Our approach is firmly rooted in the philosophy that students learn best through play experiences and hands-on learning. We’re guided by the Reggio Emilia approach: that students of all ages are capable, competent, curious people full of potential and knowledge who have preferences, interests, and opinions. Teachers are deeply aware of children’s potential and construct their lessons and environment to support curiosity, experimentation, and exploration through multi-sensory work.
Collaboration and Interactions
Cooperation is our name, and our daily practice. Our students focus on social-emotional development, and are introduced to academics through play. Every experience is designed to be undertaken as a part of a relationship, and deep bonds are formed through learning. Because we believe that students are capable of constructing their own learning, we value individual ideas and suggestions and incorporate them into our work.
Movers and Shakers
Movers and Shakers are explorations of visionaries who reflect courage and resilience in the face of injustice and adversity. In discussing the lives of leaders like Malala Yousafzai, Stephen Hawking, Mae Jemison, Christine Hà, Wangari Maathai, Ruby Bridges, Prince, Katherine Dunham, Yo-Yo Ma, and Frida Kahlo, we have age-appropriate dialogues about gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic class, ability, the LGBTQ community, and social justice. These often tie into the student’s personal lives, while exposing them to experiences otherwise not visible to them. Movers and Shakers help our young students think critically, while inspiring them to create change.
Specials give students a chance to immerse themselves in a practice or subject with a specialist teacher. These include Music, Movement, Creative Making, and Science. In each subject, we focus on inspiring and diverse role models from under-represented groups.
Movement (2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K)
Our Movement Special is a joyful, high-energy experience that builds confidence, cooperation, gross motor skills and body awareness. Students gather in small and large groups for traditional activities like soccer and races, as well as invented games. This helps students understand safety, respect, cooperation, instructional language and movement concepts. While learning choreographed movements, students are encouraged to have fun and stay engaged.
Music (2’s, 3’s, and Pre-K)
Music is an energizing part of our daily routines. Our specialized teachers are musicians and singers who bring fun to the classroom through rhythm and music. They help build body awareness and control, as well verbal, social, and coordination skills—all while singing, dancing, and expressing ourselves!
Creative Making (Pre-K)
Creative arts do more than develop students’ imaginations–they also help students become flexible and inventive thinkers. During Creative Making, students experiment, and challenge themselves in new ways. They become familiar with different materials, tools, and art concepts, and make connections between school and the outside world. Teachers emphasize the value of making mistakes and reflecting on their artistic process. Students will be exposed to contemporary artists from around the world. Throughout our work, we focus on play and material exploration and incorporate elements from the classrooms.
Science is a window onto the world that excites even our youngest learners. During our Science Specials, we encourage our students to be curious, experiment and explore. Through experimentation, our students are introduced to higher learning concepts while developing reasoning skills, problem-solving, and learning to ask questions about the world around them. Students are introduced to earth, life, and physical sciences by participating in standards-based hands-on investigations. They practice the scientific method and think like real scientists, utilizing inquiry, observation, and exploration; they develop and test hypotheses; and analyze new information, while discovering their natural world.
Our students are active participants in the planning, development, and assessment of their own learning. As our teachers observe and listen to the students as they play, they begin to understand their areas of interest, then develop studies and long-term projects based on those subjects. For example, to start the year we ask families to share a summer memory. If many of the memories are about the beach, the class might begin a study about the ocean, take a closer look at sea animals, and explore the makeup of sand. Classes have also studied the origin of different types of bread, baby development, phases of the moon, plants, the water cycle, beads from around the world, drums, living versus nonliving things, and landscapes versus portraits. Projects can last from a few days to several weeks.
Partnering with Families
Our students’ parents and caregivers are essential Co-op community members. Our community is strong and vibrant because our families are active partners in learning. Whether they are chaperoning a field trip or visiting the class to share a story or artifact, we welcome the partnership!
Schedule & Class Size
We offer full-day classes, five days a week for 2s, 3s, and 4s. Part-time schedules are two days or three days a week. Each class has two teachers and a thoughtfully considered class ratio following Department of Health requirements While each schedule is flexible depending on the students’ needs and the teachers’ goals, a typical morning includes free play and exploration, snack and circle time, and project work or a special class. After outdoor recess and storytime, students enjoy lunch, rest, and a closing circle conversation focusing on social-emotional learning.