Our curriculum and topics of investigation are most often nature-inspired. I am a strong advocate of the project-based curriculum approach, similar to what you might see in Reggio Emilia classrooms. Instead of creating a steadfast curriculum plan that can be repeated year after year, I am carefully observing the children, taking notes, considering what overarching themes are developing and where their interests are leading them. From there, my role as the teacher is to present carefully selected materials, plan meaningful field trips and ask thoughtful, open ended questions that might drive their play and inquiry to the next level. I am intentional when determining which areas of study are best child-directed and which will benefit from teacher direction or intervention. My primary goal when guiding children is to support a process of questioning, hypothesizing, observing and reflecting.
Many of the “kindergarten readiness” milestones we worry about often develop on their own when children are learning in an environment where they are free to pursue their passions and interests. In their natural and enthusiastic quest to understand the world around them, children readily acquire basic academic skills such as beginning literacy and mathematics. The overwhelming majority of children, when immersed in a project of interest, will amaze you by going above and beyond, mastering subjects, ideas and skills (including academic, social, physical) that you would never find in a preschool curriculum plan suited for an entire class. While I am very confident in this, I do appreciate how reassuring it can be for both teacher and parent to have tangible evidence that each child is developing the skills necessary to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Throughout the year I will be assessing your child in many areas, purely through observation of their play and pursuits, and documenting my observations in the form of anecdotal notes and through the use of a checklist which I can review with you at our midyear parent/teacher conference at your request (or sooner, of course, if you have concerns).