Your School
Text: %22Phillips Brooks School Curriculum Guide: Early Learning Center%22 over photo of ELC student writing while teacher looks

Curriculum Guide: Early Learning Center

The PBS Approach

The PBS Early Learning Center (ELC) is dedicated to providing a joyful and engaging environment that acknowledges and supports each child’s efforts to construct an understanding of the world in a creative and intrinsically motivated fashion. Play is a primary mechanism through which young children develop higher-level thinking skills, enhanced language development, problem-solving capabilities, and empathy toward each other. In the ELC, play is at the center of much of the social, emotional, and cognitive learning.

Play-based, Project-based, Reggio-inspired

Our pedagogical approach toward our youngest learners is inspired by the Reggio Emilia style and relies heavily on student-directed learning. This manifests in a dynamic, child-centered learning environment that has these properties at its core:

  • Projects emerge from the interests of children.
  • Teachers are researchers, observing and listening closely to children to ascertain their interests.
  • Teachers are co-learners, working alongside children and helping them develop project plans and integrating content areas and skills.
  • Children seek resources and conduct investigations.
  • Children use a variety of materials to express their thinking, often referred to as The 100 Languages of Children.
  • The environment is the “third teacher” in the classroom or outdoor space, provoking ideas and learning.


In the PBS ELC, we believe…

…that much of a young child’s learning comes from real life. Using observation – looking and listening – and experimentation is the key for children to bridge experience and learning. Children are most motivated to learn and learn most when curriculum is relevant and meaningful.

…that children are naturally capable learners and that all children have unique strengths to contribute to the learning process. We trust and respect that children can construct their own learning with teacher guidance and facilitation, and that adults’ respect for children contributes to a child’s learning success.

…that joy, curiosity, wonder and a positive social and emotional climate are key to learning. We believe that teachers take the lead in creating a warm, caring climate and authentic relationships, and that positive affect and acknowledgement of individuality are key teaching tools and learning modes.

…that children need opportunities to explore materials and ideas in open-ended, hands-on experiences. We believe that children can reach clear learning outcomes and acquire knowledge and skills by exploring ideas in multiple ways.

…that children learn best when teachers offer a balance of flexibility and consistency, challenge and support, and a safe environment to experiment and take risks.

Core Learning Areas and Objectives

As our ELC teaching team gets to know their students, the curriculum emerges to best meet their needs. Some of the many lessons integrated throughout their day could include: