Our curriculum is unique because it has developed and evolved through 40 years of experience and observing children. We 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.
In designing our curriculum, we have used the Reggio Emilia pedagogy as the foundation and combined it with the Montessori philosophy. Our philosophy is a blend of theory and practice that challenges educators to see children as competent and capable learners in the context of both group work and individual learning. Our program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.
What is Reggio Emilia?
The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was developed after World War II by a teacher, Loris Malaguzzi, and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy. The Reggio Emilia approach believes that children are endowed with "a hundred languages" through which they can express their ideas. The aim of this approach is teaching how to use these symbolic languages (e.g., painting, sculpting, drama) in everyday life. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is a way of observing what children know, are curious about and what challenges them. Teachers record these observations to reflect on developmentally appropriate ways to help children expand their academic and social potentials. Long term projects connect core academic areas in and out of the classroom. Projects provide the backbone of the children’s and teachers’ learning experiences. They are based on the strong convictions that learning by doing is of great importance and that to discuss in group and to revisit ideas and experiences is the premier way of learning. Emergent Curriculum is a way of teaching and learning that requires teachers to observe and listen to the children. Teachers ask questions and listen for the children’s ideas, hypotheses and theories. After observing children in action, the teachers compare, discuss, and interpret their observations. Teachers plan activities, studies and long term projects in the classroom based on their observations. Teachers partner with children and the exchange of theories are referred to as the Cycle of Inquiry. Learning is seen not as a linear process but as a spiraling progression.
What is Montessori?
Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori. It is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. A Montessori environment focuses more on a student's learning than on a teacher's teaching. Montessori believed that children educate themselves. Children are born to learn, and they are remarkable learning systems. But what they learn depends greatly on their teachers, experiences, and environments. This is the concept of the absorbent mind. Montessori believed there are sensitive periods when children are more susceptible to certain behaviors and can learn specific skills more easily. One role of the teacher is to use observation to detect times of sensitivity and provide the setting for optimum fulfillment. Montessori believed that children learn best in a prepared environment, a place in which children can do things for themselves. The prepared environment makes learning materials and experiences available to children in an orderly format. Since children within the environment are free to explore materials of their own choosing, they absorb what they find there.