We start with the world. Our fascinating, miraculous, wonder-filled Earth. And then we put the kids in that world. Our fascinating, miraculous, wonder-filled kids. When the two interact, with an invested, experienced teacher to support and guide them–THAT is learning.
Instead of implementing a ready-made curriculum, we learn to observe the world around us and let it capture our attention. (It always does.) I trust children to be curious and ask questions when something sparks their interest, and to seek out interactions that are meaningful to them. (They always do.) I work hard to form deep relationships with the children, learning their passions and interests, and offering information, activities, and experiences that fill in the gaps in understanding and abilities. (It is my pride and joy to do so.)
To put it simply, I believe that living life is an extraordinary experience, and the diversity of learning that comes from that is powerful, meaningful, and all-encompassing.
Philosophy of Education
My philosophy of early childhood education is based on the core belief that children are, from birth, capable and competent learners.
I believe in the simplicity of a childhood spent following the natural rhythms of the days, weather, seasons, and years. I believe in following a simple daily routine while allowing for the freedom of spontaneity and adapting to children’s dynamic needs and desires. I believe that spending lots of time fully engaged in and with nature cultivates a deeper understanding of both the world we live in and our place in it. I think all children should spend long hours outside every day, with the freedom to play and explore without interruption.
What do I want children to know?
When it comes down to it, what really matters? What do these kids really need to know in order to be successful in school? In five years? Ten years? In life? This is what I desire and work towards for my kids:
How to be a problem solver and life-long learner
To know that they are loved and valued
To feel competent and capable
To know the joy of operating successfully within a social community, where everyone is different, and everyone is important
- How to find beauty and excitement in the simple pleasures of life.
- To develop a strong bond with a consistent caregiver throughout their pre-school years
- How to establish healthy eating and exercising habits
How to be a creative, free-thinking person
- How to take initiative on seeking answers to questions, exploring interests, and developing passions
- To love and care for animals and plants, finding one’s place within the natural world and learning good stewardship of our earth.
What is my role as educator?
- Model the kind of behavior I desire for them to have (asking questions, seeking answers, using kind language and appropriate social skills, etc.)
- Design and implement a rich environment full of interesting, open-ended materials. Change the environment as needed, to maintain curiosity and engagement.
- Facilitate group excursions and explorations based on children’s interests and curiosities.
- Cultivate a sense of community among the children and our families, building friendships and connections that go beyond the time spent “at school”.
- Plan engaging explorations, topics of study, and theme units
- Provide individualized activities and instruction based on child interest, need, age, and developmental level
Do Wondergarten kids learn their alphabet, colors, numbers, and other traditional “preschool” skills?
Absolutely. When those topics arise during our investigations and explorations, we jump at the chance to learn and use them. An alphabet lesson learned in context of real life is infinitely more powerful and useful than a contrived flashcard-and-worksheet approach. At Wondergarten, we don’t simply aim for a completed checklist of knowledge attained, we shoot for the moon: a child with deep passions, rich experiences, strong connections to nature and others, and a well-honed ability to ask questions and seek answers.
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” – Clay P. Bedford