Our Philosophy and Curricular Elements
The philosophy of the school is built upon the foundation of educational theories that have stood the test of time through study and practice. Modern perspective and continual study informs our current practice, and our faculty are deeply engaged in thinking together and continuing to refine the work of supporting the growth, development, and learning of the children in their care.
We draw primarily on the Reggio Emilia approach, which sees children as competent, curious, and collaborative and requires a deep respect for them as individuals and important citizens of the world. At the core of our philosophy, we see the child as a competent, capable protagonist in their own learning. We believe the child has the right to nurturing caregivers and an environment that supports their learning and is inclusive of their individual identity as well as that of their family.
We also employ constructivist theory, which is founded on the understanding that meaning is made by the learner, not given by the teacher. At the heart of the constructivist theory is the idea that children learn through real-life, authentic experiences within a social context. We work hard to help children develop critical thinking skills as they uncover and explore their own ideas through the process of theory development and repair.
At the heart of all we do and believe is the idea that human beings learn, grow, and thrive in the context of relationships. Young children learn about their ever-expanding world around them through the people they encounter and depend on. Parents are primary in this context, and we feel honored by and deeply devoted to the idea that, as educators, the relationships we build with children and families are also of vital importance in their growth and development.
We work to partner with families through parent-teacher communication as well as opportunities to focus more deeply as a team in supporting a child’s journey. In addition to classroom teachers, parents collaborate with members of the administrative team. Our infant and early childhood mental health consultant works mainly with teachers, administrators, and parents through observations in classrooms, team meetings, screenings, and referrals. We offer parents a developmental screening at least once per year.
As a school, we have a concentrated focus on anti-bias education, which involves coming together to learn about, value, and support all dimensions of human differences including but not limited to race, culture, language, gender, ability, and sexual orientation. We use the Amaze Everone Matters Early Childhood Curriculum, which supports the exploration of these themes through high quality children’s literature.
In addition to experiences with classroom teachers, children in the school also interact with specialists and special environments. All children benefit from a weekly visit with our music specialist that involves singing, dancing, and playing with musical instruments. Children in the “threes and fours” program also have a weekly session with Acting out Literacy where they explore social themes and problem solve through story drama.