Our Philosophy and Your Child’s Learning
We have created an environment where children are given the necessary tools to build self-awareness and self-esteem – A place for children to deepen their respect for others and the environment and to think independently and creatively. We foster imagination, exploration, ingenuity and compassion to help children become active problem solvers and creative members of our community.
We believe children need a place to feel empowered, comfortable and safe to be ready to explore, investigate and experiment with their surroundings. It is our philosophy to design curriculum around children’s interests, change schedules to meet the group’s needs/wants and include children’s ideas in classroom planning.
Our goal is to help foster creative, independent, critical thinkers!
This is the philosophy write-up for the website… but let me explain how this works in our classrooms.
Socialization is the primary experience parents have traditionally sought from their child’s preschool years. Pre-schools have historically used a play-based model for children to learn how to cooperate, explore and integrate themselves into a school environment. We have expanded these concepts to include a creative, problem solving, and active approach to learning. Children are required to adapt to a faster, demanding curriculum as they enter Elementary School. We are striving to make this an easy transition for them.
Our mornings start off with “free-play” where children interact with each other and the room on their own schedule. We also have our tables set up with activities that resemble “centers” in Kindergarten. Our activities are art based to specifically build small motor skills and creative thinking. This helps your child build self-esteem as they create and take pride in their accomplishments. We help children see the world through shape, by drawing and building – a lot! I believe this helps later with letter formation, recognizing pattern, and enabling them to feel comfortable drawing their ideas for story building.
Almost everyone calls this their art school… and yes, we are crafty – but giving children the great supplies and skills enables them to take pride in their creations and helps ingrain the skill or concept being reinforced behind the craft. Children tend to repeat what they enjoyed, and build self-esteem along with skills.
We move from morning activities to lunch where we use place-mats we have made to play name games, letter recognition, and the spelling of friends’ names. “Circle Time” comes next, where we explore all aspects of story through our monthly theme. We work on letter recognition, rhyming, and beginning sounds. We read stories and explore ideas like – who is telling the story, what may happen next, why something may have happened, what the child would do in the situation, and alternative endings. We “write” stories together when exploring a genre (like our fairy tales), “write” books about themes we are learning (ourselves, letters, the weather), and we “write” our memories, hopes and feelings in our journals. This all helps children build imagination and expressive language to build strong readers and writers in the future. Our goal – this is a natural part of your child’s thought process and not just a reading lesson later.
We move on to physical activities after story. We are lucky enough to have plenty of space and venues in which to run, jump and play. We work on group games to learn how to be a team and follow directions and set rules. We work on gross motor skills – kicking, running, balance, and hand-eye coordination. And we play – on bikes, trampolines, scooters and swings.
We end our day with snack and work in the math, science and phonics room. The games available build reasoning skills and reinforce language and phonics. We play counting games, build patterns, work on letter formations, puzzle skills, and computer games.
All of this learning is done through games and play. We adapt the skills to the age level and abilities of the child. Each of our years we lay the groundwork for the next year. I use scaffolding as a teaching tool – and as you see we often explore the same themes in each group and repeat some themes each school year. This enables us to comfortably move your child to more and more complex concepts and skills through familiar exercises and themes. For example, the theme of “all about me” is worked on in the 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. We also visit this theme each year, making it easier to add skills and concepts as we age. Children make the same book about themselves, yet the concepts we talk about differ. The 2’s use the pages that talk about eyes and hair to learn colors and language. The 3’s use the same pages to build coloring skills, writing skills, count all the colors in the class and explore a bar chart. The 4’s use the pages to create a bar chart, sort by color, count, compare larger groups of color to smaller, find difference between groups, and compare class to themselves. We use these as math exercises in counting, adding and subtracting as well as writing practice to fill out our pages.
We believe that all teaching methods and philosophies don’t always work for every child, and usually don’t always work for any child all the time. We therefore blend Waldorf ideas, Montessori Methods, Play based and Academic Center based learning into an environment that adapts and meets our children’s needs as they grow – Welcome to On School Road!