Inclusive Early Childhood Program

Our Educational Approach

We believe that all children deserve to be valued, loved, and respected as individuals. As such, at the Learning Garden, we strive to nurture those principles in our daily interactions with children and their families. We believe that child learn though play. It’s a simple reality of children’s brain development that play nourishes and enriches a child’s indispensable social, emotional, and educational understanding of the world. That’s why our program is specifically designed to encourage all children to learn and grow.

Children are active learners that acquire the most information and skills when they are actively engaged in hands on experiences. Our responsibility is to provide these enriching experiences that encourage exploration and critical skill development.  We practice an emergent curriculum focusing on the children’s individual needs and interests. The children are an active participant in planning changes to our environment and learning experiences.  Through this process your child will learn essential life and critical thinking skills that will enable him/her to reach their fullest potential.

Our learning environments are inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education.  The classroom space in and includes a variety of textures, natural elements, and space for privacy. The environments are designed with separate learning areas including science, math, fine motor, building, dramatic , sensory and art.  The following factors are inherent to an educational approach modeled on the Reggio Emilia philosophy:

1) The image of the child – How are children viewed by the staff, represented in the environment and    learning process. We believe that children are competent, powerful and an integral part of our community and program;

2) Expressive arts – rich, hands-on expressive art experiences that are used as learning opportunities. Our program provides a wide variety of expressive art opportunities including but not limited to painting, sculpting, dancing, music, puppets, dramatic play, construction and writing.

3) Progettazione – This word is loosely translated to refer to an emergent curriculum approach.  Teachers pair their observations, assessment and documentation of the children’s interests and skill levels with intentional preparation of the environment and learning experiences.  This intentional thoughtful approach to curriculum recognizes that the environment, learning experiences and interactions of the teachers make up the cornerstones of an enriched learning experience for the children.

4) Community and parent-school relationships – The Reggio approach is founded on the belief that we learn through making connections between things, concepts and experiences and that this occurs through interactions with other people and with our surrounding environment.  We believe that a child enrolled in our program is a family enrolled. We understand that a child cannot reach their fullest potential without partnership with the child’s family.  As such, families are encouraged to actively participate in our program. Parents are welcome to share their interests and talents, participate on planning and policy committees or just come in share a meal with us. We have an open door policy, no appointment is necessary…You are most welcome!

5) Environment – Our environment is designed to facilitate relationships, support competence and  encourage participation, discovery and exploration.  The environment is viewed as the “third teacher” in the classroom as it is integral to the learning and teaching relationship. It is never the same as it evolves with the children’s interests and developmental needs. This intentionality extends to both the indoor and outdoor learning environments.

6) Teachers as learners – Our staff strive to know each child as an individuals and foster nurturing, trusting relationships.  They recognize that they are co-researchers with the children as they travel on their learning journey testing their ideas and hypotheses.