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Teaching children through play in a nurturing and diverse community

OUR PROGRAMS

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

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.
Family Participation
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

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.

Wonders Summer Camp

Ages 5-12 years — Before School, After School, School Age, Extended Day

CAMP THEMES

Field trips and special guests, water days, arts + crafts, STEM projects, gardening, games and more! 
Curiosity and creativity while making friends and having fun. 
CULINARY CAMPERS
GREEN THUMB GARDENERS
GREEN OUTDOOR EXPLORERS
SUPER HERO ACADEMY
SUMMER STEAM
WACKY OLYMPICS
ARTISTS AT WORK
*TRAILBLAZERS

Employer Sponsored Child Care

Ages 5-12 years — Before School, After School, School Age, Extended Day

According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s report, The Business Case for High Quality Child Care, “Lack of access to quality and affordable child care is a significant barrier that limits the supply of talent. 
Companies that take an active role in helping their employees secure these services generate billions of dollars a year in revenue due to increased workforce participation.
Maryland Family Network’s Counting our Losses report found that 49% of Maryland parents of children 5 years of age or younger report short-term disruptions to employment in the past 3 months because of issues with child care.
Many employers have made the shift to providing child care to employees or discounted child care as apart of their employee benefits package
  • 69% of parents say that the cost of care has impacted their career decisions. Source: Workplace Survey 2015
  • 25% of parents have switched jobs for better family benefits.
Research has shown that this particular benefit has increased productivity and much success for companies who have included child care as an employee benefit.
  • Employees with access to child care benefits report an increase in work-life balance and engagement. KCE Fortune 100 Client Survey
  • Providing child care support for your employees can significantly reduce turnover and absences. Source: Child Care Council, 2014.
Information for Programs and Locations
Multicultural and Social Justice Education

MULTICULTURAL APPROACH

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.

INCLUSION

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/

 

Early Learning Programs

8 weeks – 5 years

Extended Day Programs

4 – 12 years

Summer Camp

4 – 12 years

Employer-Sponsored Child Care

3.5 – 5 years