Philosophy and Approach to Early Childhood Education

I am inspired by John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Rudolf Steiner, Teacher Tom, Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Alison Gopnik, Alfie Kohn, Anji-Play, Vivian Paley, RIE, and all philosophies which honor the whole child, support learning through real-world challenges, and give children agency in their lives.  I could never choose one philosophy upon which to base my curriculum, but instead I choose to spend time getting to know each child in my care, collecting observations, and determining which methods might best to support the individual child.  What works for one child may not work for another. 

Here are some of my methods/approaches:

1) I arrange a beautiful and dynamic space containing an organized assortment of books, art supplies, and open-ended materials.  Materials are arranged so that children may help themselves as much as possible.

2) As interests emerge from the children, I collect relevant materials to support our exploration. Together we explore new information, ideas, histories, art, movements, sounds, objects, games, language, and experiences - all surrounding the subject.  When questions arise, I am careful to avoid giving quick answers, and instead model for the children what it looks like to "follow their curiosity."  With daily practice, children learn how to think for themselves and develop agency in their learning, and in their lives.  

3) Every child shares in the responsibility of caring for our classroom environment.  Children are asked to clean up after themselves and perform school "jobs" on a daily or weekly basis.  In lieu of purchasing "boutique toys" designed for fine and gross motor development, I find it more beneficial to the whole child to develop these skills through the performance of "meaningful work" in the home and at school.  

4)  All children are encouraged to ask for what they want/need, treat friends and teachers with respect, and above all - show compassion to themselves and others.  I am careful to make space for modeling and practicing these values, so that every child knows what these values look/sound like, and why they are important within community.

A Typical Day at Little Village:

8:00-9:00am We start our day with some "soft activities" at the kitchen tables.  Soft activities are activities that don't require a lot of brain power, but instead offer the child a chance to do simple, somewhat mindless, hand work while they process the separation from their parent and transition into a classroom environment. 

9:00-9:15am    Circle time (this includes weather, community check-in, music, and storytelling)


9:15-9:30am     Morning snack

9:30-11:15am    Free Outdoor play 

11:15-12pm    Wash hands and move into the Romp Room for jumping, climbing, spinning, swinging, and musical songs and games.

12 - 12:30pm  Lunch Time!

12:30-12:45pm    Story time and quiet song time in preparation for rest.  

12:45-2:30pm    Rest Time 

2:30-3:45pm    Wash hands, afternoon snack, and backyard play.

3:45-4pm    Shoes on, belongings gathered, ready for pick up.