“PLAY IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF RESEARCH.”
Play Is Children’s Work
Play is the way children experience the world around them. They imitate what they see in their environment and then they practice, practice, practice. Active play-- running, jumping, and climbing allows them experience in how their bodies move and teaches motor skills. Stacking, building and tumbling blocks, sorting, matching and lacing allow children to dabble in mathematical thinking, spacial relationships and develop fine motor skills. Pushing and pulling trucks and trains explores getting things from here to there. Playing ball, setting the table for lunch, raising a parachute foster collaboration. Dramatic play-- dress up, acting and puppetry practices abstract thinking and social behavior. Playing with and interacting with their peers each day provides valuable lessons in negotiating social situations, self regulation and effective communication with others.
The third teacher in Reggio Emilia is the environment. What surrounds us affects our mood, the way we operate, the way we negotiate our day. This guiding philosophy behind our parent company, FilteredLiving and in feng shui equates to the thoughtful use of light, space and mindful placement of furnishings. Being in this type of space allows one to utilize their energy in a positive way. Our indoor home rooms, Atelier and outdoor garden rooms are designed to invite reading, listening, building, creating art or music, cooperative play, exploration and discovery. Flexibility is abound with our movable learning centers and play and learning areas. We go where we feel inspired. Ideas emerge and we follow them. LittleLiving takes a child centered view so kids can BE. Child scaled furnishings, blocks of time, and interactions and hidden delights make the environment child centric and just their size to encourage maximum experience at and on their level.
Our outdoor classroom is an extension of our indoor one. We let the outside into our indoor spaces with wonderful views to outdoor garden rooms and natural light via picture windows, skylights, sliding doors and French doors which may remain open and create one continuous space. Our safe, private outdoor areas are free from plastic artificial structures. Children create their own play experiences by combining their imaginations with garden paths, walls, and hidden garden spaces available. They experience more natural textures of grass, dirt, rock, mulch, trees, rock and concrete. They observe the cycles of butterflies, ants, pill bugs, bees, snails, hummingbirds, birds and our beloved pets: two cats, a dog and fish. They develop large motor skills as they dig, climb, run, jump and ride bikes. Whether they pretend play in pop up play tents, bounce balls, utilize learning centers including gardens, art and music or water and sand stations, or curl up and read a book, they will experience nature, fresh air and natural light in tandem everyday.
Green Is good
Our program will incorporate caring for our planet and being eco friendly and green. As we learn about the nature around us we will learn respect for it and techniques to protect it. We recycle and compost after each meal. We will tend our compost tub and watch worms and bugs make dirt that we will use in our gardens. We will grow some of our food and flowers in these gardens. We will recycle objects whenever we can, using what we can in our creative projects. We will learn to take and consume only what we need. We will learn to take proper care of our things, so we can get longer life out of them and avoid consuming unnecessarily. We will learn to conserve water.
Reading Is Fun
All children love books. They delight in being read to, they love to handle them, look at pictures, choose them, point at pictures, imitate, memorize and finally guess what happens next in the story. This innate desire must be upheld and nurtured. During the critical development years your child should experience reading first and foremost, with a guide who reads to them in an animated way, complete with varied voices and even puppets or costumes. All aspects of the reading experience help foster their imaginations, ability to bond, to be empathetic and lays foundations for word, pattern, symbol and rhythm recognition and critical thinking processes.
If a child is put in front of a TV or a computer too often, they learn to forgo the self motivated reading experience for easy entertainment. Now is the time to develop and learn to use their imaginations. There is plenty of time for electronics later. The ability to read is a necessity in this world. Through reading one learns many new things; they become empowered to fact find on their own. Reading opens doors-- to new topics, new places, new people, new knowledge, to empathy, to understanding, to imagine, to escape.
Children learn from one another
Collaborative learning comes naturally to children. Older children naturally care for and teach younger ones. Young children look up to and imitate their elder peers. When faced with a conundrum, children will come up with ideas, test them together and try something different if the first idea fails. They learn from their mistakes and in fact build upon them. Our program observes, guides and fosters this process.