Teachers will provide for the development of cognitive and language skills for all children by designing a physical environment and schedule of activities that include experimentation,inquiry, observation, play, and exploration. Opportunities for creative self-expression, interactions and language use with peers and adults, and emergent literacy and numeracy development will be documented in weekly curriculum plans. Plans will be inclusive of children with disabilities. Plans will support the continuing development of the child’s home language and support the child’s acquisition of the English Language at home and in the classroom. Opportunities for learning in the child’s home language will be provided, to the extent feasible.


  1. Review children’s cognitive and language development in Creative Curriculum.
  2. Plan activities for labeling, classifying, sorting objects by shape, color, size.
  3. Read books and poems daily, tell children stories about experiences, talk about pictures, write down experience stories children dictate.
  4. Provide a print rich environment and encourage children’s emerging interest in writing (scribbling, drawing, copying, inventing their own spelling).
  5. Extend children’s’ thinking and learning during activities by adding new materials, asking open-ended questions, offering ideas or suggestions, joining in their play, facilitating problem solving.
  6. Observe natural events such as seeds growing, life cycle of pets and other animals, shells, rocks, weather, etc.
  7. Create opportunities and use routine activities to use numbers, count objects.
  8. Plan trips or classroom visitors to provide new learning experiences (see Field Trip policy).
  9. Encourage water play and other sensory activities using sensory table.
  10. Document cognitive, numeracy and literacy activities and experiences on curriculum plans.
  11. Primary and supplemental curriculum resources are available to assist staff with planning activities to promote development in cognitive ad languae skills.
  12. Classrooms will be rich with literacy materials and experiences.
    1. Classrooms will have library/literacy area planned with the following criteria:
      1. Placed in an area that is partitioned off from the rest of the room to reduce noise, traffic and distractions.
      2. Comfortable seating for four to five children.
      3. Bookshelves for storing books: open-faced shelves as well as shelves with spines facing outward.
    2. Classrooms will be equipped with a writing area (may be part of library area)
      1. A table suitable for up to four children to sit around
      2. Storage near or on the table for a variety of writing supplies
      3. Alphabet strip
    3. Books are included in at least five interests areas
      1. There are at least 25 books inclusive of all categories: story, informational, alphabet, predictable, number and counting, and nursery rhymes.
      2. New books should be circulated into the classroom every two weeks; from the site library and/or public library.
    4. Other texts (e.g. magazines, signs, charts, cookbooks) are included in at least three different interest areas.
    5. An alphabet will be displayed at children eye level
    6. Meaningful environmental print that includes print that labels materials and storage places, identifies classroom practices, gives information, and provides narrative descriptions (e.g., signs, directions, rules, functional messages, helper charts, computer use charts).
      1. Make efforts to use print models that are representative of the different primary languages used by families at the site
    7. Variety of materials for listening, reading, writing, and story retelling such as (may be part of library area):
      1. Listening centers with stories and book to accompany the story
      2. Other story related manipulatives; puppets, flannel board characters to familiar stories, magnet boards with letters and story pictures, etc.
  13. . Classroom will be rich with numeracy materials and experiences:
    1. Materials for exploring mathematical concepts (e.g. number and operations; patterns; geometry, and spatial relationships; measurement; collecting, organizing, and representing data)
      1. Manipulatives for children to practice counting, sorting, serrating, patterning, etc.
      2. Materials for exploring geometric shapes and spatial relationships such as shape puzzles, unit blocks, pattern blocks
      3. Materials for exploring measurement such as measuring cups, balancing scales, rulers, and play money.
    2. Models of numbers are displayed in the room.
    3. Charts and graphs are used to represent numbers.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45CFR Section 1302.30, 1302.31, 1302.32

It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997, December 12, 2000
Updated July 7,1999. November 15, 2000. June 2008. June 2009. November 2012. August 2013. June 2018

REVIEWED: June 2021

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