Our mission is to facilitate young children’s optimal development and learning in a safe, supportive, and enriched environment.
Our primary goal is to provide and continuously improve child development and education services of the highest quality in a climate of care and respect for children and their families. We offer a program that places an emphasis on developing strong collaborative relationships between children, staff, parents, and family members.
C5’s philosophy of learning and development is influenced by the constructivist, social-constructivist, and systems thinking theories of John Dewy, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, Howard Gardner, Loris Malaguzzi, Carlina Rinaldi and C5 Children’s School’s theory of Partnership with Children and Community of Learners that stem from the work of Richard and Patricia Schmuck. We also use methods developed by the California Program for Infant Toddler Care and Magda Gerber’s RIE methods.
We draw inspiration from the world-renowned educators and preprimary schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, and from others around the U.S. and the world who are also influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood Education. Our faculty participates in a wide range of workshops and seminars that support the Reggio approach and that also offer professional development and growth opportunities to educators, parents, and others who are interested in the philosophy and practice of the Reggio approach to early childhood education. Some of our faculty members also belong to the North American Reggio Alliance, a network of educators, parents, and advocates who are seeking to elevate both the quality of life and the quality of schools for young children, their families, and their communities.
In all aspects of our organization, we maintain the characteristics of continuously learning and improving and an atmosphere that is joyful, exciting, caring, aesthetic, compelling, engaging, and rich with creativity, surprises, and the promise of great potential.
The Image of the Child
Our Image of the Child is very comprehensive and includes that they are capable at birth to be powerful learners and developers; partners in their own evolution; highly perceptive; vital; energetic; curious; exploratory; adventurous; open-minded; adaptive; and expressive; makers of meaning; innovators of new views of the world and the things and people in it and of solutions to problems. They are also rapidly developing physically; deserve respect; they are teachers; co-creators of their own learning; joyful; fearless; open-minded; problem-solvers; potential to do anything; expressive; creative; expert learners; unique; live in the moment; fearless dreamers; energetic; curious; honest; adventurous; sensitive; sponges; shapers of culture; emulators of all that surrounds them; and, significant influencers on the insight and learning of their adult collaborators.
The Importance of Relationships
We believe that respectful, collaborative, caring, invigorating, diverse, imaginative, and adventurous relationships are at the heart of quality learning. Helping others to learn and grow is very much a part of loving. The support and influence is invited and encouraged to flow in all directions; among children, staff, parents, family members, and community members.
The Image of the Parent and Family
We highly value parent participation in the program. Parent and family member involvement is comprehensive, rich, and varied. All parents and some extended family members contribute to and interact with the program in many ways. We have documented over 40 different general categories. They are essential partners in a comprehensive collaboration to build, improve, and sustain a dynamic and rich learning and development environment for their children and the children of other parents and families. They hold crucial information, dispositions, and other resources that make the joint effort meaningful and worthwhile. They play a special role in supporting the children and staff that includes giving of themselves and receiving from others in the community of learners. They are also advocates for young children and the program in liaison with the broad community.
The Image of the Teacher
They fulfill the role of a professional by working hard, maintaining high standards, adhering to the highest ethics, continuously learning, constantly improving quality, and collaborating to get the job done. They facilitate every aspect of childrenÃ¢â¬â¢s learning and development and assist parents and family members in their understanding of and participation in the program. They strive to find new ways to make the processes and accomplishments of the children, staff, parents, and family members accessible, visible, and appreciated by all. They build new alliances inside and outside of the program and act as effective advocates for children, families, and their profession.
The Processes of Exploring and Expressing
The focus of learning emanates from children and their interests, fascinations, and family customs, culture, and heritage. The process takes a multitude of forms that include all of the senses in careful and deep examination of their inner world and all of the elements in the surrounding environments, including the dynamics among them. It also opens up to an unending array of forms of expression, called languages, that include drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, talking, singing, dramatic play, making music, the use of light, nurturing others, and, the syntheses of these and the addition of approaches and symbol systems as yet unknown. The daily routines are Amazement, Marvel, Excitement, Concentration, Invention, Sharing, Transformation, Disorientation, Reflection, Imitation, Surprise, Observation, Hypothesizing, Communication, Contemplation, Risk-taking, Creation, Connection, Appreciation, and Celebration.
The Role of the Environment
As a powerful influence, the environment is considered another teacher. All of its elements have a significant effect on the spirit, attitude, and interactions of all who participate in it. For example, consider the use of natural and other light, the overall aesthetics, the specific colors, the textures, the materials, the special relationships, the accessibility of items, the presence of meaningful symbols and children’s work, the attention to detail, and the obvious influence that the participants have had on it and can have. It should convey the care and respect by which it was created and used and be so inviting and compelling that children and adults want to enter it, participate, and are reluctant to leave.
The Role of Time
The pace of the activities, the demeanor of the adults, and the arrangement of elements in the environment support being in tune with the rhythms of the children. The time taken for explorations and expressions has an organic life that matches the immediate and recurring interests of the children and any one emergent theme can last for months, if children desire. A priority and the necessary time are also given to the study and improvement of effective processes of relating to each other and to the value of bringing along all members of the learning group in understanding, appreciating, and acting upon the unique differences of each contributing individual. New possibilities are explored, ideas build upon each other, and children revisit earlier concepts, experiences, and work to gain new insights and inspiration.