Our philosophy and educational pedagogy is based on the strong research of Social constructivism, Brain and neurological research and the educators of Reggio Emilia, Italy. They include: Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Z. Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Ellen Galinsky, Daniel Siegel, Howard Gardner, Loris Malaguzzi, Howard Gardiner, Richard Louv, Louise Derman Sparks and Bev Bos.
We believe the best learning takes place when based on the belief that children come to us powerful, full of desire and abilities. They grow to construct their own knowledge and not only need, but have the right to be co-researchers and co-learners with their teachers. Learning occurs as learners are actively involved in the process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information. Deeper learning scaffolds upon what the child already knows and is interested in. Questioning and experimentation lead to collaborative learning, seeking consensus and reflecting on learning as something dynamic that can change with experiences. Ideas are reshaped as their evidence finds original theories need reworking or a different perspective. Social/Emotional Intelligence is as valued as Academic Intelligence. Building character with respect,resiliency, empathy and the desire to hear all voices will serve them well as they develop higher levels of critical thinking.
The following resource list and links are books, agencies, sources we find useful and promote our vision of the best practices for children, educators and families.
From our Executive Director, Linda Wilson:
I am in love with books! Children and adult books, read-a-louds, fiction, non-fiction, old and new books all whisper to me, they call my name to come look inside, learn something new, discover a land I want to know more about and help me reflect on what matters in our world. The hidden hoarder comes out when it comes to books. I know the practicalities and sustainability issues promoting kindle or audio books and I do use them for some of my adult reading. Nothing, however, beats the physical act of holding a new book, lingering over the illustrations, wondering what art medium was used to create the lovely art. I want to be able to linger, write notes in the margins, highlight so I can come back and search for that one sentence or paragraph that jumped out and spoke to me and told me to return.
I didn’t have a house full of books as a child, not even one small bookcase. I remember my grandmother telling me stories before naps and the wonderful family times of sitting around big tables sharing the stories of our families. My favorite summer memories were going to my grandparents and great-aunt and uncle’s homes in North Dakota every summer. They had magazines and books. I fell in love with Ripley’s Believe It or Not in big format books, like graphic novels. My Uncle’s favorites, Charles Adams Cartoons and the New Yorker Annual Cartoon books shaped a rather twisted view of the world for a young person. He was a newspaper publisher and had huge tomes of the Annual yearbooks of the National Press Association. This bizarre collection led me to seek out more tales at the library. The first book I remember owning and re-reading many times was Bat, The Bull Terrier by Stephen Meader published in 1939. I was ten and it seemed so powerful to me…my first book about resilience! Years later, my husband found the out-of-print book online and surprised me with it! Books always make the absolute best gifts in my own families’ holiday shopping.
My goal with this ongoing list is to stir that life-long love of books, stories and possibilities in the children and families around me now. Keep reading!!