Childhood is a precious time, one that grows ever shorter as we expect more and more of our children at earlier and earlier ages. In the midst of ongoing debate and discovery about the nature of young minds and how they learn, The Children’s Schoolhouse remains committed to its long-standing ideal that the preschool years are a time for free-flowing play and exploration. To that end, The Children’s Schoolhouse remains staunchly child-centered and seeks to provide a rich environment where the children are helped to find their own voices.
The curriculum incorporates a broad array of materials and activities as outlets for each child’s natural curiosity and insatiable desire to learn. The basis for good learning is the child’s positive healthy feelings about himself, and the Schoolhouse emphasizes that goal. The learning centers of the Schoolhouse place emphasis on the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of each child at his or her own individual, unique pace. Although letter recognition and pre-writing skills are developed in the course of the year, “academic” activities (worksheets, writing practices, etc.) are noticeably absent except as initiated by the children themselves.
In keeping with our observation that children learn much from each other and that age does not always coincide with a child’s individual development (particularly in the preschool years), The Children’s Schoolhouse does not group children by age. This “multi-age” approach reinforces the benefits of cooperative play and assists the teachers in supporting each child’s individual needs and talents.
Parents play a critical role in all of this, both in and out of the classroom. As classroom volunteers, mother and fathers have a unique opportunity to watch their child’s independence, initiative, and creativity unfold as they help guide all the children through the day. Beyond the classroom, parents have the opportunity and responsibility for reinforcing and supplementing The Children’s Schoolhouse activities at whatever level they feel is appropriate for their child.
The success of the “Schoolhouse way” is best measured by the success of the generations of children who have left its nurturing walls to continue their explorations in education. The hallmark of The Children’s Schoolhouse children (and their parents!) is an enthusiasm for learning combined with deep-seated confidence as they embrace new concepts and adapt to new situations.