Beyond its blending of established best practices with current research, our preschool is guided by Quaker values and draws from complementary components of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Our program emphasizes community and responsibility, with respect for each individual, through practices that encourage student-initiated exploration.
Students engage in activities that expand their own knowledge of the world by exploring big ideas. An example of an exploration of light: a small group of children may collect around an overhead projector that has been placed on the floor, along with a basket or two of objects (translucent shapes, pieces of sea glass, etc.) to engage their interest and exploration. Whether children choose to change the way the objects are placed on the projector, change the objects themselves, or move the way the light is projected onto the ceiling or wall, they have unlimited possibilities for cooperation, imagination, and discovery. That might lead to an exploration of the way light produces shadows, both inside and outside, or interest in learning about rainbows.
The possibilities are endless when children’s own knowledge and curiosity are engaged and stretched. Children in our preschool also expand their own knowledge of the world by participating in predictable activities within their classroom community – helping one another perform a task, building blocks cooperatively, drawing, painting and singing together, and many other activities that are meant to enrich their view of the world, large and small.
The preschool is part of our lower school campus, and students enjoy benefits such as interaction with older students, visits to the library, a full-time nurse, and food service.