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“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings."
IMAGE OF THE CHILD
We believe children should co-construct their own experiences. Children are capable, curious and competent. The Reggio philosophy is an approach to teaching and learning that helps children tap into their natural potential through interactions with their environment and each other. Teachers provide enriched experiences and provide each child with the individualized attention they need in order to learn and grow not only as students but as valued members of our society.
EMERGENT CURRICULUM & PROJECT APPROACH
Children are treated as active collaborators in their education, as opposed to passive observers. Our curriculum is based on children’s interests and the daily observations teachers make about what topics their students are curious about. After observing children at play and engaged in new experiences, the teachers reflect upon their observations to plan new activities and long-term projects. Ideas for projects come from both the children and the teachers and they can last anywhere from a few days to several months. We often call these projects investigations, adventures, or explorations. Teachers lay out academic, physical, emotional and social goals for the children and make intentional choices in designing and implementing the curriculum to ensure that the children are challenged academically in all areas, including math, science, and literacy.
We always invite children to present their ideas and learning in many forms: print, art, drama, dance, music, puppetry, etc. Students can demonstrate their ideas in many different ways, and giving the space for all of these efforts to flourish helps each child build confidence and excitement about their learning.
Basing the course of study on the children's interests creates a collaborative environment that helps foster skills like teamwork, negotiation, compromising, and patience. Asking the children to help direct the course of learning makes them to feel heard and respected and encourages their sense of self-worth.
The classroom utilizes the child’s senses, relying on sight, sound, touch and even taste and smell to guide the learning journey. Our Reggio Emilia inspired classrooms are different than your average preschool, with large common spaces, natural elements and lots of accessible and thought-provoking materials. Our building use to function as a church in the 1900's, which has granted us a unique opportunity for considerably large classrooms, high ceilings, and lots of natural light. Both our indoor and outdoor classrooms emphasize natural materials and exploration, valuing our surroundings as another educator. Elements of nature such as snow, leaves and sticks are brought into the classroom regularly as children are encouraged to develop a relationship with the world around them.
ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY & SOCIAL JUSTICE
We believe in the importance of teaching our students how to be active members of our community. Our gardens and recycling/up-cycling programs teach children how to learn to care for our earth, living creatures and our community. We encourage kids to participate in projects that reinforce the idea that young children can make a difference. We learn about all religions, holidays and keep an inclusive approach to all people.
COMMUNITY & OUTINGS
The Reggio Emilia approach values the close interaction between teachers, parents, community and children. Children are seen as collaborators and valued members of their community. Local partnerships are also an important role in children’s education, which is why we often take walking fieldtrips to local businesses. We aim to present unique knowledge in various cultures, intergenerational relationships, and a sense of belonging in a larger group. At Foothill, we strive to support local businesses and involve children in every step of that effort.
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