Time to explore and space to create allows the whole child to grow.
Core Components of The Nest’s Philosophy
Core components of The Nest's philosophy are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach.
Reggio Emilia, Italy, is a region known for its preschool programs. Time Magazine called it “one of the ten best school systems in the world.” Faculty from The Nest have studied the Reggio Approach, both in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and in the United States. Below are the core components of the program at The Nest, many of them deeply rooted in the Reggio Approach.
The young child is primed to learn words. Through rhymes and chants, stories and discussions, children are constantly exposed to new terms. Learning how to share their voice or listen for and extended period of time, solving social conflicts and negotiating resolution, playing with words, explaining new learning and reflecting on learning are some of the ways in which children develop language skill at The Nest.
Preparing for Academic Readiness
Academic readiness is embedded in the work and play of the children throughout the morning. A typical morning might include calculating how many children are present at school; articulating a feeling or an action; drawing or retelling a story; observing an object on display; sorting and ordering materials; and noticing letters in names and numbers on charts. The precursors of reading, writing and math are used in real ways in the classroom, preparing the children for Kindergarten.
Moving with Purpose
Play is the work of young children in school. At times their physical energy seems boundless, fueling their need to move, which in turn develops muscle strength, balance and coordination. As they move they learn about space and orientation, push and pull, speeding up and slowing down, all the while developing agility and dexterity. As they learn to control big body movements their ability to coordinate smaller movements grows. This is the time to encounter building with blocks, cutting with scissors, pouring water, manipulating tape and clapping patterns. In a high technology world these activities are undervalued, but they are foundational skills for solid learning and academic readiness.
Honoring Questions, Affirming Curiosity, Developing Understanding
What makes waves? Is a scorpion a spider? Why are there wars? These are questions worth exploring. Time for research, dialogue, project work and further investigation of connected questions all lead to a deeper, if not complete understanding. At The Nest, we listen to the students’ words and build their vocabulary in order to develop strong communication. We honor their questions, affirm their curiosity and lead them to refine their ideas.
Creating—A Hundred Languages
The young child needs to create. They delight in the arts and have a potential to develop skills that will enable them to express themselves in many different languages. Movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, collage, shadow play, drama, collage, and music give students the opportunity to explore the world and respond.
The young child is part of a community. As a member of the learning community, each child needs support in how to care for, work and play with others. The social curriculum at The Nest focuses on peace: guiding children as they work through conflicts and tensions, and building skills that support the wellbeing of all. The growth of the community is dependent upon each child's ability to actively contribute to the group.
Children are also invited to contribute to the broader community through service projects such as collecting baby cereal for a local food pantry.
Nurturing Beauty and Quality
Children who are surrounded by beauty and high quality materials are inspired to create beautiful, high quality work. The school provides an aesthetic environment that stimulates encounters, communication and relationship. Teachers consider materials very carefully, and often limit the number of materials available at a time so that there is space for creativity. The children’s work and art is central in the design of the classroom, helping the children feel ownership of the space. Teachers carefully organize classroom space and make thoughtful displays that honor and document the children’s work.
The school teaches the whole child, developing the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and the spiritual potential of each. Created in the image of God, the young child needs opportunities to encounter God through a life of faith. The school provides a Christian community that focuses on knowing and following Jesus, understanding that God loves each one of us, and that God is with us at all times and in all places. Prayer, worship, Bible stories, celebrations and service allow the child many entry points into the life of faith.