The Panther room provides a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for children to explore throughout their day. Teachers design the environment and experiences based on children’s developmental needs and individual interests. Experiences with peers and teachers, written and oral language, books, music, movement, nature, science and math materials, blocks and other construction materials, water, sand, art and dramatic play materials enhance children’s growth and development. Group experiences, long-term projects, child-directed and teacher-directed experiences are all part of the preschool curriculum. In addition, teachers align the children’s experiences with the Iowa Early Learning Standards. The Panther room uses The University of Northern Iowa's campus as a tool for learning. Trips to campus include; visiting the library, greenhouse, book store and exploring many of the buildings on campus.
Teachers document children’s experiences through the use of photographs, dictation, artwork and constructions. Teachers may also share your child’s experiences with you at drop off and pick up times as well as on the classroom blog. In addition, individual conferences are held two times a year or as needed.
Children are encouraged to explore their environment independently. Because exploring with all your senses can be a messy process, we ask families to dress children with this in mind. Please provide an extra set of clothes to be used when necessary. In addition, children go outdoors in all kinds of weather, so it is important that families provide appropriate outerwear for each season.
It is important to us that children have a wide variety of open-ended materials with which to play. Research has shown that highly imaginative play develops the executive brain functions that children need in order to self-regulate emotions and behavior, negotiate with peers, think critically and problem-solve. Therefore, you will often observe the children building with materials such as ramps and pathways.
Children nap on cots which are made more comfortable by a small blanket, pillow or sleeping toy brought from home. Teachers may help children relax by reading stories, playing soft music, or rubbing backs. While some children may not nap, everyone must spend some time resting every day.
We look forward to developing relationships with children and their families. We consider our partnerships with parents to be foundational to our program. Please consider sharing your family’s culture or your own unique talents with our classroom. You are welcome to visit at anytime.