Frequently Asked Questions
Is your program play-based or academic?
Our program for children is play-based and has been since we were founded in 1926. We’ve always believed that play is the work of young children, their most effective way to learn. Cognitive development (the goal of academic work) is approached playfully utilizing materials and activities that children truly care about… writing a letter to a friend, signing your artwork, playing a sequencing game, building a symmetrical structure, counting out snack. There are no worksheets, but thinking is stretched and expanded daily at WPSN.
Is your program structured?
Yes! We carefully structure time, space and materials. We believe that it is important for children to become meaningfully engaged in their work. Providing large blocks of time when children can choose their activities allows us to nurture attention span and demonstrates our respect for children’s work. We balance these blocks of child-initiated activity with group experiences led by the teacher. As children mature we expand the group times. Our Junior Kindergarteners meet twice each session for music, games, sharing, planning, stories and acting.
To see the way we structure space and materials we invite you to tour our indoor environment and playground. As you “look around” we hope you’ll see a setting that encourages exploration, creativity and self-reliance.
I’ve heard it said that “WPSN is Reggio Emilia-inspired.” What does this mean?
Reggio Emilia, a city in Northern Italy, is world famous for its municipal preschools. We’ve been influenced by the work that emerges from these schools, and their U.S. counterparts, since 1991. At WPSN, the Reggio approach impacts both our environment and our curriculum.
Our curriculum is built fresh each year as teachers discover each new group’s interests. One 3 year old group might love puppetry and teachers will build on this passion. A group of 4 year olds might recreate the solar system, build a robot, or fashion a flag for the school. Our Young Twos Investigators teachers observe our 2 year olds, and design long-term explorations for the children. We work hard to guide children’s explorations, providing just the right amount of support. Our goal is always for children to be asking, thinking and hypothesizing about the way the world works… that is our Reggio inspiration!
Do you have a “philosophy” about discipline?
Working in concert with parents to help children acquire the tools of self-control is the goal of our approach to discipline. Each conflict in the preschool gives us a chance to help children learn acceptable ways to solve problems. We never shame or isolate children to punish. Our job as teachers is to anticipate. whenever possible, and to react with a clear, understandable message when necessary. With a beautifully planned environment, a curriculum that allows children to study those things they care most about, and well-trained professional staff, the need for discipline is kept to a minimum. Come visit us and see for yourself!