Fostering the social/emotional development of each child while providing the scaffolding needed to enable academic proficiency. Outdoor learning and guided creative play are included to allow young minds to begin the narratives which they will use to help understand themselves, help understand the relationships they form with others, and to help navigate the world which lies before them.
Enrollment starts December 2020
Regardless of their abilities, disabilities, race, gender, socio-economic status, or the language they speak at home, every child deserves the research-based benefits provided by a high-quality early education. Every family deserves to advance their children. The responsibility of the early educator is to support each child as they grow. I believe every child’s potential is best reached through highly intentional teaching centered around both Emergent Curriculum and Early Outdoor Learning. When coupled with close family partnership, I believe this approach effectively addresses all developmental domains, particularly Language & Social-Emotional confidence. With this foundation, young children are better able to use their curious and engaged minds to maintain positive relationships, achieve academic success, and become productive members of their communities.
I believe that success in both Language and Social-Emotional skills is rooted in the extent to which a young child can fully engage with the world around them. I believe that for a child to become confident in and passionate about learning about the world around them, they must be allowed to actively discover it for themselves. I see no more direct path to this engagement than through exposure to nature and symbolic play.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” -Albert Einstein
Both modern science and traditional childcare philosophies agree with the idea that exposure to nature is beneficial to young children (Berk, L., 2013). Activity within nature supports early cognitive development by involving the sensory influences of texture, sound, and smell (Office of Head Start, 2017). By providing the freedom to explore, whether on their own or engaged with other children in the act of collaborative inquiry, young children are better able to develop both socially and emotionally. Likewise, the exposure to nature also involves “using observation, experimentation, and reflection to learn how the world works.” These skills have been shown to support a child’s development in early STEM learning (Berk, L., 2013).
“Play is the beginning of Knowledge” -George Dorsey
Engaging young children in symbolic play has been shown to be effective in building language and literacy skills (Sachs, J.,1987). Because I know a child’s language skills in preschool are a predictor of their future language skills (Sachs, J.,1987), and that guided play has been proven to effectively develop both a child’s vocabulary and overall narrative skills (Sachs, J.,1987), I believe that engaging children regularly in imaginative play should be an integral part of any preschool curriculum.
I believe in intentional teaching. Be it in the surroundings of nature, or the more traditional setting of the classroom, I believe in being constantly receptive to young children during the execution of my curriculum. In doing so, I may actively turn any curiosity into a learning experience. This requires the knowledge and application of methods which I glean from modern advances in neuroscience and psychology. It requires reflection on the great minds behind the different educational philosophies of the past. Indeed, the social learning theory of Vygotsky, and the ideas which Piaget had regarding child development still lie at the heart of effective early learning. Being an intentional teacher also requires me to keep a watchful eye on the rapidly changing technological future which awaits my students. I must be able to explain the purpose and utility of the tools they will use to be productive members of their community and society.
I am a graduate of UW’s Early Childhood and Family Studies Program. I have also been fortunate enough to work with preschoolers and their families for the better part of the last three years. Originally from New Mexico, my wife and I have called West Seattle home for the last fourteen years. I am the father of two fantastic boys, ages 4 & 5.
While it is my intention to follow the educational guidelines set by the Seattle Public Schools during this pandemic, and knowing that the ages of the children in my care may vary, I think it may be useful to share my teaching philosophy as it stands with Pre-K students. I believe the fundamentals are applicable to all school-age groups.