The Child Care Center at Hort Woods serves up to 170 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years in its 21,500-square-foot facility on the corner of Park Avenue and Allen Road, adjacent to the Hort Woods. The center operates from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., five days a week. It is open all year, including during the summer.

Our program is based on the belief that the child is the most important teacher in our program. Through careful observation of their development and interests we assist them in the construction of knowledge. We are an extension of the family. We are strongly committed to working with children and families. As early childhood educators, we believe it is critical for us to understand the needs and values of parents so that we can best serve their children. It is our work together as parents and educators that guides the curriculum for the child as an individual in our learning community.

Our goal is to provide a supportive and nurturing environment by building a sense of community among parents, children, and staff. It is the role of teachers, families, and students to nurture, to observe, to provoke learning opportunities, to provide appropriate materials and guidance, to share ideas and to continually reflect on the learning process.

We believe that children’s play is powerful and that the environment is a teaching tool. How the classroom is organized, furnished, and enhanced has meaning for the children. Children are simultaneously developing as an individual emotionally, physically and cognitively and in a group setting they are developing socially. Through our work at becoming a nationally recognized center for Positive Behavior, Intervention, and Support (PBIS) we believe that classroom management, positive guidance and curriculum must be integrated and working together to maximize learning success for all children. Through the PBIS system children are supported to be safe, respectful, and helpful by incorporating the values of respect, responsibility, honesty and safety into every day practices.

Each child is regarded as an individual. We value and celebrate each child’s unique cultural, ethnic, and social-economic background. In consideration of the whole child, we strive to nourish the mind, body, and sense of self for continued growth. Relationships are the core of our curriculum and philosophy. The single most important indicator of quality in an early childhood program is the interaction that takes place with and around the children.

We believe that it is our responsibility to make learning visible. Documentation is how we tell our story. It is a powerful teaching tool for the adults to consider and it is the way we show children how much we value their work. The plans, events, experiences, projects, the very life of our center can be viewed through the various forms of documentation that demonstrate our work together. Our classrooms and hallways should provide walking tours of what is currently happening as well as the history of our program. Photographs and film, works of art, text, constructions, the literature we choose are all ways we expand and validate the richness of learning that is taking place on a daily basis.

Hort Woods was specifically designed to meet the highest level of sustainable building criteria by incorporating many sustainable features, such as natural ventilation, the use of recycled materials, rainwater collection and reuse, and natural daylighting to help conserve energy. Our outdoor environment was intentionally built to provide a natural playscape for the children to explore. It is our belief that the education of young children should include innovative approaches to reconnecting children to nature through tangible links between sustainable design, curriculum, and children’s everyday experience in nature.