Our nationally accredited, play-centered program incorporates the very best ideas from Montessori, Piaget, and Reggio Emilia, and includes the Catechesis of The Good Shepherd. Our preschool is a ministry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia.
The guiding philosophy of our approach to early childhood education is that play is the work of children. It is through play – imagining, building, pretending and manipulating – that children learn how the world works and how they might change it.
Although our program may appear unstructured upon first glance, it is in fact based on a framework of careful, extensive planning. Our teachers serve mainly as facilitators – encouraging, guiding, clarifying, comforting and loving.
Materials are presented in an orderly, organized manner. Children are expected to handle materials appropriately and leave areas in good condition for other children. Activities are designed to be multi-level in order to meet individual differences. Creative exploration is encouraged.
Communication skills are a top priority. Children are encouraged to “use your words” from the moment they enter our program. As children move through the program, we see tremendous growth in vocabulary and in the ability to express ideas and feelings.
Our goal is to foster children’s confidence so that they learn to solve problems and engage in conflict resolution through discussion. Attentive listening and involvement in child-initiated conversation also builds self -confidence.
Because children gain feelings of self-worth from successful accomplishments, we allow them to do as much for themselves as they possibly can, keeping expectations in line with ability. Children are most often successful when they feel competent.