Experienced, trained professional early childhood teachers observe, respect, affirm and nurture each child.
Children are the directors of their own course of learning. Teachers use developmental assessment tools to guide children to use strengths to obtain understanding in areas that may be unfamiliar or need additional resources. Hands on activities are the best way for a young child to learn and at Young Tracks children are encouraged to immerse themselves in learning, ask questions, and sometimes get messy to explore their surroundings. Social-emotional growth is emphasized, especially in the Preschool and Pre-kindergarten. Children carefully consider whether their behavior is filling someone’s bucket or dipping out of someone’s bucket. Implications of both are daily topics of discussion.
The outside areas are an extension of the classroom. The outdoor classroom helps children master concepts from classroom activities, enhance their natural curiosity about the world around and promote gross motor development. The Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten take daily field trips in the summer months, exploring the natural beauty of Routt County. There is a heavy emphasis on the importance of exercise and developing healthy habits at a young age.
In cooperation with the USDA Colorado Adult and Childcare Food Program, we serve nutritious breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks during the school year. In the summer months Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classrooms, families need to provide nutritious lunches from home (Breakfast and afternoon snack are still served).
There are two infant classrooms. The first classroom, The Cougar Room, enrolls children ages eight weeks until crawling (around seven months), and the second classroom, The Puma Room, enrolls children crawling until walking independently or eighteen months. The Child Care Professionals in the Infant Program are highly qualified and dedicated, with training specific to the care of Infants. The focus is to provide an environment that is supportive to both child and family, and promotes an unconditional acceptance of infants in a nurturing environment. There is a staff member who is Infant Supervisor qualified in the rooms at all times.
The Child Care Professionals within the Toddler classrooms are ready for the energy and exploration of growing toddlers. There are two classrooms, the Pollywogs are the younger group with children ages one year to three years. The second classroom, the Bear Cubs, is licensed for children ages eighteen months to three years. Children are encouraged and supported as they explore their environment with all of their senses. Self-help skills are the primary focus of these classrooms. The qualified teachers promote and support activities that encourage independence. Stimulating activities are planned specifically to nurture each child’s development and arouse a sense of curiosity. Daily exercises promote gross motor development and refinement of fine motor skills. Lightly structured activities introduce children to Circle Time, Story Time and Daily Routines, while allowing for developmentally appropriate behavior.
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten
The Early Childhood Professionals working with the Preschool (two and a half years to four years of age) and Pre K (three to five year olds) classrooms all hold qualifications relative to this age group and beyond, having many years of experience, combined with specific degrees to the early education field including reading specialist certification. As the Preschoolers explore their world and broaden their field of knowledge and experience, they are learning important skills that will assist them in having a successful primary school experience. Both indoors and outdoors, play is taken seriously and the days are structured to introduce children to classroom rules and expectations. Good listening skills, independent thinking, problem solving, social skills, creativity and task completion are fostered on a daily basis, in preparation for Kindergarten and continued education.
Weekly enrichment programs are offered in addition to everyday programing. These programs currently include Storytime with Bud Werner Memorial Library, Music and Second Step, a social emotional curriculum administered by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is on site 2 days per week to lend support to the children, teachers and families.
Both classrooms offer summer programs which are a rich outdoor experiential learning opportunity with daily field trips to explore the scenic Yampa Valley, children attend music concerts at the local Strings in the Mountains venue, the Routt County Fair in August and the oldest group of children participate in swim lessons at the local Old Town Hot Springs.
From the Cougar Room to the Pre-Kindergarten, children are assessed three times per year to track their growth and development using Teaching Strategies Gold and the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment tools. These assessments are passed along to the elementary schools when the children matriculate.