* infant nursery * preschool * TK/jr kindergarten *
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Preschool Program Philosophy
Le Petit Elephant Nursery and Preschool is a safe, loving, and nurturing place for children to learn and grow. The ages of 2 - 6 are some the most developmentally impressionable years in a child’s life, and we recognize that these years should be carefully nurtured and guided to ensure that a child has everything they need to enter kindergarten and the world around them. With that goal in mind, we focus on the ABC’s of early development:
Academics - we foster a love of learning and reading in a child-driven, teacher-facilitated curriculum inspired by nature and a healthy, green, organic lifestyle. Our play-based early education program shows children how fun and rewarding learning can be!
Behavior - we believe that appropriate behavior and learning valuable social skills is a crucial part of a child’s education, and it is important to start early. Responsible behavior and good choices are modeled, recognized, and rewarded in ways that become intrinsically motivating and benefit children for the rest of their lives.
Creativity- creativity is a very important measure of intelligence, and innovation is regarded as one of our society’s most coveted traits (think Google or Apple!) When a child learns to think creatively, it opens up a whole world of possibilities. Children learn best through creative play, and we encourage our children to pretend and use their imaginations without hinderance from adults. (This is a mindful departure from traditional Montessori philosophy which encourages children to use items only in specific ways/uses.)
Le Petit Elephant promotes an environment where children become independent, confident, lifelong learners with a strong sense of self. We proudly offer an outdoor-based, positive, child-centered preschool experience that fosters a love of learning in a nurturing community. We utilize a thoughtful combination of child development strategies from the Reggio Emilia Approach, the Waldorf philosophy and the basics of the RIE philosophy.
Our academic programs are based on the Reggio Emilia principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum. The Reggio Emilia Approach teaches that children are capable of constructing their own learning and they are driven by their interests to understand and know more. It is believed that children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others therefore there is a strong focus on social collaboration, working in groups, where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued. The adult is not the giver of knowledge, but rather the children search out the knowledge through their own investigations.
It is also believed that children are communicators and their communication is a process, a way of discovering things, asking questions, and using language as play. Playing with sounds, rhythm, and rhyme; delighting in the process of communicating. These languages, or ways of learning, are all a part of the child and learning and play are not separated. The Reggio Emilia Approach emphasizes hands-on discovery learning that allows the child to use all their senses and all their “languages” to learn.
At Le Petit Elephant, children are encouraged to use language to investigate and explore, to reflect on their experiences. They are listened to with respect, believing that their questions and observations are an opportunity to learn and search together. It is a process; a continual process, a collaborative process. Rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
Our creative programs are inspired by the Waldorf pedagogical theory, which considers that during the first years of life children learn best by being immersed in an environment they can learn from through unselfconscious imitation of practical activities and by encouraging free play. This free or fantasy play, in which children act out scenarios of their own creation, helps them to experience many aspects of life more deeply. The toys at our center are made of natural materials such as pine cones, wood, cotton, silk, shells, stones and other objects from nature (some of which the children themselves have collected) are used in play and to beautify the room. The classroom is intended to resemble a home, and generally teachers attempt to include as many simple and natural materials as possible. The tools and toys that are employed in a lesson plan's general activities are also usually sourced from simple, natural materials that are easily enhanced by a child's imagination. We play outside up to 5 hours a day as part of our outdoor program so that the children can connect with nature, the elements, and experience all levels of weather and learn to be comfortable with it all!
Our developmental philosophy is based on the principles of RIE, which emphasize the importance of letting children develop their own personal sense of physical ability and potential for their own bodies. We don't help children climb, balance, jump or slide- they do so when they feel that they are capable of this, and in this way, they develop a sense of body-confidence that is unparalleled.
At Le Petit Elephant, we strive to cultivate in each child: