Our Approach to Education
“Children learn and develop best when they are a part of a community of learners- a community in which all participants consider and contribute to another’s well-being” - Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp
Young children enter preschool with a sense of wonder and love of learning. At Little Stars we honor children by giving them the time and space they need to develop at their own pace in their own unique way.
We use the following four guiding principles to engage children in learning: emergent curriculum, in-depth projects, representational development and collaboration.
Our classroom curriculum stems from the particular interests of children, their skills and developmental needs. Curriculum topics are derived from talking with children as well as things that are known to be of interest to them. Through observation, documentation, and reflection learning goals and objectives are created to support children. Teachers strive to provide experiences and opportunities that are developmentally appropriate, reflective, engaging and enjoyable. This kind of teaching envisions an image of the child as someone creatively seeking knowledge.
The project approach in which children engage are in- depth studies of real-world topics. They are emergent, as they are developed from the children’s interest. A project may last anywhere from a week or two to the entire school year. This type of learning was introduced by John Dewey who believed that children learn best when their interest is fully engaged. Another theorist that drives our philosophy and approach is that of Jean Piaget. As a constructivist: Piaget believed that learning proceeded by the interplay of assimilation (adjusting new experiences to fit prior concepts) and accommodation (adjusting concepts to fit new experiences). Teachers play an integral role in supporting children’s exploration acting as advisors on projects.
Our approach focuses on children learning through a variety of modalities. Children are exposed to new ideas and concepts in multiple forms, such as print, art, music, and nature/gardening. Through these experiences children have the opportunity to understand and connect with the concepts being explored.
Groups both large and small are encouraged to work together to communicate, problem-solve, and take on challenges using dialogue, comparisons, and negotiations. Other important interpersonal skills we foster are empathy and perspective taking.
Each child’s voice is heard in order to promote a balance between a sense of belonging to the group and a sense of self.