NDC has a child-centered philosophy where self-reliance and self -direction help build strong self-confidence. Children learn by doing. The staff at NDC support the children in this by standing ready to give children the help they need to accomplish their goals, such as dressing themselves, climbing a tall climber, using a scissors, entering into a game, or navigating a conflict. These skills and many more are important for school readiness and practice is needed to develop them. What looks like play to us is the work of growing up.

At NDC all ages are mixed. The older children learn from the younger children as well as teach them. The same is true with the younger children. These mixed ages create opportunities to teach respect and care for self and others in a safe, fun and educational environment. NDC follows a basic daily schedule, and children move freely from one area of activity to another throughout the day. This allows opportunities for communication practice and friendship building skills.

Art, music, dance and stories also play a part in our program. We offer 2 art projects a day and 3 story times. Children are encouraged to develop their individuality through art, by creating for themselves, with a vast array of art supplies offered. Art is to be explored and enjoyed by the artist. Again self-reliance and decision making practice helps build strong self-esteem. The story times are also called piano time at NDC, and teachers use this time to tell interesting stories, sing songs, do finger plays, yoga and movement exercises. These are opportunities to build listening and comprehension skills for school.

The outdoor learning environment is an integral part of our program philosophy. We do not have chain link fence around our very large playground. We teach children about trust by trusting them to stay within the centers boundaries. Our very educational play ground provides ample space and opportunity for running, jumping, climbing and swinging, sledding, bike riding and digging for bugs and worms. You will hear the shouts of kids having a great time if you are walking downtown Northfield. It is what we strive to create…A happy childhood.