The early childhood program at St. Luke’s offers a child-centered, play-based approach inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. We view children as intelligent, capable, and curious learners who by their very nature will explore, discover, question, experiment, and construct their own knowledge about the world.
The Reggio Emilia method is an open-ended approach that emphasizes exploration and hands-on learning based on children’s current interests. This method, which is aligned with current best practices as defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), emphasizes 21st-century learning skills including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and community awareness. With the Reggio method, the environment plays an essential role, so the intentional creation of environments that engage children and teachers in the learning process is ongoing. Rather than direct learning, our early childhood teachers act more as facilitators and co-learners with their students.
Our early childhood curriculum includes the use of traditional materials such as paint and clay, but it also regularly incorporates other modes of expression such as light, shadow, and sound. Children also have the opportunity to explore with elements found in nature. Rocks, sticks, leaves, soil, and other natural elements are commonly used to introduce science, math, and pre-reading concepts.
A typical day in one of our prekindergarten classes starts with free play as children enter, followed by clean up and circle time. Afterwards, the children play in centers involving art, phonemic awareness, and imaginative play while a teacher or assistant works individually to complete projects, work on motor skills, or reading and math readiness. Children will also have a snack and go to enrichment classes and the outdoor play space each day before having lunch and rest time or going home in the afternoon. After rest time, students who stay will engage in additional centers based activities that reinforce lessons taught that morning. Prekindergarten through kindergarten students do attend a very child friendly chapel on Thursday mornings.