Inviting children to think, share ideas and gain confidence
The use of the expressive arts as a knowledge base has been an important hallmark of the Longfellow approach to early childhood education. Teachers facilitate this knowledge by providing the materials and tools for learning in the classroom. Much of our planning is based on the ideas and the interests of the children in the group. This relationship between the teacher and the child invites children to think, share ideas and build confidence and skill in learning. Young children need a variety of experiences with other children in a setting that allows them time to explore their interests, solve problems and learn social skills. Our focus is on the whole child: social, emotional, language, cognitive and physical.
The Reggio Emilia Approach
Our school is deeply inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. This approach—formulated by educator Loris Malaguzzi, who worked with parents in villages around Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy after World War II—features an “emergent curriculum” that enables teachers to capture and document the innate creativity and curiosity of children in a wide variety of curriculum opportunities. These opportunities include painting, drawing, molding, singing, dancing, pretending, storytelling and constructing, which are just a few of the many “languages” that children use to construct their knowledge and makes sense of their world. The teacher is considered a co-learner and collaborator with the children, not just an instructor. Most importantly, this approach is committed to creating a joyful environment in which to learn. As Loris Malaguzzi once said, there should be “nothing without joy.”
Longfellow 3 Transitional Kindergarten Program
To ensure that children are completely prepared for the transition to kindergarten, we offer the Longfellow 3 program. Longfellow 3 makes effective and supportive use of the previous experiences of the first two years of preschool and builds on the individual child’s preparation and readiness for kindergarten. Children attend the morning program with the addition of two afternoons until 3 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. The student to teacher ratio is 6:1.
Throughout the children’s self-directed morning time, the Longfellow 3 children are integrated with the whole group, because we value the multiage experience. Their small group interaction begins at Morning Meeting, Circle Time and on their extended days, allowing for more focused age-based curriculum.
The Longfellow 3 teacher facilitates opportunities that will challenge the children academically and socially, incorporating activities that strengthen all areas of development. Our small group size allows children to delve deeply into interesting topics, including those that are especially relevant for entering kindergarten.
Longfellow 3 children gain self-confidence, an ability to navigate social relationships and a sense of belonging. They leave our school with important attributes and skills that will help them excel in any kindergarten setting.