The Old School combines several proven teaching philosophies to bring a uniquely holistic approach to learning. Experiential learning creates lifelong learners, instilling the necessary curiosity as well as love of learning as children work on project based and child driven areas of interest. Weekly themes provide a back drop for expanding learning throughout the week in all of the centers and takes place as both a free choice activity as well as teacher directed. In addition to school readiness, The Old School experience focuses on life lessons in the social, emotional and physical realms as well. Learning to get along with others, negotiate and appreciate differences, take care of oneself and others, and an ethic of environmental stewardship are all integral to the culture of the school.
Mixed Age Grouping
Blending preschool children of varied ages most closely aligns with a family model, and affords empathetic, leadership and mentoring opportunities for both the oldest and the youngest who mutually benefit from their respective giving and receiving. It’s equally heartwarming to see the older children offer comfort and guidance to their younger buddies as it is for the youngest to allow themselves to be guided and looked out for by their older friends. This mentoring comes full circle as our friend community ages; within a few short years with the littlest becoming the leaders before they head off to their next big adventure in kindergarten.
Still, while this special arrangement teaches life lessons that go far beyond any curriculum or classroom, balancing the need for age appropriate learning is achieved through separate circle times and carefully considered planning that meets their individual needs.
As two and three year olds have a new sense of independence, increased awareness of the world around them and their place in it, the school further refines and develops these skills. The goal here is to continue strengthening social ties, both in forming new relationships as well as tolerating ensuing disagreements by fostering early conflict resolution skills. Self help skills become further mastered as children are taught to pick up after themselves, handle their bathroom needs and assert their wants and desires. Resiliency and self control continue to be supported to further them along the path towards kindergarten and life. Many artistic and creative opportunities take place to promote imagination and love of learning. Literacy, math, science and movement are all woven into the daily schedule to help set the stage for academic growth. Being able to run and play outside for long periods greatly promote physical health as well as developmental stimulation.
In order to prepare for the rigors of kindergarten, the four and five year olds each have their own notebook for daily practice using the "Handwriting Without Tears" approach developed in the US. To teach child-friendly phonics, the "Letterland" curriculum for language development is used to promote primary letter and language development skills. In addition, there are many direct as well as indirect learning opportunities within the course of the day: for instance, when the children go to visit the chickens, the number of eggs becomes an opportunity for math. Daily circle time includes stories and finger plays that support the weekly theme-based learning.