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How we Learn

Creative Curriculum/Play Based Learning 

The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool, is an early childhood curriculum that focuses on project-based investigations as a means for children to apply skills and addresses four areas of development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. The curriculum is designed to foster development of the whole child through teacher-led, small and large group activities centered around 11 interest areas/ Centers (blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, library, discovery, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, computers, and outdoors). 

Altoona 8th Street Child Care believes children learn best through play. The curriculum provides teachers with details on child development, classroom organization, teaching strategies, and engaging our families at Altoona in the learning process. Child assessments are an important part of the curriculum.  


Our teachers at Altoona 8th Street use Creative Curriculum Gold. Creative Curriculum Gold allows our teachers to maintain and organize child portfolios and support individualized planning digitally. This assessment tool aligns with the State of Iowa and Department of Education's Iowa Early Learning Standards. Ages and Stages Questionnaires are checklists based on the milestones met at specific ages (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co, 2021). The ASQ’s allocate a score based on completion of the checklist items. Depending on the child’s overall score, this helps determine if children may have a developmental delay. Likewise the ASQ SE is similar but is focused on a child’s Social Emotional performance. Teachers at Altoona 8th Street Child Care are required to perform and submit ASQs' biannually.


Learning Environment

Parents often ask what their child is gaining from centers. It may seem like play but your little one is hard at work exploring and learning with the centers we plan on the weekly theme. Our activities are open ended and can be adapted based on the developmental level of each child. When you get home you may ask your child what they did at school. Our goal is their response will be “play”. We want the children to feel like they are playing and having fun while they are learning all these important skills. Our teachers at Altoona 8th Street are trained using a national recognized tool (ERS) to create the most conducive learning environment for our children. 

There are four Environment Rating Scales (ERS), each designed for a different segment of the early childhood field.

  • Each one of the scales has items to evaluate: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Provisions for Parent and Staff.

  • The scales are suitable for use in evaluating inclusive and culturally diverse programs.

  • The scales have proven reliability and validity.



Altoona 8th Street Child Care works with multiple outside resources to provide comprehensive care and education. We partner with United Way of Iowa, Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, Child Care Resource and Referral, Heartland AEA, One Step Visiting Nurse Services, and Dental Connections. These organizations support Altoona 8th Street's efforts to create the highest quality learning environment for your children. Consultants work closely to provide our Director, teachers, and families with guidance and requirements for care provided, this ensures your little ones are receiving the best care and education possible.

Ready to join the Altoona 8th Street Child Care family?


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