At Rowanberry School, the surroundings are abundant with opportunities for the child’s innate love of learning and discovery to unfold. The materials, offered with beauty and intention, the rich classroom environment, and the organic garden all invite exploration. We enjoy regular outings to Woodlawn neighborhood parks and businesses as a way of extending our sense of place.
We learn through everyday activities like making soup, caring for the animals, and planting seeds in the garden. We gather together at morning meeting to share stories, play games, sing songs, and discuss our plans for the day. Our ongoing project work and dedicated studio time provides us with opportunities for deeper inquiry and reflection.
In a child’s typical school day, she might paint in the studio, play in the classroom tree with friends, dig for worms in the garden, and illustrate a story in her journal. These rich experiences honor different ways of knowing and seeing, and give the children abundant opportunities to make powerful connections to the world around them.
“The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences. We must widen the range of topics and goals, the types of situations we offer and their degree of structure, the kinds and combinations of resources and materials, and the possible interactions with things, peers, and adults.” -Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Municipal Infant-Toddler Centers and Preschools.
Ample time is provided for free play, as it encourages a deeper learning. It is through free play that children absorb the world around them at their own pace.
Play offers unlimited opportunities for learning as children explore endless variations and extensions on an idea. Children who know how to play rarely become bored. Instead they become self-motivated individuals who learn how to solve problems, lead and follow others, and think creatively and imaginatively.
“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
-Joseph Chilton Pearce
Through the unfolding rhythm of the day, the week, and the year, children at Rowanberry School gain a powerful sense of connection to their world. Community festivals and seasonal celebrations are held to foster a deep relationship with the cycles of nature and build connections between families and school. We develop Class Agreements together to build a strong classroom community, and strategies for problem solving to help nurture and uphold those agreements in our daily life. Each year we reflect on the classroom community and our unique place in it by asking ourselves the question:
“Who am I? Who are You? Who are We when We are Together?”