With more than 100 years of service providing early education and care to infants, toddlers and preschoolers, Ida Barbour Early Learning Center (IBELC) is accomplishing its mission to prepare children for success in school, in the community and in life. IBELC teachers are taking the whole child approach to their development. Children need a variety of skills to become successful students. Ida Barbour Early Learning Center supports their learning in the key areas of language, motor, math skills as well as social and personal skills.

The Creative Curriculum

IBELC is in the process of adopting The Creative Curriculum, the nationally recognized, award-winning curriculum developed by Teaching Strategies ( Research has proven its success in preparing children ages birth to three to enter school ready to learn. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation (HRCF) awarded IBELC a three-year grant to fund implementation of the Creative Curriculum program, materials and training.

The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos translates research and theory from the field of early childhood education into a practical approach to working with children and their families. It is a comprehensive curriculum with a clear organizational structure and a particular focus on routines and experiences. Balancing both teacher-directed and child-initiated learning (often labeled the Montessori approach), this curricula emphasizes responding to children’s learning styles and building on their strengths and interests. Resting on a firm foundation of research, it offers a practical, easy-to-understand approach to working with children and their families.

The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, & Twos offers the following major features:

  • Focuses on the Five Central Components of nurturing care and teaching.
  • The Routines and Experiences essential for the development and learning of children birth to age 3
  • Maintaining Flexibility to respond to the changing interests and abilities of young children.
  • 38 Objectives for Development & Learning – a tool to help teachers observe children effectively and explain the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that matter most to the continuing development and learning of very young children.
  • Predictors of school success and o Aligned with State Learning Standards
  • Two Dedicated Objectives for English-language acquisition

The Creative Curriculum for Preschool enables children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills, meeting state early standards and is aligned with Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.

Raising A Reader

IBELC also employs the Raising A Reader curriculum ( funded by the United Way of South Hampton Roads. The Raising A Reader take-home book program encourages parents to increase their lap reading time with their child. Each child takes home a red book bag containing four books. Each week the bags are rotated among classmates. Parents are trained to share the books with their child and ask them questions. This method works even for parents who may not have strong reading skills. The RAR training guides parents to discuss the pages and create their own story by talking about the colors, shapes and objects.


IBELC uses the Teaching Strategies GOLD Online assessment tool ( to assist its teachers in making learning assessments. The 38 research-based objectives of development and learning are assessed which are predictors of school success. They are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, state early learning guidelines, and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. This assessment tool can be used in support all types of learners, including children with special needs and those with advanced knowledge and skills. The tool creates online portfolios and state-of-the-art reports, which can be shared with family members and other stakeholders such as United Way of South Hampton Roads, local foundations and investors.

We are United Way of South Hampton Roads Agency #5025 Combined Federal Campaign - South Hampton Roads Agency #28037#