The joy of childhood and discovery are at the center of an Our Beginning Education. The welcoming and safe environment is designed to feel like an extension of a child’s home. With a centrally located kitchen, the scents of delicious meals be prepared can’t be missed. Next to the kitchen is the comfortable “gathering area” with chairs and a couch for both students and teachers to meet. Classrooms are bright, spacious, and eco-friendly.
Infant and Toddler Division
The infant-toddler programs embrace the Reggio-Emilia philosophy and teachers believe that children are born competent and capable. Learning is a process based on the child's interests guided by teachers and enhanced by the environment. Our teachers listen to the children, observe their behavior and interactions, and document this process so that learning is visible and effective.
In the classroom, children are encouraged to select activities that interest them so they will be motivated, attentive, and learn to concentrate. Teachers present materials as a provocation for the children. The teachers are intentional in what materials they offer to the children. Teachers will ask, "Does the material have characteristics that will induce a child's interest and engage a child for a prolonged interaction or amount of time?" Thereafter, the teachers will observe and document the exploration of the children.
The infant classrooms require individual care in a group setting. Infant classrooms are enrolled at a ratio of 1 teacher with 3 students. The teachers follow and respect the infant's schedule, which has been established at home before enrollment at Our Beginning. The parents will meet with the teacher before the first day to lead the discussion on their infant and what is important to them during the first year of life - including but not limited to - immediate needs, developmental milestones, and concerns. The focus in the infant classrooms is developing a secure attachment with the caregivers in order to provide a safe, nurturing environment for learning. The teachers "narrate" each experience in the classroom for the infants to foster language, development, and learning.
The toddler classrooms have a maximum of 14 children with 2 teachers. Relationships are identified as a key component of early learning. Toddlers have big feelings, and this is a time of rapid growth and brain development. Toddlers have a new sense of self-awareness which results from an increasing desire to do things for themselves, Children will learn to accomplish tasks that they define and participate in -- this creates a love for learning and a sense of accomplishment. Teachers empower the children to believe that they are capable. In the older toddler classrooms, there will be an enhanced focus on preparing children for preschool including toilet learning and independency.
Preschool and Prekindergarten Division
The Preschool and Prekindergarten classrooms embrace the Reggio Emilia philosophy. This Italian based approach to learning focuses on the incredible capacity that young children have for learning, seeing and sharing details and observations. The faculty at Our Beginning see each child as an individual who is learning each moment of the day; they offer engaging provocations to extend current levels of understanding. We see the environment as the second classroom, noting the changes outdoors and studying the landmarks in our immediate community are part of the daily plans. Preschool and Prekindergarten children are highly social and are starting to learn how they learn. Teachers design ongoing projects using auditory, visual and tactile approaches.
Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms
Creativity is at the center of a Reggio Emilia education. Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten children have extensive time with the Atelierista and are the only children in the school who have full access to the beautiful Atelier classroom. The Atelierista works in tandem with the classroom teachers to create in-depth projects that rise from the students interests and extend their current level of knowledge and understanding. Students in these classrooms have regular times to present their work, respond to questions from their peers and adjust their projects based on the peer feedback.
Of course, students in these levels are also learning how to be kind and caring friends as well as starting to work on early literacy, numeration, and small motor skills. This is a magical age for a child and each day, the faculty finds creative ways to embrace childhood and make learning fun and engaging.
We offer dual-language classroom experiences for children in the Older-Toddler, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classrooms. The two options available are:
- Mandarin/English language experience
- Spanish /English language experience
In addition to the age-level descriptions above, these classrooms embrace the language and the related cultural elements each day. Teachers in these rooms are fluid in both languages and spend half of each day immersing children in each of the two languages and cultures. Projects are presented through tactile, auditory and visual approaches and always linked with music, stories and traditions.
All our children spend time with the following specialists:
- Music teacher
- Movement teacher
- Atelierista (art teacher)
- Soccer courses for Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten children