Children As Researchers — Innovative Early Childhood Education
Our focus is on equipping preschool children with the skills of how to learn. This not only serves as the foundation for kindergarten readiness, but in all areas of their development. By working with hands-on projects that preschoolers take a personal interest to, we connect and cement their base skills in literacy, mathematics, and science, as well as develop their creative, motor, and social skills. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences. Not by memorizing a preset, themed, teacher initiated, mimeographed “ditto sheet.” You’ll seldom (if ever) see us involved in didactic teaching with the children, or leading a formalized group learning activity. We believe that children learn as they pursue their passions and questions. Our job is to deepen and extend that learning so preschool students gain all the knowledge and confidence required to successfully move forward in their educational journeys.
The Stonebrook preschool program is also supplemented by ecological and environmental advocacy, which instills a sense of responsibility and pride in a child from their formative years. Nature Play is one of the core values at Stonebrook Day School.
“Simply put, our son thrived at Stonebrook Day School. I was enormously pleased with his teachers who showed great patience and kindness with all the children while still providing an excellent learning environment. Pre-K was a magical time for our son, thanks to his experience at Stonebrook.” —Mona S.
Reggio Emilia-inspired approach
The Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to to early childhood education allows preschoolers to explore through play, and to learn through every experience. Our educators guide the preschoolers in identifying their interests and pursuing projects that help them gain a new and exciting understanding of the world while at the same time establishing a solid and rounded base of educational skill sets. The teachers focus on each child’s individual progress as they build their language, academic, social and emotional skills.
The Preschool and PreK emergent curriculum incorporates a careful combination of activities throughout the day that provoke interest, raise questions, and motivate intrinsic learning. The environments, indoors and out, invite children to explore, wonder, play, and make connections.
Documentation is a key element in the Stonebrook Preschool and Reggio approach.
Documentation serves many purposes, but most of all it is used as a research tool for studying children’s learning processes. Documentation is about what children are doing, learning and grasping, and the product of documentation is a reflection of interactions between teachers and children and among children. Documentation, because it is done on a daily basis, is a medium through which teachers discuss curriculum, keep it fluid and emergent, and develop a rationale for its course. It provides a growing theory for daily practice. Documenting the preschoolers’ daily experiences and ongoing projects also gives meaning and identity to all that the children do. It is through the documentation that the teachers are able to gain insight into the thoughts of the children, determine further investigation for working on topics, create a history of the work, and generate further interest. Teachers blog observations, comments, and photos on the Stonebrook Parent’s secure web site.
The physical outdoor environment provides a special stage for action and can stimulate children’s play, learning, and physical activity. The Natural Playscape and Stonebrook Forest in addition to functioning as an outdoor classrooms, fosters informed stewardship of the environment in children by highlighting the connection between people and the natural world. Stonebrook Day School’s classroom garden offers a unique and wonderful learning experience for curious young minds.
Nutritional requirements are a big part of our preschool program. Healthy, balanced meals are provided for all Preschool and Pre-K children. All meals and snacks served by our Bright Day Cafe are peanut-free. We provide fresh fruits and vegetables, a protein, dairy, and whole grains. Nutritional Foods that children love to eat! Children with special dietary needs are welcomed.
We believe that families are children’s first teachers. Active participation with parents is required. Family conferences, classroom blogs, parent volunteer days, monthly newsletters, special fun events, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are just a few of the ways we stay connected with Stonebrook families.
We provide Stonebrook families a private secure web site where they can review weekly classroom blogs that feature lots of photos and videos of the children with teacher comments.