We have built a unique learning environment to create an optimal experience for your child. Our large rooms and well-thought-out classroom spaces allow children to feel comfortable exploring space and materials, and encourage interactions with others. There is a designated nap area, away from the regular classroom spaces. The toddler and preschool classrooms have small rooms adjacent to the main rooms as well as art studio space.
Your child will enjoy active play in our large, fenced-in outdoor space that includes hiking trails, rolling hills, swings, climbing trees, willow huts and other small spaces, water and music elements and a vast array of gardens. Our space was recognized as an outstanding play space for young children in the book, Outdoor Playscapes by Rusty Keeler.
Welcome to the Janie Edward’s Infant Room. Our classroom is “home away from home” for children 6 weeks to 18 months of age.
Each infant in the infant room is paired with a primary teacher whose goal is to build trust and a close relationship with both the child and their family. Our three full-time teachers believe, like Magna Gerber did, that “for babies, being who they are is the curriculum.” We trust in the infant’s ability to be an initiator and an explorer who is eager to learn. We follow their lead and provide a responsive learning environment based on their interests. Teachers verbally reflect on the infant’s exploration by describing the activity that they are engaged in. “You pulled the beads apart. That was hard to do.” Not only does this reinforce their learning but it builds confidence in their abilities.
Social emotional development
Infants receive full verbal and physical attention during care giving activities, including diapering, feeding, and settling to sleep. We optimize the value of these times by making eye contact, talking to, and encouraging infants to participate in these activities as their competencies and interests dictate. We also encourage “appropriate” behaviors by talking, modeling and interpreting. For example, we might demonstrate and say “Gentle touches” when a child reaches for another child.
We organize activities that support and encourage infants to play in proximity to each other. Infants are allowed and encouraged to express their feelings. We identify the feeling and then talk about it: “You are crying. It is hard to say goodbye to Mom and Dad.”
We believe infants learn best when they are uninterrupted and have the freedom to explore on their own and in their own time. We provide simple play objects that allow infants to use their imaginations and resources to explore.
Your infant will have safe places to move and explore in our beautiful tree lined play yard. Low stable equipment is provided for infants to pull up and hold on to as well as large muscle equipment to crawl on, slide on, and walk up and down. We have “tummy time” for young infants to strengthen their arm, neck and torso muscles.
Sensory and creative experiences
Your child will have the opportunity to explore all kinds of sensory materials as well as have time to engage in creative activities with crayons, paint, markers, play dough and clay.
We look forward to sharing the children’s explorations with you during bi-annual conferences, classroom documentations, The Weekly Note and daily conversations.
Our toddler rooms (A and B) are multi-age classrooms for children ages 18 months to 3 years old. Three full time teachers in each room regard children as individuals trying to make sense of the world around them, helping continually explore their world and developing their ideas. As powerful individuals with individual needs, toddlers’ temperaments, learning styles and life experiences make them unique. We acknowledge their ability to make choices and encourage them to as much as we can.
We also foster close connections between teachers, parents, and friends. These bonds enable children to view their school as a place where they feel comfortable and are nurtured.
In our carefully planned classroom environment, activities are built based on teacher’s observations of children and how they use materials in the environment. Teachers recognize children’s needs and encourage them to test their theories and construct knowledge. The environment is planned with opportunities for children to test those theories.
Areas in the classroom environment:
- Expressive area: To explore materials such as paint, clay, collage. Children use their visual sense to communicate their feelings and to discover how they can manipulate natural materials and make their mark on the world.
- Literacy: To explore new and familiar places and experiences through books.
- Large motor: To develop large motor skills in an environment that enables children to safely jump, run, crawl, climb and roll around. Large and heavy objects are provided for children to move.
- Music and movement: To explore how their bodies move and are able to express themselves. Through music, children learn to use their senses to become emotionally involved by hearing and moving.
- Dramatic play: To help make sense out of their world by exploring different roles. They use this area to test their theories and better understand social situations. Children also use this area to work through their own emotions.
- Block play: To test their theories on building. They explore weight, balance, shape and numbers as well as many other properties.
- Outdoor play: Outdoor space is an extension of the classroom where children are encouraged to explore their world. They experience all four seasons. There are areas created out of natural materials for children to use their imaginations and explore as they interact with peers and equipment. Children help maintain flower and vegetable gardens throughout the outdoor space.
Social skill development
Since toddlers have a natural curiosity of people, their environment is set up in a manner where they have many opportunities to develop their social skills. The teachers support children as they engage with peers.
Language and communication
Toddlers are constantly learning language, and teachers support children as they develop their communication skills. Children are encouraged to share their ideas and concerns, and to make social connections with peers and adults.
Independence and life skills
Developmentally, toddlers are working to be independent. Independence is supported and encouraged by teachers as children move through their daily routines, washing hands, dressing for outdoor play, learning to use the toilet, cleaning up after meals and making many choices throughout the day.
Teachers recognize the importance of building a trusting relationship with parents and children. They value ongoing communication, offer support, and serve as a resource for parents. Teachers also strive to create a community atmosphere where everyone is appreciated and differences are celebrated. Documentation of children’s experiences are valued and considered as an important way to communicate with families.
The preschool program is a multi-age classroom setting for children from 3 – 5-years old. It is structured as one large classroom with 28 children and four teachers.
Throughout the day, we gather into smaller, intimate home groups consisting of one teacher with seven children. As a Reggio-inspired program, we base our curriculum on the questions and interests of the children in our classroom. Listening carefully to the children and observing their interactions with each other and their environment allows us to learn what interests them. Children contribute to the educational experience by questioning what to study, what topics to tackle, and how to study the topic as part of a group.
Our curriculum is often taught through the use of long-term, investigative projects, where the topics are presented through a variety of activities:
• Group discussion and read-aloud.
• Books, which may be explored at our Teacher Table for children to gather information, ask questions, and draw their interpretation of what they observe.
• Sculpture with clay, wood, and other textures to understand or express a topic.
• Literacy activities, in which children create a book or story.
To support your child’s creativity and well-being, we host visiting artists, musicians, and parent experts at the center each year. Weekly yoga sessions are now available for children in the toddler and preschool classrooms.
In addition to programs for enrolled children, we host educational workshops for parents, students, and teachers. Experts have provided informative sessions on topics such as sleep, asthma, transitions, and developing healthy eating habits. We also hold a number of events each year, including new parent orientation, an annual fall welcome event, classroom potluck dinners, and quarterly Parent Committee meetings. Be sure to take advantage of ongoing opportunities for parents to volunteer in the classrooms, on-campus explorations, and in our gardens.