Your preschooler is growing up fast, potty-trained and eager to learn new things. At this age, your child is more coordinated and is absorbing lots of information every day. Inspired by early childhood theories, educators approach preschool education with a play-based, child-centered, reflective teaching practice. We want to understand what children are passionate about, challenge their thinking, and support their social-emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive growth and development.
The day is carefully planned out with a variety of hands-on activities to encourage learning and socialization. At this age, we also put a large focus on teaching self-awareness and fostering independence by helping your child master their self-help skills.
We design our preschool classrooms with these developmental milestones in mind and equip each classroom with age-appropriate, educational toys to help continue inspiring your child’s curiosity and desire to learn and engage with their classmates and their environment.
Stories from the Mountain Classroom: Our Educators’ Vision
In Mountain Room, we provide a unique opportunity for educators, children, and families to grow together, sharing the reciprocal roles of teachers and learners. Our joyful curriculum, which infuses music and movement daily, is emergent and organic, as the children learn through play while building the essential readiness skills necessary to set them up for whatever adventures lie ahead. Our classroom environment is built on a strength-based, social foundation that strives to honor each child’s individual personality, learning style and home-culture. We facilitate both organized and impromptu small or large group meetings with the children, based on the emergent learning happening in the classroom.
- Bridging Home and School Together (Creating Connection & Partnership with Families)
- Building Autonomy (Fostering Independence)
- Elevating Children’s Voices (honoring children’s perspectives and being conscious of the power and airspace adult voices take, and mediating when it’s absolutely needed)
- Creating a Sense of Belonging (valuing each of our identities as well as how we function as a community)
In addition to these values, we are constantly thinking of ways to incorporate an Anti-Bias/Anti-Racist lens, as we plan provocations and activities as a group. As our organization moves towards Social Justice being in the forefront of our mission as an organization, we create safe spaces for our children to engage in dialogue and thinking processes about topics that unpack biases and facts about the world we live in, while focusing on our local communities. For example, it is valuable to share, not only about the cultures within our classroom, but also about the people whose land we live on and continue to occupy. This year we have talked about Indigenous Peoples and how their land was taken from them unfairly. Bringing it back to Seattle where most of our children live, we have discussed the Duwamish Tribe and the significance of Chief Si’ahl (aka Chief Seattle). Tying in the idea of “occupying land” with our classroom value of “creating a sense of belonging,” we aim to continue the conversation with the children about Stewardship versus Ownership.
Stories from the River Classroom: Our Educators’ Vision
We work together to build community and challenge each other to do our best. While children connect and develop deeper relationships, they often find themselves at odds. This means children have opportunities to develop the language and vocabulary needed to negotiate, compromise and reconcile whenever conflict or disagreement arises.
In River, we honor this process through mediation and acknowledgment of children’s feelings and ideas. We strive for authentic interactions using a values-based pedagogy. Our classroom values are always posted clearly in the classroom for children and adults to see. With the help of our 2022 class, we developed and began to practice these four values of Kindness, Consent, Respect, and Feeling/Being Safe.
We believe in the importance of Emergent Curriculum. It is our focus and based in our belief that developing relationships brings about a clearer context for learning. We use open ended questions, inquisitive phrasing with intentional and authentic vocabulary to invite children to dive deeper using a variety of materials through ‘provocations’ in addition to actively exploring ideas and concepts through stories and storytelling.
Stories from the Sunlight Classroom: Our Educators’ Vision
In the Sunlight room, our values include Connection and Joy at the forefront. Under the umbrella of connection and joy, we value honesty, kindness, humor, communication, patience, transparency, and independence. We prioritize child-led discussions and an emergent play-based curriculum. Social justice and advocacy work is also of high value to us. We are dedicated to the organization’s values of anti-racism and anti-bias. With this, we find opportunities to grow and challenge our children’s thinking about family, race, gender, disability, and cultural bias. No subject is off the table! Often, we find these discussions naturally emerge through topics and interests the children are already engaged in. However, we will also intentionally introduce these subjects through books, art, food, and conversation in a developmentally appropriate way. Our goal is to make sure our families’ voices are prevalent in the classroom, along with the kids’ and the educators’ voices. We do this through family meetings, invitations to the class for projects, emails, and sharing documentation. Overall, we do our best to make sure the Sunlight room is a welcoming and safe environment for humans of all ages!
Stories from the Oak Classroom: Our Educators’ Vision
In the Oak room, we work hard to support the children in the classroom with all aspects of their learning and development. This includes but is not limited to working to strengthen social-emotional skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills which are all essential for each child’s future learning. We focus on child-lead and play-based learning so that children are their own leaders of their learning and so that they can learn in a way that is relevant to them as children. We are a team of educators from various backgrounds but decided together to focus on 3 main goals for the year: fostering inquiry, demonstrating equity, and providing opportunities for learning and growth. Along with these goals, we pull from the Reggio Emilia teaching approach and use emergent curriculum to support our own teaching. When you walk into the Oak room, you will see children engaged with a wide range of materials and working together on projects throughout the classroom. We thoroughly enjoy partnering with families and maintain regular communication both through daily correspondence and bi-annual conferences. We value the exchange of information about each child because we know that no one understands a child more than their loved ones.