Our Pre-school Program is built upon the philosophy of leading experts such as: Maria Montessori Jean Piaget and Vygotsky as well as the inspiration that has come out of the Reggio Emilia approach, which is hailed as an exemplary model of Early Childhood Education (Newsweek, 1991). We use the Reggio approach as a resource as we continue to develop our program.
At the Children’s Studio, we are dedicated to encouraging the kind of learning that will last a lifetime. Our children master all the traditional preschool skills, as well as the 21st century skills of critical thinking, and problem solving. Environments are planned in a way that considers opportunities for interesting challenges, feelings of competency and a sense of belonging. Teachers have a clear understanding that learning through the senses and providing and supporting the unique needs and preferences of the children, play an important role in learning. As children explore materials, test their own ideas, and share their own theories, they become active participants in their learning, experiencing the excitement and joy of their own creativity and expertise. We see the children as the co-constructors of their own learning, building their knowledge within the framework of positive family and teacher guidance, fluid social interactions and thoughtful learning environments.
The space is organized for small and large group activities, with small quiet spaces for one or two children. Block and Dramatic Play often set the stage for children to express their understanding of the physical world in which they live. From the beginning stage of stacking and balancing blocks, to the creation of elaborate building and cities, children are viewed as problem solvers and collaborators. Block play enhances our core Social Studies projects, as children are encouraged to use blocks to represent and then build on their knowledge of family, communities and the larger world. Creativity is expanded through the encouragement to make their own accessories from found or throw away materials. Language emerges as children work collaboratively in small groups planning and executing the next steps of a construction.
Science and Math opportunities occur in both a formal and informal manner. Teachers plan experiences, that consider the social as well as the academic importance of Math and Science. We believe that children come to school with their own ideas about how the world works. We know they have many questions and can generate their own explanations. We believe it is our responsibility to nurture this associated thinking process through a well-prepared environment and thoughtful responses to a child’s everyday experiences. Teachers will challenge children to test their theories and explain their outcomes as they navigate through each day and progress toward more formal understandings of mathematical and scientific concepts.
As the children work in small groups exploring various provocations and materials, interaction with teachers and peers begin to reveal topics for possible Long-Term Investigations. Our strong belief in active participatory learning is reinforced as our studies evolve. Planning changes are made to the environment, and a variety of multi-sensory activities are used each day as individuals and groups of children work and play together. Class schedules are designed with built-in flexibility which gives sufficient time for children to express and expand upon their ideas. The observed learning paths of the children become the most important source of knowledge for teachers, as they guide the children through the next step of a project. As one thing leads to the next, children are encouraged to consider and reconsider their work with peers and teachers. We believe this multiple perspective approach promotes both a sense of individual uniqueness as well as group membership.