Wonders is a nonprofit provider of accredited early childhood education, before/after school, and summer camps with flexible programs for children two months through sixth grade with eight locations in Washington, DC and Maryland.
Wonders Early Learning
Ages 8 weeks to 5 years — Infants, Toddlers, Preschool, Pre-K
View all Wonders’ early learning programs
Wonders’ early learning programs are designed to nurture each child’s social and emotional development while providing learning experiences that enhance development.
Infants and toddlers are respected and responded to as individuals. Infants are not expected to conform to a set schedule; instead their caregivers use flexible schedules for feeding, diapering, sleeping and playing to meet each infant’s needs. As the toddlers’ desire for independence increases, we provide them with more and more opportunities to make choices and to interact with their surroundings.
Preschoolers’ learning is thoughtfully and intentionally supported in the areas of language arts, mathematical thinking, science, social studies, the arts, motor skills and social-emotional learning. Children learn skills to help them take care of themselves and each other. The teachers guide children in their discoveries and foster the skills of life-long learning.
Activities are based on the premise that children learn by doing. We believe that your child will discover and learn by making the decisions needed to work through an activity, rather than being told exactly how to accomplish a task. As a result of this process-oriented approach, you will find that no two art projects look the same. Your child will discover many individual approaches to accomplish a task. We support the interests of each child, helping him or her grow in his or her social-emotional and cognitive skill development through hands-on experimentation with materials and concepts. Curriculum planning in all of our early childhood programs is guided by The Creative Curriculum, a comprehensive, research-based approach to teaching. We believe in using teaching methods that match the way children develop and learn. Creative Curriculum Gold is accepted across the country as a leading tool for preparing children for Kindergarten by providing authentic, ongoing assessment of children from infants through age five. Effective observation is the key to planning appropriate early childhood learning experiences and helping all children succeed.
Your participation in your child’s school experience supports your child’s learning and growth. As a nonprofit, we require that every family of children enrolled in our early childhood program volunteer ten (10) hours per year (whether one or multiple children enrolled).
There are several ways that family members can volunteer:
- Serving on the Family Advisory Council
- Chaperone for field trips
- Room parent
- Room photographer
- Materials preparation
- Story reader
- Routine maintenance
- Sharing hobbies, work-related information
- Library helper
- Program support
- Serving on the Wonders Board of Directors
- E-mail list coordinator
- Community partnerships
- Grant writing
- Minor repairs and equipment assembly
- Playground clean-up
- Organizing and/or staffing for the Politics and Prose Book Fair
- Organizing and/or staffing for the Wonders Family Picnic
Family conferences will be held twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. If requested, arrangements can be made for additional meetings. These opportunities for parents and teachers to partner in a focus on your child. We will review your child’s progress in all areas of development as well as to set goals for continued growth and learning. On a daily basis, we will be sharing information with you about your child.
Wonders Family Advisory Council
The Wonders Family Advisory Council is focused on supporting the collaboration between the families and the administration of each of our early childhood programs. Members of the Council serve as liaisons between parents and the program directors at each site and the administrative team. The Council also plans parent education workshops throughout the school year. New Council members are welcome at any time during the year.
Council member responsibilities:
- Attend four Council meetings a year
- Develop a working knowledge of Wonders program policies and procedures
- Communicate information, as needed, to families
- Communicate feedback such as ideas, concerns, suggestions to program staff
- Welcome new families to the classroom
- Plan parent education workshops
- Recruit and organize parent volunteers
- Help organize center-wide events (potlucks, etc.)
- Help communicate and encourage Wonders development efforts (fundraising)
An email list of Council members is provided to facilitate communication throughout the year. Please direct questions or suggestions to Joanne Hurt.
Wonders Extended Day
Ages 5-12 years — Before School, After School, School Age, Extended Day
View all Wonders’ extended day programs
Wonders’ extended day programs offer opportunities for continued learning, from school-day continuity to social-emotional growth.
Before school, the extended day curriculum is designed as a gentle transition time from home to school. Children have the opportunity to read, finish homework, play board games or create artwork. Outside time and active games are also offered.
After school, the extended day curriculum is built around themes that are of interest to the children. This theme-based curriculum incorporates seven learning areas: language and literacy, mathematical thinking, scientific thinking, social studies, personal and social development, physical development and the arts. Within each theme, there are opportunities to explore and experience activities that are meaningful to them. The curriculum is a balance of child-initiated and teacher-initiated activities including outdoor play-to-learn, snack, homework, reading, group time and choice-times.
On days when the location school has early dismissal or is closed, our program will be in operation. We use these opportunities to enhance our curriculum by planning events, inviting specialists in to share their expertise, or exploring the larger community on field trips.
We welcome families to chaperone a field trip, join us for breakfast or plan to join us in a planned activity. We appreciate how hectic mornings and evenings can be for families, but you are always welcome.
Information for Programs and Locations
Multicultural and Social Justice Education
A vital aspect of our program is our commitment to multicultural and social justice education. We carefully create an environment that reflects not only the cultures of the families we serve but the world around us. We believe this validates children’s experiences, teaches the importance of valuing similarities and differences and builds the connection between home and school.
Guiding children to accept and respect individual differences is an integral part of our program. We provide an inclusive learning environment through an engaging curriculum, service learning and by promoting respectful relationships.
Wonders defines family as “People living together either related or not who care for and love one another.” Our goal is to be inclusive of the groupings that constitute a family system and we encourage children to share aspects of their home lives. When the children have questions about family, we attempt to answer them honestly and with sensitivity to individual circumstances. We understand that each family may approach this topic in a unique way. Our goal is to support these efforts in any way that we can.
Wonders makes every effort to accommodate children with special needs. We work closely with families to assess our ability to meet their child’s needs and establish an open dialogue to ensure a successful experience in a Wonders program. Classroom teachers receive focused training to provide them with the tools needed to make the classroom accessible and supportive. If it is determined that one-on-one support is necessary, we will discuss arrangements with your family.
We have a partnership with Amy Egan MA Special Education and Amy Freedman, MA, CCC-SLPof Child Development Consultants LLC; they are a unique developmental team who provide support for staff, children, and families in local childcare centers, nursery schools and independent schools. They are co-authors of the nationally recognized parenting book “Is It A Big Problem or A Little Problem? When to Worry, When Not to Worry, and What to Do.” They also hold lectures and workshops throughout the country for parents and early childhood education professionals. Check here for more information about the team and reviews of their book: http://www.childdc.com/