The Kids' Place

Vision

The Kids’ Place creates a love of lifelong learning and positive social change by honoring and trusting children, engaging families, and inspiring educators.

Mission

The Kids’ Place transforms the lives of young children through play in partnership with families and teachers.

Values

  • Integrity in Practice:

    Bring playful joy to our work while fulfilling our mission with honesty and equity.

  • Leadership in Community:

    Model innovative early childhood education practices and pursue ongoing professional development.

  • Learning in Relationship:

    Nurture trusting relationships with one another to build empathy, critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity in a welcoming environment.

Curriculum Philosophy

Emergent Curriculum: An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadow, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the emergent curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement.

Project Work: Projects, also emergent, are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests which arise within the group. Considered as an adventure, projects may last one week or could continue throughout the school year. Throughout a project, teachers help children make decisions about the direction of study, the ways in which the group will research the topic, the representational medium that will demonstrate and showcase the topic and the selection of materials needed to represent the work.

Representational Development: Consistent with Howard Gardner’s notion of schooling for multiple intelligences, we seek the integration of the graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Presentation of concepts and hypothesis in multiple forms of representation—print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play—are viewed as essential to children’s understanding of experience.

Collaboration:  Collaborative group work, both large and small, is considered valuable and necessary to advance cognitive development. Children are encouraged to dialogue, critique, compare, negotiate, hypothesize, and problem solve through group work. Multiple perspectives promote both a sense of group membership and the uniqueness of self.

Teachers’ Role as Researchers: The teacher’s role within the Reggio Emilia approach is complex. Working as co-teachers, the role of the teacher is first and foremost to be that of a learner alongside the children. The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children (Edwards, 1993). Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children’s work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate thinking, and children’s collaboration with peers. Teachers play many roles including storyteller, facilitator, and reporter. Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teacher and learning.

Documentation: Similar to the portfolio approach, documentation of children’s work in progress is viewed as an important tool in the learning process for children, teachers, and parents. Pictures of children engaged in experiences, their words as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking and the children’s interpretation of experience through the visual media are displayed as a graphic presentation of the dynamics of learning.

Environment: Great attention is given to the look and feel of the classroom. Environment is considered the third teacher. Teachers carefully organize space for small and large group projects and small intimate spaces for one, two or three children. Documentation of children’s work, plans, and collections that children have made from former outings are displayed both at the children’s and adult eye level. Common space available to all children in the school includes dramatic play areas and work tables for children from different classrooms to come together.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Teachers work with an understanding of early childhood development. Teachers design and provide for the environment, materials, and activities to suit children’s changing developmental needs. Teachers work with families to identify what stage children are at in all developmental domains: physical (fine and gross motor), intellectual (cognitive), linguistic, social, and emotional. Based on where children are at, teachers design the environment, materials, and activities to strengthen children’s current skills and abilities while encouraging children’s natural development in all domains. In addition to this, teachers prepare, document, and share with families when children reach developmental milestones.

This overview of the Reggio Emilia Approach was adapted from information available through The Hundred Languages of Children traveling exhibit.

The curriculum philosophy has been modified to meet the guiding values of The Kids’ Place.