Parents who are Cal Poly students receive first priority for enrollment at the Center. Cal Poly Faculty and Staff receive second priority for enrollment, followed by Cal Poly alumni and community members.
Our mission is to provide quality early care and education services to Cal Poly students, faculty and staff. The ASI Children's Center is partially funded by ASI fees, which are paid by Cal Poly students. Therefore student parents have first priority for enrollment. Additionally, applications are accepted from faculty, staff, alumni and community members; however, alumni and community members have non-priority status.
The Center currently cannot accommodate all those wishing to enroll their children at the Center particularly in the infant and toddler rooms. Adding your child's name to the waiting list is the first step to enrollment.
Children are encouraged to explore ideas and interests through detailed project work.
The project approach is a comprehensive curriculum incorporated into all classrooms within the center, focusing on the children's interests, ideas and discoveries. This is a method of teaching in which an in-depth study of a particular topic is conducted by a child or a group of children. How this type of learning is carried out in each classroom will look different due to the abilities, interests and needs of the group. Staff's careful observation, documentation and reflection of the children's interaction with their environment and peers are key components to project work. Family participation is another important component in project work and adds richness to the children's study on a particular topic.
We believe that the physical space and layout of the classroom environment play a large role in the social interaction, and activities that occur during the day. The arrangement of classroom furniture and the location of activities encourage children to make choices, solve problems as well as facilitate the process of learning. Our classrooms are designed to be welcoming, and foster interactions, communication, and relationships.
With the role that space plays in mind, our classrooms are arranged to allow opportunities for children to interact in a variety of ways. Some spaces are designed for large groups to explore an activity, presenting an opportunity for cooperation, collaboration and social interaction.
Every classroom has established areas where children can have time and space that is their own. In these quiet spaces, they can read books, work a puzzle, or just sit and be alone. Physical space also includes the outdoor environment and reminds us that learning is not limited to indoor spaces. Opportunities are limitless when the yards are included in thoughtful planning.
Careful attention to the arrangement of the room and the influence it has on children's behavior and experiences are constantly under discussion by the teaching staff. Adjustments to the space reflect the growth and changing needs of the children in the room.
We believe that art is a tool that all children can use to represent the world as they experience it. This hands-on experience offers children the chance to question, observe and represent things that they see, feel and hear. With this as one of our core beliefs, we offer a wide variety of activities and materials with which children can represent and make sense of their world. Even in our infant and toddler program, we allow children to experiment with many materials, often resulting in painted children and floors.
We believe that children are inherently competent, capable, curious and motivated in establishing relationships, interacting with the environment and constructing their own learning.
Our respect for the natural curiosity of infants and toddlers is demonstrated, in part, by allowing for their exploration of new materials. We do not show them how to use a new toy we let them figure it out, scaffolding their learning through interactive support. We show our trust in a child's ability to create social relationships by acting with the child, not on him or her. We always let a child know what we are going to do before it happens, establishing a trusting relationship between the child and caregiver.
In our preschool and kindergarten programs, we demonstrate respect for curiosity by listening to the children's comments and questions and then planning activities that allow them to ask and answer their own questions. We believe children are active researchers in seeking new knowledge and answers to their natural curiosity about the world around them. Our flexible schedule gives children the opportunity to explore at their own pace or work in small groups on specific activities with the teacher.
We believe that parents and their involvement in the Center are an essential part of our program. It is this rich collaborative effort between parents and staff that allow the children to thrive and reach their full potential.
Parents are encouraged to make connections with the children in the classroom. Participating can include reading to small groups of children, supervising a special cooking activity, or recording children's words that describe their paintings. Parents are encouraged to share their own knowledge about a particular subject or interest contributing their ideas to the children for further study and exploration. Other possibilities for parent involvement include attendance at special events, socials, field trips, and celebrations.
Documentation is the result of many careful observations, true listening, and a collection/sampling of children's work. It is an opportunity to share what is learned and discovered by the children, as well as teachers. Sharing this information with parents helps them become more intimately aware of their child's experience at school.
Documentation typically includes: samples of children's work, photographs of work in progress, video clips, children's comments about work, printed dialogue between teacher and child, the teacher's reflection about the children's learning, etc.
For example, a teacher recording what a child is talking about while the child is drawing a turtle is a small inclusion to a classroom's overall project on the study of turtles. Parents may find samplings of these observations and conversations next to pictures of objects to document the progression of the study of turtles. Documentation provides insight into what children are thinking and feeling, and how they are interpreting their world.
The Orfalea Family and ASI Children's Center operates with the belief that each family comes with its own unique ethnic, cultural and familial backgrounds, values and beliefs. All children, parents, teachers and staff deserve the right to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of gender, cultural, or religious background. The Children's Center is available to everyone without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability. Additionally, no religious instruction is provided.
Theoretically, the center is a developmental education program. Since children of a wide variety of ages and stages attend, the first consideration is the child's emotional well-being. We create an environment that provides a variety of learning experiences in all areas of cognitive, physical, self-help, language acquisition, social and emotional development. These experiences enable children to build self-esteem, learn acceptable methods of cooperation and become competent individuals within a group setting. The center embraces collaborative learning between adults and children in a carefully planned environment. The child is seen as a researcher and the classroom as an additional teacher.
With respect for each child's beginnings, we strive to foster a secure, loving and safe environment that encourages children to develop at their own pace in all areas. In order to provide the best experience for each child, we encourage parents to actively participate in their child's program. Constant communication between parents and center staff assures a positive experience for all.
Parents are a vital part of our program
Parent Group meetings are designed to be informal and will address parenting issues, concerns and problems that are at the forefront of parents' minds. Our Associate Director will help parents clarify any parenting topics, provide information about child development and introduce skills, techniques or suggestions that may help to support parents as they work through a given situation or want to change a behavior. These meetings are extremely beneficial to new parents and are highly encouraged by the center. Meeting times are determined each quarter based on a survey of parent's availability.
Parent participation is vital to ASI Children's Programs. Parent donations of time and talent, contributes to the quality of each child's early care and education experience. Parent involvement benefits the children, the program and the families, and can help reduce monthly fees. As an incentive for parent participation at the Children's Center, a Parent Participation Discount is offered. (See Parent Handbook for details).