Brief History, Philosophy, and Developmental Goals
The Gersh and Sarah Lemberg Children's Center, Inc. (also known as Lemberg) was founded in 1970 by members of the Brandeis University community who needed high quality day care for their young children. Our pioneers wanted to provide the south side of Waltham and the western suburbs with a new model of childcare. Early childhood educators have come to call this model "developmentally appropriate early care and education.”
Today, our model combines these features or goals:
- We welcome all children and treat them with attention, respect, and affection; and we encourage them to return this to others.
- We hire outgoing, friendly, family-centered professional caregivers and educators, who are encouraged to give hugs, be soft spoken, and be comfortable with each child.
- We design and implement a curriculum
- that is sensitive to cultural, racial, cognitive and physical differences.
- that is based on developmental and relational psychology theories and encourages adults to understand that play is an important way in which to learn.
- that is flexible, open and creative.
- that plans times when children can play in mixed age groupings.
- that incorporates a project approach to open education, which encourages our teachers to observe the interests of each child, and to provide a choice of activities based on these observations.
- that treats boys and girls equally and considers anti-bias perspectives.
- that uses psycho-dynamic approaches to understanding the behaviors of children.
- that encourages the resolution of conflicts peacefully, by using a model discipline plan that respects children.
- We expect parents to serve on our Board of Directors or do other Lemberg community work.
- We are open all year during regular work hours.
- We scale our private tuition rates, and seek additional funding to support a diversity of household incomes.
Lemberg is committed to family/staff cooperation and community service. We continue our vital mission to provide young children with loving, educationally appropriate care. We encourage friendship building, community involvement and excitement for learning. We welcome children who speak different home languages, celebrate different traditions, and have diverse abilities.
Over the years, we have improved our facility, curriculum, and the ways we attend to the needs of each child and parent. We give high priority to staff stability in our program and achieve it by paying above market salaries and benefits. Our center has enhanced its supervision and in-service development program for teaching assistants and college students. We have good working relationships with other community and state agencies, and we participate actively in supporting the development of high quality childcare in Massachusetts. Lemberg has chosen to remain small in order to continue the personal, family-centered, cooperative effort that our model requires. These are achievements for which we are proud. Your support, and the continued participation of our alumni families, is essential for our school to work well and grow.
HOW OUR PROGRAM CONTRIBUTES TO EACH CHILD'S DEVELOPMENT
Our program is broad and flexible enough to accommodate very young children, as well as 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. We encourage all aspects of each child's development - social, emotional, linguistic, mathematical, reasoning, creative and physical. We support complex social interactions, community building, creativity, and play.
Social Development and Learning
Children have different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Their families celebrate different holidays or even the same ones in different ways. Our curriculum is structured from the beginning of September through the end of June to include discussions of family, race, ethnic origin, family beliefs, seasonal changes and holidays. We are non-sectarian and anticipate presentations from the point of view of the child, on each family's country of origin, ethnic customs, regional traditions and life styles. We particularly encourage parental participation in these holiday celebrations and multi-cultural presentations.
The children help establish rules and codes of conduct. It is common to hear one child reminding another to keep the sand in the sandbox or to hear a child say, "Can I have a turn in five minutes?" The children help with the daily routine of preparing snack, cleaning of different areas of the classrooms, and taking care of their own personal items (such as: lunch box, coat and shoes). We value each child, and work to help each child respect others, broaden empathy, and build healthy relations with others. Children learn that their cooperation is important and necessary for our program to function smoothly. The staff use positive approaches when setting limits, and encourage children to speak to others positively too. We assist children in friendship making skills and in the skills necessary for group participation (e.g., waiting for your turn, listening to others, sharing one's ideas).
By being sensitive to the child's feelings, we help her/him express themselves in appropriate ways and develop empathy and their sense of self. Through individual discussions with teachers and in large or small groups, children share their beliefs about important issues in their lives (e.g., use of equipment at school, feelings about a friend, having only one parent, death, fears of monsters, what it is to be a brother, sister.) These topics come up in stories that are read, films we might see, or in events that occur. It is very important that parents and Head Teachers speak regularly with each other about a child's emotional well-being. Our program strives to have each child feel important, attached, and positive about himself/herself in relationships.
Linguistic, Mathematical, Cognitive and Creative Expression
We believe that children enjoy learning when the concepts, challenges, and activities presented are developmentally appropriate and fun. Our educational program makes use of a wide range of materials to assist children in noticing patterns, and identifying symbols necessary in math and reading. Children dictate or write stories, act out plays, and learn to appreciate the organization of the natural world. Children enjoy working with paints, clay, water and building toys. We have blocks, and discuss concepts of number and organization; we encourage the exploration of our ideas, points of view, and hypotheses. We support skill building for creative expression, for sharing ideas, for explaining and ordering the world.
In our outside playground, children are able to run, jump, climb, ride tricycles, swing, play ball games, and dig in the sand. We have access to a large grassy area in front of our school, which we use for sledding, ball games, and larger group activities. When inside children dance, participate in varied movement activities, and many exercises to strengthen their bodies, and sense of balance. There is a large playhouse inside in the South Room. Children are provided opportunities to draw and to build with small blocks and Lego. We often have creative drama, lots of dramatic play, some yoga and we use gymnastics equipment. We dance and sing every day. Physical competency is essential for positive self-esteem, friendship-making and the effective communication of our work, ideas, and values.
It is the policy of the Center that all children will be treated with respect and personal dignity. We believe that children respond well to encouragement and poorly to punishment. It is for this reason that we acknowledge the correct things a child does, and remind them of the appropriate behaviors when their behavior is inappropriate.
In addition, our curriculum addresses issues associated with conflicts that commonly create inappropriate responses (e.g., sharing things or friends, race, gender bias, physical disabilities, and social violence). We expect children to have difficulties. Our job is to help children find appropriate ways to resolve conflicts.
In accordance with the Department of Early Education and Care and in accordance with standard early childhood practices outlined in the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Center Accreditation Procedures, no child shall be subjected to cruel or severe punishment, humiliation or verbal abuse. No child shall be punished for soiling, wetting or not using the toilet. This is abusive behavior toward children and will be considered grounds for dismissal.