Our teaching approach is eclectic, utilizing the best of what is known today in the field of Early Childhood Education, including Montessori and Bank Street:
We regard school as an extension of your home. We want to make your child feel important, included, and validated in school.
How blessed and privileged we are to help in the guidance of your children. We do our work professionally, with sensitivity to and mindfulness of the impressions we are making on the children. All of our teachers have been hand chosen for love of children and the ability to empathize with them. Children who love their teachers perform better in all areas of preschool life. In our teaching approach, therefore, how a child feels is just as important to us as how s/he is mastering the academic component of our curriculum.
A Spiritual Vision for Education:
We want our school to be not only an extension of your families, but also a window on the world that will plant the seeds of empathy in all young children. We create age-appropriate activities to help the children realize that they can help make the world a better place for all. This must be done in a way that they can understand and relate to, and shelters them from the terrible tragedies and appalling conditions that are all too common in our world. We encourage the children to become aware of others, and sensitive to problems on which they, at their tender age, can exert a positive impact.
Throughout the year, we contribute to several charities that help under-privileged children, animals at risk, services for the elderly, etc., and get the children involved (together with their parents) in ways that are truly helpful.
Philosophical Building Blocks
Our curriculum blends the best in Early Childhood Education, including Montessori, Bank Street, Reggio Emilia, Whole Language, and good old fun, combining it with our own Early Childhood French Program and our 35+ years of experience working with preschoolers
Silliness…Without which, nothing serious can be accomplished!
This is a child’s first separation from home. We consider it an honor that you trust us to gain the children’s confidence. Our teachers’ list of qualifications must include a “silly gene” in addition to their academic degrees: children thrive on laughter and fun. Our teachers must also have the gift of compassion and empathy, so that they can relate to what it feels like to be a young child who is relying on them to take the place temporarily of their parents. We accomplish this first and foremost by making your child feel comfortable and secure.
The essence of the Montessori philosophy is to create a better world by nurturing the spirit of each child. This nurturing includes cultivating awe and wonder, respecting nature, accepting others, and fostering virtues of love, kindness, and compassion.
Montessori also emphasizes the mastery of common daily activities, “practical life skills”. Daily classroom examples include watering plants using eyedroppers to develop digital dexterity, pouring their own drink from a pitcher, activities that encourage independence and confidence. We teach early reading using Montessori reading games and the movable alphabet, invented by Maria Montessori, which enables a child to form words without having attained the manual skills needed for writing. These activities are all done playfully and without pressure. This incorporates Montessori philosophy of introducing these skills now, at this “Sensitive Period for Language”.
In keeping with Bank Street philosophy, our social studies themes are interdisciplinary and collaborative. Children’s understanding and knowledge are engaged by immersing them in-depth, through related activities in science, language arts, block building, drama, French, cooking, math, art, and trips. Children make discoveries from their own observations, explorations and experiences.
Bank Street focuses on “educating the whole child – the intellectual, emotional, and physical aspects of the person.”
Bank Street presents open-ended activities in a variety of ways, to expand creativity, imagination and individual thinking.
Children, teachers and parents are considered the three pillars in the educational process. Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes and projects, and guide experiences of discovery and problem solving. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration, discovery, recycling, etc. This is done in a supportive and enriching environment, based on the interests of the children, shaped into a self-guided curriculum. Parents and the community are a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. They are viewed as partners and collaborators in our school-wide projects. Projects are based on the children’s ideas, which are respected, and provide the source of the activity.
The whole-language process involves children in learning about language as they use it in ways that are meaningful to them. Children experience written and oral language as an integrated, vital part of every area of the curriculum and every part of their day. In this way, children begin to understand its function and appreciate its use. This is why our lessons are all literature based.
Second Language – French
Early childhood is the privileged entry point for foreign language acquisition. Children whose articulatory skills have yet to calcify can reproduce the sounds of a second (or third) language much easier than adults. We also hope to provide a foundation for the French language and to foster a fascination with foreign languages and cultures in general.
Our Philosophy in Action
1. We emphasize the importance of observing the children and following their “sensitive” periods when they are most receptive to learning. If a child shows an early interest in learning to read, we have the resources to make it happen. We believe there is no arbitrary age for reading acquisition. Using the child’s cue as our guide, we avoid pressure in any direction. Children must grow and learn at their own pace.
2. We believe learning and play should be integrated. Phonics, for example, is taught through many songs, and games. Science is introduced with hands-on activities.
3. We believe in learning through discovery with sand and water projects, play with blocks, large-scale art, easel and finger-painting.
4. We respond to the children’s need for independence. They want to do things for themselves, real things, adult things. We provide opportunities for pouring their own juice from small pitchers, preparing the fruits and vegetables for their snack, hanging up their own coats on special hooks at their level, washing tables and chairs, and choosing their own materials from low open shelves.
5. We organize the classroom for individual as well as group work. We never insist that children join a group activity. Their right to work alone is respected. Children will join in groups when they are ready. They need to see themselves first as empowered, accomplishing individuals. Here at school, they do have ample opportunity to participate in group activities during outdoor play, in rhythm and circle games and during snack time.
6. We favor inter-aging. Mixed-age groups provide the most natural setting for socialization. Younger children see the older ones as models. Older children have the opportunity to help the younger ones, building their own competence and self esteem.
7. One of our primary objectives is to help the children create a calm, cooperative classroom. We incorporate strategies that lead to mutual respect – teachers respecting children and children respecting one another. The concept of sharing is a learned skill. Through practice, they gradually understand that others have rights too.
8. Above all we aim to create an atmosphere of fun – a happy, secure place where children want to be.