Learning Experiences, spontaneous explorations and our daily rituals are our “curriculum”. and learning laboratory. They are the threads that weave regularly through everything that we do. They are our passions.
In our society, much focus is placed on the intellectual aspect of schooling, to the detriment of other parts that are essential to humanity and our well-being. This doesn’t have to be. Intellectual capacities do not have to be developed in exclusion of other vital aspects of our growth. We seek to awaken the whole child to nurture complete, fulfilled human beings.
The learning experiences represented here span our personal work with children from 18 mos to 3rd grade and over a period of 27 years. This website is newish and we are continuously importing learning stories from our other databases to include in this working portfolio. Please come back and join us regularly! Better yet, start a dialogue with the learners!
It’s all about connection and empathy. Our approach is to nurture empathy and a love for the natural world, creating ripe conditions for transformative experiences.
In early childhood, children’s deep relationship with nature, and their growing love for it, happens in their yards, close to home and other much loved and familiar places. It is here in the crack of the sidewalk, by a favorite tree, or the chipmunk hole under the garage that children learn to love the earth.
Mindfulness, Yoga and the Heart
We have a regular practice of yoga that includes breathing practices, movement, mindful eating, mindful and experiential listening, communicating, and exploring our felt sense and emotions. These practices create a profound space and opportunity for deep learning about ourselves and our interconnection with all beings.
Seva or Selfless Service
Seva (a sanskrit word) is a service which is performed without any expectation. “Helping out is not some special skill. It is not the domain of rare individuals. It is not confined to a single part of our lives. We simply heed the call of that natural impulse within and follow it where it leads us.” -Ram Dass
Science isn’t just knowledge, it’s a way of thinking about the world. It is our attempt to make sense of things that we see and learn how the world works. Young children are natural scientists, and their innate curiosity is the key to the scientific thinking and the forming of questions and theories about how things work. Why does the turtle close up his shell? Why do the leaves fall off? How does the apple peeler work?
Technology can be a valuable tool in an early childhood classroom. We use it as another form of representation, like a paintbrush, or markers. We also use technology to capture and hold on to our ideas, and projects and provide graphic placeholders through photographs, video, audio and mind maps.
Engineering and Tinkering
Our engineering focus is on the exploration of Unit Blocks, Ramps and Pathways and woodworking. This gives us many opportunities for young children to explore and experiment with concepts, including balance, gravity, friction, scale in their constructions and their design concepts.
Like other domains, mathematical thinking is woven into our day, in and out of daily experiences and in context, solving real-world problems. We build on children’s prior knowledge and utilize spontaneous discoveries to further their understanding of mathematical concepts.
Language and Literacy
The way that children play and the materials that they incorporate into their every day play is highly influenced and reflected by their environment. We offer a literacy rich environment that inspires and encourages children to use environmental print, and to create signs, tickets, and mind maps to support their work and play. Thus the nature of the environment has a significant influence on what children learn.
Adventure Play is fundamental and essential play. It’s the play that many of us remember as children and it is becoming more and more rare in our age. Do you remember wandering through woods and vacant lots or fields? Do you remember building forts and special places? Or being called back home at dinner? It’s a right of passage, and necessary to healthy human development.
Art and Representation
Spontaneous art making, messing about, art for a purpose, art for no purpose, representational art, and art history, these are just some of the many reasons for art in our program.
In Reggio Emilia, Italy, art is a medium to express children’s thinking and is thought of as the “Hundred Languages” of children. Children spend time becoming literate with various materials, just like we have become literate in our home language.
Imaginative play is the work of childhood. Unstructured imaginative play in our rich and supportive environment is the backbone of our emergent and negotiated curriculum. Whether play is inside or outside, with the natural world as a backdrop, or with props and other materials, play is where children form Theories of Mind, step in and out of roles, experience other perspectives, and learn and try out new ideas.
Nourishing Food and Health
Our approach to nourishing meals is simple; whole foods, unprocessed, organic or equivalent, and nutritionally dense. We source foods from local, known farmers and farm markets that use sustainable farming practices, and carefully shop and read labels at local groceries.
Story Dramas are a wonderful way to support social learning, or to play with scientific understanding. Science reasons. Story reasons. Social reasons. Story Dramas are really just the art of oral story telling and every day situations or scientific facts presented in an artistic and lively way.
Reflecting upon Experience