The Children's Center philosophy is based on the belief that we are an extension of the family. Our desire is to provide a supportive and nurturing environment, building a sense of community among parents, children and staff. 

Each child is regarded as a unique individual. We value and celebrate each child's diverse cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic background. In consideration of the whole child, we strive to nourish the mind, body and sense of self for continued growth.

The curriculum at the Children's Center is emergent, based on our belief that children need to be active participants in their own learning. Through this curriculum, we foster a balance among the social, intellectual, physical and emotional aspects of each child’s development. The staff facilitates, guides, and supports each child's natural inclination to challenge themselves, explore, create, take risks and play in an open ended environment. 

Academic concepts are woven into every part of the curriculum, challenging children to think critically and become engaged in the process of learning.  This occurs through the creative arts, gardening, animal care, creative writing, children's literature, block play, games/puzzles, sand, water, outdoor gross motor play and walks through the Orange Coast College campus. 

All this occurs in a physical environment designed to teach children the tools for peaceful respectful living.  Respect and responsibility for ourselves, others and the environment is modeled daily through relationship building and the care of our farm animals and large organic garden.

Program Goals and Objectives

The children's daily program provides age-appropriate activities that meet Children's Center goals and objectives. A weekly lesson plan created by the teaching staff features curriculum designed to meet the unique needs of each child and goals of each class.

The main goals and objectives of the Harry and Grace Steele Children's Center are to provide each child with the opportunity to:

  • develop a positive self-image
  • experience personal empowerment, competence and independence, which can then be assimilated into each child's family as it applies to their culture and values
  • develop relationships with adults and other children
  • initiate query, exploration, and discovery in the classroom and outdoor environment to gain knowledge, skills and to build experiences
  • develop critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • gain an understanding of a peaceful and nonviolent coexistence
  • grow in appreciation for his/her own cultural diversity and gain an understanding and respect for other diverse beliefs and cultural backgrounds
  • develop appreciation and respect for the environment and all living things
  • create a balance between quiet and active play

Program Components

  • Quality child care and education
  • Parent enrichment and participation opportunities
  • Resource and referral services (on & off campus)

Child Assessment and Daily Observation

The teaching staff assesses each child’s overall growth and development.

Teachers record individual progress toward the achievement of goals for children:

  • Children are personally and socially competent.
  • Children are effective learners.
  • Children show physical and motor competence.
  • Children are safe and healthy.

The assessment of children and daily observation drives the curriculum which in turn, supports the learning and acquisition of skills in preparation for Kindergarten.