Wisteria Preschool is a privately owned preschool, located in Allen, nestled amongst trees and nature. We opened our doors in August 2017. The building design is inspired by a European farmhouse with lots of windows, creating classrooms full of natural light, connected to nature and letting the outdoors in. We are a family and educator run business, founded by Ms Shamsa Tanvir, Ms Sabiha Tanvir and Ms Hiba Tanvir. Our vision is to provide a wholesome learning experience in a creative and aesthetically pleasing environment, with a program that allows all facets of a child’s personality to evolve and exposes them to a range of educational and extracurricular activities.
I bet you are thinking Why did we combine the 2 approaches? We have combined the Reggio and Montessori approach because do not believe any one approach can completely and adequately serve the needs of the 'new child', who is more curious, has a need for more diverse experiences, is an innovative learner, and has infinite potential. We believe by combining these two approaches and taking best practices from each we can give children a more well rounded learning experience. It took three years of planning, hard work, dedication and patience for our dream to blossom into a reality called “Wisteria Preschool”.
We have over 50 years of collective Early childhood experience. We spent 13 years running a Montessori, combining the Montessori philosophy with a program of music, art, and movement. However a core group of Montessori teachers and we felt strongly that the development of creativity was something not necessarily encouraged in the Montessori classroom. We began hearing about the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy in early 2000 and were immediately intrigued with the beautiful environments and sense of passionate commitment of their educators. We began our search to learn more. We attended our first workshop in the town of Reggio Emilia in 2009. Our biggest struggle has been to create an awareness amongst parents about Reggio Emilia and how both approaches are progressive approaches to learning and can benefit from borrowing from each other. We found most parents were familiar with only 2 approaches, a day care model and Montessori. Most traditional Montessori we found have become so rigid in their learning philosophy by not wanting to deviate from the teaching of Maria Montessori, that they have lost out on the spirit of the approach which was very progressive and forward thinking for its time. Most traditional Montessori do not incorporate the changing needs of children and the need for creative and artistic learning.
The Montessori and Reggio philosophies each have their own energies. The Montessori energy is individual, sequential, ordered, independent, linear, historical, pre-determined, methodical, rigid, controlled movement, structured, predictable. The Reggio Emilia energy is group-centered, cooperative, collaborative, social, open-ended, spiral, expressive process, new age, flexible, spontaneous, open movement, fluid, freely expressive.
Montessori has a pre-determined curriculum and materials set by the teacher with the information flowing from the teacher to the children, more receptive approach from the child’s point of view. Hypotheses are adult established. The emphasis is of a vertical nature. Reggio’s learning is determined by the children and teachers in collaboration—in a co-learning context—with the ideas flowing between children and teachers and an expressive approach. The emphasis is horizontal.
Montessori classroom walls are traditionally bare and visually quiet to focus the children’s attention on the learning materials on the shelves. Reggio Emilia’s classrooms walls are filled with documentation of the children’s explorations and experiences - photos, conversations, and visual expressions. The walls of the environment are used a tool of reflection and re-visiting by the children, parents and teachers. They share several points of intersection and connection - both follow the child and enjoy a prepared environment; in fact see the environment the third teacher. In both approaches parents are important. Montessori and Reggio both see the child as competent, resourceful and independent; with a key component added—the child is viewed as rich and powerful, with rights rather than needs in the Reggio philosophy.
At Wisteria Preschool we believe education is not a need but a right. The Reggio Emilia philosophy challenges us to rethink, refigure, reflect on our view of the child, our view of the daily life of children (curriculum), the role of the teacher, the role of the parents, the role of the environment, and there is no end to the challenge. This partnership between Montessori and Reggio is a purposeful decision, which we as early childhood educators have undertaken because we believe provides for a stronger early childhood foundation.
At Wisteria, We Believe "School is not just a preparation for life; it is life itself"
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