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Based on the Constructivist Theory of Learning, our program focuses on five program goals considered essential for developing the whole child. Expand the sections below to learn more about each goal, the characteristics displayed in the child, and how we encourage their growth.


A child who possesses autonomy demonstrates the following characteristics:

  • Self-directs
  • Stays constructively busy
  • Cooperates with other children and adults
  • Completes tasks
  • Shows confidence in own ability
  • Is appropriately assertive

How we encourage autonomy:

  • Children construct their own knowledge through play using learning centers, outside play, group music and story.
  • We show them how to be independent through situations such as cleaning up their own plate after lunch.
  • They are encouraged to use their words and develop self-help skills.
  • Our teachers model the way in which the children should speak with friends and teachers.


A child who develops integrity exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Cooperates with other children and adults
  • Shows courtesy behaviors
  • Helps establish rules of the group life
  • Imposes rules on self-behavior
  • Shares materials
  • Displays respect for others and own possessions

How we encourage integrity:

  • Model being polite.
  • Encourage children to share.
  • Help children understand rules and why we have them.
  • Show children respect.


A child who acquires openness displays the following characteristics:

  • Expresses feelings and ideas
  • Engages in conversations
  • Responds to open-ended questions
  • Expresses empathy toward others
  • Listens to others
  • Tries the unfamiliar and is curious
  • Gives and asks for help

How we encourage openness:

  • Ask children to tell us how they feel
  • Model being open with our feelings
  • Encourage children to try new things
  • Encourage children to interact with others, share feelings and ideas

Problem Solving

A child who shows problem solving can do the following:

  • Communicates ideas and feelings with ease
  • Persists in completing tasks
  • Retries a task previously unable to do
  • Solves problems in a positive manner
  • Is willing to try unfamiliar tasks

How we encourage problem solving:

  • Showing children different ways to solve problems.
  • Encourage children to not give up.
  • Model how to solve a problem with a friend.

Emerging Academics

A child who possesses emerging academics will exhibit the following:

  • Prereading strategies
  • Prewriting skills
  • Mathematical skills
    • Shape, name and color identification
    • Classifying
    • Patterning
    • Seriation
  • Appropriate ways to handle a book

How we encourage emerging academics:

  • Individual, small, large and group experiences
  • Assessing children on a continual basis
  • Indoor and outdoor learning centers
  • Repetition of phonetic and phonological awareness
  • Opportunities to interact with reading, math and writing boxes
  • Morning meetings
  • Sharing and speaking in front of others

Children who move through this program are independent life-long learners, teaching and learning from one another in positive ways.



Early Childhood Laboratory
Phone: 936.468.4006
Fax: 936.468.8226
Staff directory

Physical Address:
Janice A. Pattillo Early Childhood Research Center
2428 Raguet St.

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 6105, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

National Association for the Education of Young Children

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