December 9, 2023 ()
Our Educational Philosophy
Our guiding principles are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education and Reform Judaism.
Progettazione – Educational intentions
Intentions are a means of focusing an experience, attempting to maximize an opportunity so that the teachers and the children can be aware of each other’s discoveries. Intentions allow for a more refined ear with which to take in how children relate to the world and make sense of its complexity. Each year we introduce a school-wide intention. Intentions are starting points. Ideally, areas of interest will blossom, providing each individual classroom the opportunity to explore and investigate the greater, school-wide intention, within a uniquely defined and fascinating way.
The ‘Third’ Teacher – Educational environments and aesthetic design
The environment acts as another educator. The school’s aesthetics have intention and the environment is designed to provoke children to wonder, engage, challenge, manipulate, dream, express and think. Teachers thoughtfully organize space for large and small group exploration. From placement of materials to spaces of interaction, the set-up of the environment gives value to relationships- physically, emotionally, and socially.
Exploration and Reflection – The role of time
The ability to slow our pace and take our time provides a platform for listening. Our ability to engage in an open dialogue provides opportunity to ask questions and reflect. Intentional investigational studies are not fragmented; rather they build upon one another over time. As the children revisit their original work and ideas, time provides the opportunity for new experiences which deepen the knowledge already learned. Time is also important in building and sustaining relationships.
Collaboration – Small and large group work
Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to talk, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem-solve through group work. Collaboration occurs among co-teachers, teachers and children, children and children, children and parents, parents, and teachers, as well as the community at large.
Documentation – Communication and visibility of children’s learning
Documentation of children’s work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents. Photos of children engaged in experiences, their words written out as they discuss what they are doing, feeling, and thinking, and the children’s interpretation of experiences are displayed to make learning visible.
The Atelier – The many languages of children
Multiple materials are available to children. Through gaining experience with various mediums, children learn to express themselves in many ways. Children can learn to express any idea through what is traditionally thought of as artistic media. Because young children are often difficult to decode, giving them multiple media to express themselves ends up making their thoughts much more readable or transparent to a teacher who can better help them to extend upon and fully develop their theories.
Co-Learning- The role of the educator
Educators view their role as partners with children in the educational process. They are observers, documenters and planners. Using children’s ideas, hypotheses and questions, teachers collaborate with children to provide opportunities for research, discovery and learning.
The Protagonist – The role of the child
We see children as competent and capable, as a responsible decision maker, a citizen within our learning community, with rights instead of needs. Children are the protagonists of their learning.
Tikun Olam – Repairing the world
Hachnasat Orchim – Welcoming Guests
Bal Tashchit – Do not destroy needlessly
Tzedakah – Justice and charity
Kavod – Kindness