Little Sunbeams Preschool
A Reggio Emilia Inspired Environment
Little Sunbeams Preschool believes that children can make learning visible
in a hundred ways and more. When children are encouraged by caring
adults and given an environment where they explore and develop daily
Italy. Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio-Emilia approach illustrates
this philosophy in his poem. Little Sunbeams Preschool A Reggio Emilia
The Hundred Languages of Childhood
The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages, a hundred hands, a hundred thoughts,
a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking.
A hundred, always a hundred ways of listening, of marveling of loving
A hundred joys for singing and understanding
A hundred worlds to discover, a hundred worlds to invent, hundred worlds to dream
The child has a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
But they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
Separate the head from the body.
They tell the child to think without hands, to do without head,
to listen and not to speak, to understand without joy
To love and to marvel only at Easter and Christmas
They tell the child to discover the world already there and of the hundred
They steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child that work and play, reality and fantasy, Science and imagination,
Sky and earth, reason and dream
Are things that do not belong together
And thus they tell the child
That the hundred is not there
The child says: NO WAY the hundred is there--
The Learning Environment
In the Reggio Emilia approach, the environment is a child’s third teacher. As such, it needs to integrate elements that target cognitive, social, linguistic, and physical development. At Little Sunbeams, we take careful measures to ensure our environment displays and highlights student creations; incorporates natural materials that allow children to manipulate, appreciate, and respect what nature offers us; and is organized in ways that promote beauty, invite children to choose with a purpose, and provoke children’s curiosity and creativity.
At the heart of our school program is the atelier. It is the place where our little sunbeams can explore, experiment, and express learning and creativity with numerous art mediums including clay, paint, water colors, pastels, beads, fabric, etc. They may choose to be self-directed to work on self-initiated projects or be guided by our Atelierista (studio teacher) to represent investigations meaningful to the child and his peers.
Our picket-fenced playhouse is equipped with baby dolls, carriages, dress-up clothes, and kitchen toys to stimulate dramatic play. Mi casita also turns into a stage for a number of performances children participate in during the year to share with our Little Sunbeams Preschool parents: The Thanksgiving story, Christmas program, Mother’s Day dance recital, and end of the year Graduation.
Is a Science-enriched center where children are invited to manipulate elements from nature: window garden to monitor, observe, and report; water and sand for tactile and sensory stimulation; rocks and pebbles for weighing, measuring, and patterning. Nature also houses a few favorite (safe) friends: guinea pigs, turtles, fish, etc. Children love to pet, and feed our friends!
This center is found in our Spanish and in our English classrooms and it’s the gathering place for circle time. It displays calendar numbers, weather symbols, birthday pictures, counting tally marks or items, pattern pictures. They come equipped with “pointers” for children to play “teacher” during independent play time.
Blocks, connecting cubes, gears, rods, geoboards, pattern blocks, lacing pictures, and lots more manipulatives for children to create structures while developing important skills in patterns, problem solving, designing, and fine motor abilities.
Little Sunbeams integrates a whole language approach by emphasizing the development of all the components of language: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The ABC centers are designed in both English and Spanish and serve as an area for direct teaching as well as independent learning. It’s equipped with a calendar, letter and number charts, flashcards, puzzles, writing tools, puppets, books, “pointers” word wall. This center is the perfect spot for children to play “teacher”. Little Sunbeams Preschool A Reggio Emilia Inspired School
Musical instruments are displayed accessibly for children to explore and manipulate: noise makers, shakers, maracas, cans, rhythm sticks, toy keyboard, and a baby grand piano. A great place to gather and have a sing-a-long or a musical parade!
Every room in Little Sunbeams Preschool has a dedicated corner for reading, which displays books that enforce themes of study, as well as favorite books children love to read over and over again! However, the majority of our books will be found in our library. It houses English and Spanish books, books authored by children, books on tape, and books appropriate for all children. Every child picks a book or two (one in each language) to read at home each night and record in a monthly log; a daily routine children love to do!