Selecting the right preschool for your child can be overwhelming as you hear about different teaching philosophies, curriculum, readiness skills, and consider your longer-term educational goals. As an educator, I have clear ideas about the type of curriculum I want my children exposed to, but when it came time to look at preschools in our area I never anticipated the incredible opportunity for our entire family.
Being familiar with Montessori and Reggio Emilia, I knew an inquiry-based program was the direction I wanted to head with Big A. He has always been an inquisitive child with strong verbal and communication skills. Being the oldest, he is also sometimes hesitant with risk-taking and needs to understand a situation before undertaking the challenge. When I first visited our special school I knew it was exactly the place I had been looking for. Big A's preschool is a nature-based program with the mission of initiating students into a lifelong, meaningful relationship with the natural world. I was instantly in love and couldn't wait for the first day of school.
I embraced the philosophy "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing" and with each passing month throughout the school year I have been in awe of how the lessons introduced at school have seeped into our experiences at home. There are some very traditional elements at play within the school days (a focus on cutting, invitations for sensory play, and use of traditional toys such as blocks), but the definition of "classroom" and "learning environment" take on new meaning as the children go on hikes most days, imagine on the nature-based playground, and uncover nature through artifacts and animal demonstrations. Most days I am jealous of the play and exploration my three and a half year-old undertakes!
As I look to the summer months I am eager to further provide nature-based learning opportunities. Our activities will take advantage of local hikes, investigations in our own yard, and researching topics uncovered as we explore. Some of our simple home ideas include:
It has been amazing to see the growth this school year and I remain grateful to the teachers for encouraging Big A where he excels and for the support in the areas that challenge him. As we head into the last few weeks of the school year, I find myself realizing just how fast these toddler/preschool years go by and how important it is to embrace all the learning opportunities around us. For me, our son's preschool experience has benefited our entire family in ways we hadn't even imagined.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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