Our whole-child approach to teaching and learning alongside children intentionally engages and integrates the child's, mind, body, and soul. We offer opportunities for experiential, hands-on learning, academic, social-emotional, artistic/creative, and bodily/kinesthetic skills that use experience in and exposure to the natural world as a catalyst for learning and development. Through emergent curriculum, artistic expression, long-term projects, nature immersion, and active learning we support the child as they travel their path toward self-actualization.
We understand that learning is a verb, the child must be actively involved in the process to fully reap the benefits. The child is more than just a walking brain, their entire bodies need exercise, nourishment, and challenge. We have designed a program that integrates all aspects of the child’s bodily developmental needs.
Freedom To Move
Children are permitted to move about freely. We believe that stillness and sitting are not required for learning to take place. In fact, we know that children must use their entire bodies to explore and take in information. Their sense of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and tasting must engage with their kinesthetic, vestibular, and proprioceptive senses in order for deep authentic learning to take place. We incorporate music and movement into our program with a focus on bodily awareness, rhythm, pattern, positioning, balance, strength, pure joy, and connectedness.
Physical Risk Taking
Children are trusted and supported in taking physical risks, tree climbing, rock skipping, and other seemingly risky types of exploration are permitted and supported. It is the role of the adult to perform risk-benefit assessments, design safe, but challenging playscapes, and support the child as they self-assess and embark on physically challenging experiences. We know that children who are able to practice at their own level, develop strong large motor skills, positive self-image, proficient self-assessment skills, confidence, agility, and resilience.
Children are provided with two healthy snacks and two hot and healthy meals each day. Our garden will be developed with the help of the children and be utilized in the implementation of our farm-to-preschool program which will provide fresh produce for snacks and lunch. We know that nutrition is directly linked to a child's ability to learn and develop to their highest potential.
By providing rain and snow gear, we protect the bodies from the elements and allow for year-round access to the outdoors and nature. We know that proper attire can be a barrier to outdoor immersion and believe it is important for children to have nature access while ensuring that they are both safe and comfortable in all weather.
Self-Image & Social-Emotional Learning
The most important part of our work is to support the child as they become self-acquainted. This is a sort of soul-searching, self-study where they discover their passions, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Whole-child development requires time and experience for the child to develop a deep understanding of who they are. We reinforce the child's own understanding by modeling positive self-dialog, positive guidance, deep relationships, and restorative justice practices. We enculturate a reflective practice that revisits experiences and explores the perspective of others.
Ubuntu practices are about togetherness, and how all of our actions have an impact on others within our community. In practice, Ubuntu focuses on three pillars: interpersonal values, intrapersonal values, and environmental values. These pillars signify regard for others, the self, and the environment.