exploring our individual rooms
il nido ("the nest", infants 6 weeks-12 mths)
Infants learn about their world through exploration and investigation, and they are born with the innate desire to interact with everything that surrounds them. The world is something new to discover, therefore NLCCS supports their desire to learn through materials that respond to their need to problem solve, delve into the inner workings of objects, and the relationships of those objects within their space. We provide limitless opportunities for infants to explore their world, visually, tactilely, orally, auditorily, and sensually. In our space you will not find any bouncers, exercaucers, swings, or jumpers, that limit infants to a world viewed from their back, but rather climbers, nests, mirrors, scarves, books, blocks, and open-ended materials to explore. Their day consists of their own unique sequential schedule of daily living and materials and invitations that support opportunities for social and cognitive development and growth. NLCCS begins exposing the children to sign language from birth on to provide infants with a vehicle of communication if they choose, to eliminate the frustrations that can happen when trying to communicate their emotions effectively.
bambini piccolo ("Little children", younger toddlers, first year):
Younger toddlers are just beginning to evolve in their stages of independence through learning to walk and embarking upon newer stages of communication. This opens up more opportunities to explore the different dimensions of the world such as climbing and testing their relationships spatially and socially, problem-solving, and decision making.
Younger Toddlers are encouraged to problem-solve to support themselves as they build their sense of self and shape their social growth. The teachers are there to support and encourage respectful and kind interactions within the space when needed. By means of narration, re-explaing situations from each child's perspective, teachers can then help the children learn the emotions of others and the results of each child's actions on the other, then asking the children how they can solve the problem, using verbal prompting or modeling gentle actions if needed for support.
bambini (older toddlers, second year):
Older toddlers are developing their communication skills. They are frequently talking, formulating, and theorizing. Through testing limits, expectations, theories, and ideas, older toddlers start to relate and situate themselves into a unique role within their environment. Pretend play is a way that older toddlers are learning about daily living through observations and interactions within their environment. Older toddlers are inquisitive and literacy is beginning to evolve through their artistic expression and creativity. They are beginning to explore the world of literacy by labeling their artwork and pictures. Blank paper and many different instruments and materials (such as ball point pens, markers, fine tip markers, pastels, paints, clay, colored pencils, etc) encourages their creativity and imagination rather than specifically designed coloring pages that can only be what the teacher designs. If given a blank piece of paper, the children can create anything!
prima scuola ('first school' or preschool, third-fifth year):
The first school children encounter is what helps to shape their education for many years to come. Providing an environment where they are able to conduct their experiments and build creations as well as explore literacy, reading, writing, and build relationships supports and scaffolds their natural learning. A space that is tailored to their unique and individual interests by incorporating ideas the children are currently interested in, allows them to gain a deeper and richer knowledge of these subjects by learning them through their own lens.
Children in prima scuola learn through an emergent curriculum which is based on the children's unique passions and interests as well as the teachers' observations and documentation. It is ever changing and evolving, focusing on learning naturally through play rather than direct instruction to all areas of learning- the arts, music, peer relationships, literacy, math, cooking and their relationship with the outdoor world.
The prima scuola community is intentionally created larger than other classrooms in an effort to support children’s autonomy and transition to kindergarten. This means that teachers are always highly present but make conscious efforts to offer children the time and space to take care of themselves, each other, and the environment. Also there is two years in prima, to explore the environment and learn from materials, themselves, and others. By having prima mentors (forth through fifth year) they are able to serve as role models and guides to facilitating social interactions and problem-solving with peers as well as taking learning and literacy to a new level. They can help to scaffold and support the learning of their lesser-aged peers by welcoming them into the space after watching their older peer models transition to a new space for Kindergarten to further explore their learning, donning them the new role of prima mentors.