Will there be opportunities for parents to come into the classroom to interact with their child?
We believe that parent participation is very important in a child’s life. We welcome participation and there will be many opportunities for you to be involved with the preschool program. We always invite parents to stop by and see what is going on. We also hold special events and parent discussion groups to provide opportunities to share our documentation of the children’s interests, projects and relationships being nurtured throughout the year. We also have a parent educator who works directly with the staff and children offering a parent blog and workshops.
What is the Teacher to Child ratio in the classroom?
Qualified Early Childhood Specialists will staff our program. While state licensing requires a ratio of one-to-twelve, we believe that a one-to-eight or one-to-ten ratio is better practice. During the course of your child’s day, small group explorations with art or music have an even smaller ratio of between six and eight children per teacher. We have 4 classroom programs serving children ages 2.6 years through 5 years of age; a young preschool, an older preschool and a kindergarten classroom starting Fall 2019. Each has their own ‘home base’ but co-mingle during the day in order to foster peer mentoring connections from one group to the other. As our philosophy is childcentered, we take the individual interests, strengths and development of each child into account and build upon them to create a successful learning experience for that child.
What is your guidance philosophy?
All young children are developing the social skills and emotional awareness that allow them to play cooperatively with other children and to function as part of a group. Sometimes when children are learning how to negotiate and articulate their needs or attempting to join in play with others, they try to have their needs met through hitting, pushing, or grabbing. We understand that this is a natural and expected part of their development. Children are constantly learning how their behavior impacts others, cultivating the tools to express empathy, and figuring out how to move through their entire range of feelings. We promote a healthy acceptance of all emotions and work closely on supporting children through situations where big feelings arise. When these big feelings lead to undesired behaviors (anything that would be unsafe for them or other people or damaging to property), a teacher swiftly intervenes and addresses the children involved closely with gentle guidance. Teachers provide children with clear and age-appropriate expectations during problem solving. Teachers also help establish consistent limits and encourage—but never force—cooperation. Punitive discipline, shaming, and humiliation are never used. Instead, Little Owl uses logical or natural consequence and positive guidance to provide children with learning opportunities. We see conflicts as opportunities for supporting children’s learning. During conflicts children practice self-awareness and communication, mastering the skills of negotiation and compromise as they deepen their friendships. As teachers, we choose from a range of roles when conflict arises. We may choose to act as a coach, helping children find appropriate language for talking about a problem. We may choose the subtler role of facilitator and help the children to decipher one another’s needs. Or, we may simply listen to them talk with each other and use reflective language, mirroring their understanding and ideas back to them. We might offer gentle suggestions. Our priority is always to nurture children’s self-awareness, communication, and well-being. We will maintain close communication with the parents in the emotional development of the child as in all areas of their growth.
How will my child’s experiences at Little Owl prepare them for later school success?
The educational philosophy at Little Owl is research driven, experiences are rich and will effectively help young children in ways that are lasting and foster a life-long love of learning. It is based on constructivist learning theory that has shown that children learn best by discovering and constructing their own knowledge in an enriched environment. It is through these active learning experiences that higher order abstract thinking is gained. For young children, learning needs to be concrete before it can become abstract.
Children will learn when seen as capable, competent and creative people. Children will thrive when seen as co-researchers with their parents and teachers on their journey in discovering the world around them.
Our teachers will share your children’s growth, learning and understanding through documentation and portfolios of their “work” through their interactions with the environment, materials and their peers. Our educational program is holistic in that early literacy, science, art and math are integrated into all daily activities and enhanced by children’s individual interests. We offer 2 parent conferences per year, a welcome conference in the fall and spring conference in April.