1. To inspire delight, curiosity, celebration and inquiry in the program.
2. To build intrinsic motivation and a long-term love of learning in children.
3. To help children craft an internal compass to guide them as a learner, rather than relying on instruction and direction from others.
4. To inspire children to be authors, inventors, illustrators, designers, dancers, singers, actors, and so forth and to celebrate their unique talents and abilities.
5. To encourage consistent self-reflection and professional growth among Early Childhood Educators so they may always improve the quality of children’s program experiences.
6. To maintain a staff well-versed in the fundamentals of how and what children learn, so they can support and guide learning as it emerges naturally inside the school, in the natural world, and in our community as a whole.
7. To allow the natural pace of individual and group learning to emerge, and not be guided exclusively by the clock.
8. To create cooperation, partnership, resource-sharing and amiability between staff, children, parents, caregivers and the community.
9. To give children an organized environment in which to use all of their senses and faculties to learn.
10. To recognize that critical learning takes place during conflict, negotiation, brainstorming and resolution.
11. To provide adequate outside physical activity time daily.
12. To support the varied learning styles (visual, auditory, sensory, and verbal, etc.) in ways that are also aware of gender differences.
13. To carry out assessment in the form of children’s portfolios and documentation of learning.
14. To honor and welcome children with special rights (aka special needs) into our early childhood education community.
15. To practice supportive social learning rather than punishment.
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
• Daily journals with photos and written evidence of learning for each program
• Weekly program documentation displayed in the space we use for programming
• Weekly portfolio additions for individual children
• Child-led expeditions, inquiries and investigations
• Field trips and excursions outside the program space
• On-going staff training and professional development
• Regular activities involving community members and families
• Activities in our dramatic play, block, science, sensory, literacy and manipulative areas as well as on the playground.
• Opportunities to experience conflict, negotiation and resolution in a safe setting.
• Opportunities to run, jump, sing, dramatize, rough-house, wiggle, write, read, create original work, and YES - hit, kick, yell, throw, catch - all with appropriate targets of course – and nurture, feel, cry, hug, feed, care, wonder and more...
Because this is how children learn. They do not learn by sitting before an educator who imparts knowledge. They learn by doing and self-directing! And they succeed in the future by learning to love school. Their delight and spontaneous wonder will always be our first priority.