Approaches

Inquiry Based Approach

Our work is primarily child-centered, child-directed, teacher facilitated, family supported, and based on children’s inclinations, interests, fascinations, developmental issues, and family cultures.

We provide a variety of resource-rich learning environments and help your child to have access to a wide range of materials and processes that include many items from Nature, recycled materials, and other carefully selected items. We work in partnership with your child and your family to help your child to develop the 100 languages of children for exploring, expressing, and optimal learning and development.

We begin with what is most important to your child and assist them in inquiring further and more deeply in their own way and in their own time.

We begin with what is most important to your child and assist them in inquiring further and more deeply in their own way and in their own time.

An Emergent Curriculum

The process is exploratory, investigative, evolving, and has characteristics that might usually be associated with higher order adult processes, such as keeping an open mind, testing the nature and character of materials, maintaining a focus, being patient, developing hypotheses, and experimenting to derive new understandings and to draw tentative conclusions.

Another way of thinking of our approach is that it is an Emergent Curriculum: What comes from your child is the curriculum. And, that it results in deep explorations and long-term, broad reaching, comprehensive projects.

Project Approach

Often, with toddlers and especially older children, our continued focus on a particular interest, topic, material, or process will become more involved, last longer, have more elements included, and draw in more people or things. That’s when we start thinking that we have evolved into a project.

If we know ahead of time that many of these elements will be involved, we can say that we will start a project. Even so, projects usually begin and evolve organically.

We remain open to and supportive of each child in expressing their inclinations, interests, and fascinations, and pursuing them wherever they might lead the child and their learning group. The Inquiry Approach is also always a central part of projects at C5.

We continually try to anticipate where a child or their learning group might go with their exploration and suggest to parents how they and we might work together to support the developing project. These suggestions appear regularly in each classroom’s flexible Weekly Plans that are posted in each classroom’s forum on our private website.

The project evolves over time, may change course, may develop temporary or permanent branches of interest and exploration, and may bring in unusual resources that may be pursued in very different locales.

Our use of the project approach is a powerful learning model, because it allows for each child to participate in their own way and their own time, take time away from the main project when they wish, and develop the skills, insights, and experiences that they want when they are most ready for them. Then, they can build on that basis to advance surely and securely to the next step.

As a result of our overall philosophy and practices, including the Project Approach, children who graduate from C5 routinely meet and exceed the typical standards for learning and development that are expected for entering kindergarten. In addition, they have exceptional self-confidence, self-sufficiency, high self-esteem, can adapt to various settings outside of C5. They love learning and are powerful individual learners, effective team members, and conscientious community contributors.

Project Approach

Often, with toddlers and especially older children, our continued focus on a particular interest, topic, material, or process will become more involved, last longer, have more elements included, and draw in more people or things. That’s when we start thinking that we have evolved into a project.

If we know ahead of time that many of these elements will be involved, we can say that we will start a project. Even so, projects usually begin and evolve organically.

We remain open to and supportive of each child in expressing their inclinations, interests, and fascinations, and pursuing them wherever they might lead the child and their learning group. The Inquiry Approach is also always a central part of projects at C5.

We continually try to anticipate where a child or their learning group might go with their exploration and suggest to parents how they and we might work together to support the developing project. These suggestions appear regularly in each classroom’s flexible Weekly Plans that are posted in each classroom’s forum on our private website.

The project evolves over time, may change course, may develop temporary or permanent branches of interest and exploration, and may bring in unusual resources that may be pursued in very different locales.

Our use of the project approach is a powerful learning model, because it allows for each child to participate in their own way and their own time, take time away from the main project when they wish, and develop the skills, insights, and experiences that they want when they are most ready for them. Then, they can build on that basis to advance surely and securely to the next step.

As a result of our overall philosophy and practices, including the Project Approach, children who graduate from C5 routinely meet and exceed the typical standards for learning and development that are expected for entering kindergarten. In addition, they have exceptional self-confidence, self-sufficiency, high self-esteem, can adapt to various settings outside of C5. They love learning and are powerful individual learners, effective team members, and conscientious community contributors.

Examples of Projects

Light, Shadow, Colors, and Reflections — These non-intrusive experiences were available to the infants to engage when they wanted, and they lasted many days with a variety of materials and equipment provided by parents and staff members.

Light, Shadow, Colors, and Reflections — These non-intrusive experiences were available to the infants to engage when they wanted, and they lasted many days with a variety of materials and equipment provided by parents and staff members.

Vehicles — They researched many vehicles and made a variety of them in different sizes and shapes, from race cars, to passenger cars, to trucks, to school buses. They made several out of cardboard boxes and sat in them a lot and tried out each others’ often.  They also brought in examples by description and photos of how they come to school each day and made maps and drawings of tier routes and the vehicles in which they traveled.

Rockets and Space Travel — They researched and built a 6′ high rocket that two children could sit in like astronauts. It had complex control panels, antennae, communications devices, and other elements that were meaningful to them. They also designed and made clothing for outer space. Two of the children made a recording and played it whenever anyone got in the rocket of Mission Control to rocket communications, blast-off, and inspirational outer space sounds.

Cooking and Canning — One group got interested in cooking and did every Thursday. They evolved into canning and made dozens of jars of various canned goods. Pickles were their favorite, and they served them often at school-wide events. On one occasion, they set up a table and posters in the building lobby to display their wares and to support a canning demonstration. Their hand-made posters showed how canning worked and dialogues with passersby answered questions and provided details of how they canned pickles in the classroom.