Play-based developmental education involves problem-solving, discipline, teaching values and responsibility. It is based on the theories of Gardner, Erikson and Piaget, as well as the Montessori and Reggio Emilia teaching methods. It targets the development of fine and gross motor skills and intellectual development, as well as imagination, creativity, self-esteem and independence.
A true play-based program allows freedom of choice within the comfort of a consistent schedule. Beginnings, circle times and endings happen at specific times creating a sense of predictability and safety. Transitions from group activities to free play and back again are built in to the schedule, as is required for children of this age.
The majority of time is open to free choice, allowing your child to explore and discover at their own pace, which stimulates children's self-regulation skills. This liberty within a schedule means that children feel safe to find what they want to do within the rich environment of the school.
Encouraged to seek out what they are ready to learn, children may choose to trike around the playground for a week straight until their gross motor development has grown by leaps and bounds; they may spend the next week mixing blue and red to make purple over and over again. Children are naturally curious; they love to learn.
Through the interactions with children and adults that naturally occur in this thoughtfully orchestrated environment, children are learning to communicate. They are learning how to negotiate, how to stand up for themselves, how to make and keep friends. They are also learning about their bodies and their boundaries.
The rules at our school are not negotiable: Everyone must show respect for self, others and things so that they are safe, supported and successful.
When children graduate from our school, they have attained those skills that Kindergarten teachers most hope that they will have. Of the four basic building blocks of Kindergarten Readiness, our students have not only learned the Academic and Social Expression requirements with which many students start Kindergarten. They have also had the opportunity to learn the Self-Care and Motor Skills as well as the Self Regulation that will allow them to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond.