We teach life, differently.
First Presbyterian Preschool embraces the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. This methodology originated in Italy, and aims to reveal and nurture a child’s sense of self and dignity while fostering physical, social, spiritual and intellectual development.
As a Reggio Emilia-inspired school, we believe that each child is full of knowledge and interests, and thrives with an individualized approach to learning. Together, students and teachers explore the world around them. From day one, we introduce our students to being part of a community and use positive role modeling and affirmative language to guide behavior and learning.
Every part of our school is considered a learning space, including the playground and gardens. The goal is for children to spend one third of their time at school outside, weather permitting.
Our playground is a Certified Nature Explore Classroom that includes indigenous plants and trees for children to study and explore, and local natural materials like sand and stone. The playground also contains artwork created by local artists and the children themselves. The emphasis on nature and outdoor learning are important features of the Reggio Emilio model.
Inside learning spaces are also designed to inspire hands-on learning. Teachers begin each day bringing specific materials and activities into the classroom. Everything children see in the classroom will be part of the lesson that day. While we provide a structure that promotes learning, we encourage children to engage in open exploration and allow them to keep their time unstructured. Teachers often shift activities or lessons throughout the day to follow questions from students.
The Reggio Emilia approach embraces the “constructivist theory,” inviting children to deconstruct a concept, explore all its facets, and figure out how to put it back together. In the midst of their discovery, teachers will introduce tools to help build skills and abilities for the long-term. For example, teachers will introduce safety scissors and a variety of materials to cut such as paper, playdough, or felt to the children, so they begin developing their writing muscles while determining new ways to create shapes and designs. Children are considered competent and encouraged as “constructors” of their own learning.
An early foundation in Reggio Emilia prepares even the youngest child for a lifetime of considering the opportunities, making their own choices, and what impact their choices can have.
Dual Language Spanish-English programming is an important element of our teaching. To enrich our students and prepare them for future bilingual education, we offer engagement in both Spanish and English in every classroom.
Every part of our school is considered a teaching space, including the playground and gardens. The goal is for children to spend one third of their time at school outside, weather permitting.
The Reggio Emilia Way
The Reggio Emilia approach often involves beginning lessons with a question for the students.
For example, many schools may give students tools like a pen and a paper, and tell them to draw something. Reggio Emilia-style schools give students the same tools and ask, “What do you think you can do with pen and paper?” An early foundation in Reggio Emilia prepares even the youngest child for a lifetime of making choices, and what impact their choices can have.
Dual Language Learning
Dual Language Spanish-English programming is an important element of our teaching. To enrich our students and prepare them for future bilingual education, we offer engagement in both Spanish and English in every classroom. Starting at age three, there are two teachers in each class – one will only speak in Spanish and one speaks in English.