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The Fairfax-San Anselmo Children’s Center has been built on three main ideas:

• Developing meaningful relationships with children.
• Children learn best through play.
• In order for a child to thrive, the family needs to thrive.

Developing meaningful relationships with children:
One of the key roles of our teachers here at the Center is to support children’s learning and development by cultivating meaningful relationships with the children in their programs. We believe children learn within the context of meaningful and established relationships that are based on mutual respect and cooperation. It is our belief that these relationships are not only necessary for cognitive and intellectual development but also critical to children being able to develop a sense of security, social competence, and a positive self-concept.As a teacher, your understanding of a child you have developed a meaningful relationship with can dramatically impact your understanding of how a particular child may be interpreting their world. It can impact the type of direct communication, that child has with you and their trust in you and it can impact their ability to develop other relationships in a positive way.

Children learn best through play:
There is a well-established consensus among early childhood professionals that play is an essential element of developmentally appropriate, high-quality early education programs. Play provides benefits for cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and moral for children from all socio-economic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.A play-centered preschool curriculum is not a laissez-faire approach. It’s not the same as giving children “free play” separate from “teaching.” Rather, teachers use the power of children’s developing ideas, interests, and competencies to promote learning — through play, circle-time, and small-group activities. This power is most evident in children’s play, as play is the central force in the development of young children. Play is not a break from the curriculum; play is the best way to implement the curriculum.The teacher is the key to the play-centered curriculum. Teachers use keen observation to asses and support children’s learning and development through play. Teachers facilitate play through responsive interactions with children, based on an understanding of how play contributes to academic and social learning.

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” Friedrich Froebel

In order for a child to thrive, the family needs to thrive:
To describe our Center as “day care” would be an injustice to the children, teachers, staff and families who have been a part of our Children’s Center community since its inception back in 1973. We recognize the need to provide services to both the children and the family by providing quality childcare, offering parent workshops that address a host of needs and building a sense of community, leading to the strengthening of the family unit forming the foundations that can take a family at risk, to thriving.