Little Hands Academy offers a developmental approach to education, using the Reggio Emilia approach to childhood education. This is a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum. Our goal is to promote the cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth of the children. We believe the needs and rights of the child come first. The premise of our developmental approach is that children are naturally curious and eager to learn. This is achieved by exploration, discovery and “hands on” experience. Each child is unique. As each child develops and matures at his/her own pace, we will have the materials available for them to explore, discover and create. When children are given this opportunity, it promotes their self-esteem and independence. This approach encourages children to think for themselves, draw their own conclusions, and make their own decisions.
Goals and Objectives
The staff plays a major role in the developmental classroom. It is the teachers who give the children the tools for them to explore, discover and create. The teachers ask thought provoking questions to spark discussions and communication between the children. The teachers are able to take the lead, based on the children’s interests and enthusiasm, and allow them to “take-off” with the theme, as far as it will go. The teachers read daily to the children as reading opens up unlimited amounts of creativity in children’s minds. The staff is constantly observing and assessing the children to determine what tools and materials may be added to promote the children’s growth. The teachers also document the children’s progress, as well as helping the children document their own thoughts and ideas. This documentation is used as a tool to share information with parents. It is also used by the teachers and children to revisit their previous work, in order for them to move ahead.
In order for children to reach their fullest potential, they must feel safe and secure in their environment. Our physical environment is designed with children’s safety in mind. Our Infant classroom is soft and hazard free to allow for plenty of movement and exploration. Photos and pictures are displayed at the child’s eye level to encourage interest and curiosity. A variety of sensory activities and explorations will be offered to infants on a daily basis. Our toddler and preschool classrooms are equipped with many supplies including blocks, sensory tables, puzzles, manipulatives, books, art supplies and a dramatic play area. The physical environment is set up in a way to make the children feel empowered. They will be able to take something independently and put it back when finished. These different areas are set up in such a way as to promote social interaction and communication between the children. As children have the opportunity to make their own choices throughout the day, we realize that they also need to feel secure in the predictability of a schedule. Although the tools and materials will be constantly changing to stimulate the children’s interest, we do try to adhere to the same schedule as much as possible. The classroom teacher will enforce limits to ensure safety in the classroom. The rules are discussed frequently and updated and amended as required. As children enter Little Hands Academy, they should feel a sense of belonging. This is one of the reasons you will see documentation of their work everywhere! Please understand if your child does not bring home all his/her work on a daily basis as much of their work will be on display in our school.
Families are a major component of our school. It is the families who help their children make the connection between school, home and the world outside. In order for the children to reach their full potential, a partnership must be formed between families and staff. As you enter our school, an area is established specifically for families to connect with each other and take advantage of our many resources. News about ongoing community events as well as books and magazines on different parenting issues are available for you to peruse. There will be many opportunities for parent involvement and participation throughout the year. We understand and are sensitive to the fact that many parents have other commitments during school hours. We will also give you suggestions for activities you may work on at home with your child that he/she may bring in to share. Families will have the opportunity to come together for evening and weekend social and educational events offered periodically throughout the year. Parents will be kept informed of their child’s progress and are strongly encouraged to discuss any issues or concerns they may have.
Our ultimate goal is to make Little Hands Academy a positive experience in growth and development for your child.