We believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is our desire as educators and caregivers to help children meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that we believe are conducive to establishing such an environment: (1) The teacher/caregiver acting as a guide; (2) The child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning is encouraged; and (3) Promotion of respect for all things and all people.
Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur. Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates a passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to student interest is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer activities than we could have created.
Helping children to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas. When the voice of each child is heard, an environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves. We continuously encourage such dialogue. We believe children have greater respect for their teachers, their peers, and the lessons presented when they feel safe and sure of what is expected of them. In setting fair and consistent rules initially and stating the importance of every activity, students are shown respect for their presence and time. In turn they learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment.
One of our hopes as educators/caregivers is to instill a love of learning in our students, as we share our passion for learning with them. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. We are such people and will always strive to be the best educators/caregivers that we can be.
TEACHING STYLE AND CURRICULUM
We believe that wonderful ideas and teaching styles come from a collection of influences: Maria Montessori teaches us to establish independence, self-esteem, and confidence while fostering learning at a child's own pace. Waldorf programs strive to stimulate children's bodies, spirits, and souls with a nurturing, homelike environment that engages all five senses.
Reggio Emilia teaches us to create learning conditions that help children develop these abilities through exposure to all matter of expressive, communicative, and cognitive experiences.
Our belief at Our Children’s Place is to not place a label of one style of teaching but to embrace and practice what we feel are the best of all techniques. Both High Reach Learning and Mother Goose Time curriculums are used in our classroom as well as additional teaching resources
Our Children’s Place recently received a Commitment To Quality award from the State of Oregon and Western Oregon University. We are a compassionate, strong, and dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about working with children. Our Lead Teachers hold degrees in Child Development and all staff members meet or exceed the state requirements of 15+ hours yearly of continuing education in early childhood education. All staff members are CPR and First Aid qualified, are registered in the Criminal Background Registry, are trained in Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse, and hold current Oregon Food Handlers permits. We operate at a 6 to 1 student to teacher ratio.
OUR SPACE & TIME SPENT
We have created our center in a large combined space allowing the children to interact with all ages in our care. Not always segregating children according to age allows us to teach the children at their individual rate and level of learning. We feel the benefits of children growing and learning together are immeasurable and enjoy the relationships created here. With that said the children also enjoy group activities with only children of their own age to further strengthen their relationships.We believe children learn through play. Planning hands on activities keep children both excited as well as interested in learning. Our day has a beautiful balance of self-lead learning as well as teacher-lead group activities and one on one time academic lessons. Stories and songs fill our day in both English and Spanish and projects are enjoyed in connection with our monthly themes. All appropriate subjects are covered with the addition of exciting thematic lessons. Subjects include My Amazing Body, Weather All Around Us, Our Houses and Homes, It’s a Small World, Nature Detectives, Growing Gardens, Fables and Folktales, Ocean Commotion and more.
CARING FOR OUR BODIES
At Our Children’s Place we try to lead by example. We teach the children healthy ways to care for their bodies inside and out through proper eating habits and creative exercise. Nourish Interactive is a favorite resource often used in the classroom. Our “Playground to Plate” project is sure to be a favorite, allowing the children to follow the process from planting to preparing delicious healthy food.
OUT & ABOUT
We love discovering the world around us. Planned walks and field trips allow us to learn about a variety of topics. Spontaneous walks around the neighborhood often create the most enjoyable and unexpected lessons.