Following Reggio fundamentals, the classroom space is our “third teacher.” 

 

The physical school environment is enticing to young children. We encourage scheduling a tour to explore our site, and to fully appreciate the planned design and organization. Attention has been paid to keeping the smaller learning and play areas of classroom open to the larger space. We have made efforts to capitalize the natural light available. Learning materials have been carefully selected to aid students in exploration and interpretation. 

 

We use natural, high-quality, open-ended elements whenever possible. A visitor to our school will find virtually no plastic toys, but rather a backdrop of elements ready for children to ascribe with their own ideas. 

 

Change is key to keeping the learning space dynamic. Teachers periodically move and rotate classroom items and stations in order to avoid stagnation and repetition. Current areas include a construction play area, a dramatic/house play set, a library/reading area, and a game/puzzle table.  Care and attention is given daily to ensure that our space is clean and organized. 

 

Art materials are central to the children’s academic exploration. We avoid craft projects where children’s art pieces are cookie cutter and indistinguishable from one another. 

 

Reggio Emilia Approach

Pioneered by the village communities of Reggio Emilia Italy in response to the devastation on World War II, this child-centered approach to education remains internationally renowned as avant-garde and innovative. 

 

At Petaluma Village Preschool, our curriculum is Reggio-inspired.  Rather than a specific program, the Reggio approach is an educational philosophy guiding our teaching, learning, and use of space. 

 

The children’s natural intellectual curiosity leads lesson planning and they are true collaborators in determining both long and short-term learning projects. 

 

There is not a scripted curriculum, but rather a framework of intended topics or themes (intentions) based upon classroom discussions. At the core of our program are projects developed around student interest. Our project-based planning is an ever-evolving process involving the child, teacher, family and larger community in the gathering of information. Projects may take a school day, a week, a month, a season or a school year to complete, or may be ongoing with indefinite ending points. We emphasize small group centers, based on a social constructivist model where the child forms a concept of him/herself based on interaction with others and the learning environment. Daily activities might include music, movement, drawing, painting, dramatic play, sculpture work and science investigations. 

 

Unique to the Reggio approach is our use of documentation. This includes photos of student activity, teacher commentary on lessons and processes, transcriptions of the student’s verbal language and student work in multiple media. The goals of documentation are to give parents a portal into their child’s school experience, to give teachers a chance to evaluate the learning process and to give children the message that their work is of value. Sections of this website that are limited to families and school staff serve as an archive of the history of Petaluma Village Preschool.

 

Our Village community is built on the strength of its families. We rely on an exchange of ideas between parents, teachers and students to develop projects.  Your family’s skills, culture and talents will be called upon to enhance the school experience. Parent involvement is key to the Reggio approach and you are welcome in the classroom at any point in the school day. There are many ways for families to be involved with the school, and there is an ongoing, open dialogue between school staff and parents.

Development of Learning Concepts

 

The Reggio Approach offers one of the most rigorous early childhood learning environments, without stifling a child’s natural curiosity.

 

The children’s natural intellectual curiosity leads lesson planning and they are true collaborators in determining both long and short-term learning projects. 

 

There is not a scripted curriculum, but rather a framework of intended topics or themes (intentions) based upon classroom discussions. These topics are often explored in great depth, which allows our children to make very high-level connections.  

 

At the core of our program are projects developed around student interest. Our project-based planning is an ever-evolving process involving the child, teacher, family and larger community in the gathering of information.  

 

Our lesson planning occurs at multiple stages.  We conduct seasonal planning where we establish a set of proposed themes for a particular season. These themes serve as a guide for monthly planning sessions.  On a monthly basis, we we reflect on documentation gathered in the past month,  the overall direction the children have taken proposed themes and make a determination as to whether we will introduce new concepts or continue with current concepts, offering new provocations and learning opportunities.  On a weekly basis we reflect on the past week, the children’s level of interest with a given theme and progress of related long-term projects; we then establish appropriate learning activities and centers, projects, experiments, and art exploration opportunities for the upcoming week.he Reggio Approach offers one of the most rigorous early childhood learning environments, without stifling a child’s natural curiosity.The children’s natural intellectual curiosity leads lesson planning and they are true collaborators in determining both long and short-term learning projects. There is not a scripted curriculum, but rather a framework of intended topics or themes (intentions) based upon classroom discussions. These topics are often explored in great depth, which allows our children to make very high-level connections. At the core of our program are projects developed around student interest. Our project-based planning is an ever-evolving process involving the child, teacher, family and larger community in the gathering of information. Our lesson planning occurs at multiple stages. We conduct seasonal planning where we establish a set of proposed themes for a particular season. These themes serve as a guide for monthly planning sessions. On a monthly basis, we we reflect on documentation gathered in the past month, the overall direction the children have taken proposed themes and make a determination as to whether we will introduce new concepts or continue with current concepts, offering new provocations and learning opportunities. On a weekly basis we reflect on the past week, the children’s level of interest with a given theme and progress of related long-term projects; we then establish appropriate learning activities and centers, projects, experiments, and art exploration opportunities for the upcoming week.

Our Learning Environment

Service Learning

At Petaluma Village Preschool we strive to engender lifelong civic responsibility and engagement in each child. At the heart of this goal is our service learning program. Unlike traditional community service, a Service Learning Project gives children the opportunity to make meaningful connections between service activities and their own knowledge. Service learning at the preschool age level is unique to our school site and compliments to our experiential project-based Reggio Emilia approach. A complete service project involves the following elements:

 

Curricular Connections – The service activity has connections to developmentally appropriate academic curriculum and skills already occurring in the classroom.

 

Child Voice and Choice – Beyond being actively engaged in the project itself, students have the opportunity to help select, implement, and evaluate their service activity, encouraging relevancy and sustained interest. 

 

Reflection – Age appropriate opportunities are created to talk, draw, engage in related dramatic play and document the service activity. The reflection activities give children awareness of the value and impact of the service.

 

Community Partnerships – Ideally, the project will involve collaboration with a community member or agency to help identify genuine needs, contribute the assets and/or expert knowledge needed for the project. 

 

Authentic Assessment – As part of the reflection process, the project’s elements and outcomes will be assessed by the children, teachers, families and involved community members.

 

Attention is always paid to the age-appropriateness of the selected service area and student safety is our primary concern.

76 Oak Street 

Petaluma, CA 94952

(707) 765-2325

director@petalumavillage.com

License #493007916

© 2016 Petaluma Village Preschool.