throughout their lives.

Akers Academy uses the "Active Minds" curriculum to carry through child-initiated activities. Andrea Rach, Community Relations Specialist, says that "It is a blend of the best learning practices we have found in the industry. It starts in our Infants Class and expands all the way to our Pre K programs so students can link learning from classroom to classroom. Some of the child initiated activities we promote every day include center based learning, self help skills and STEM lessons."

For young children from babyhood to kindergarten, the Akers Academy early learning curriculum builds self-confidence and academic excellence. The age-specific curriculum for every age group helps develop social and academic skills. Using the McGraw-Hill Open Court curriculum programs, the children learn print and phonetic awareness through read-aloud activities, comprehension, language arts and reading enhancements. Computer and foreign language skills are also offered as part of the curriculum.

Infants find a loving, nurturing, and stimulating atmosphere that allows them to explore and satisfy their natural curiosity. Early language development education builds language skills through songs, rhymes, conversation, and stories. Toddlers have added movements such as crawling, climbing, pushing and pulling to their repertoire. Their curriculum emphasizes language and movement through puppets, yoga, language experiences, stories, art and discovery.

Two year olds are notorious for their energy and expanding vocabulary, though sometimes it seems like all they say is "NO!" Three year olds are in the middle of a period of remarkable cognitive, physical and emotional growth. For both age groups the Active Minds curriculum offers play and learning activities that help to build on these.

Pre-K four year olds are active and adventurous, and are about to embark on the adventure of reading. Their curriculum focuses on pre-reading skills, writing, muscle co-ordination and development, creative play, performance and storytelling. They work in groups and also have individual learning stations and discovery times.

For parents, Akers Academy provides a safe environment for their children. Rach says that "Akers Academy prides itself on being a home away from home for our families! We are proud to say that we have many families that have literally grown up with us?there are numerous siblings and graduates that come back for our after school program and summer camps."

Further, "Akers Academy is also certified by NECPA, an organization that gives schools accreditation based on safety, cleanliness and professional teacher development. We are only one of two schools in the area with this distinction."

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