Key Features of Old Firehouse School
We have a primary caregiver model at Old Firehouse School. Children have one caregiver who develops a nurturing special relationship with the child and the child’s family. The two great child psychologists, John Bowlby and Erik Erikson teach us that in the first few years of life children learn to trust or mistrust that their significant others will be reliable and able to meet their needs appropriately. Children carry the lesson they learn about the nature of trust with them for the rest of their lives. For this reason we strive for continuity of care here. As much as possible our children will have the same primary caregiver for their stay with us. We choose staff who understand the importance of their relationships with children.
Like Piaget, we believe that children’s ability to think abstractly at 14 and thus to do algebra, to write, to synthesize and to understand complex issues is begun in the preschool years. The opportunities we provide for them to pretend, to express their thoughts in words, actions, and art forms, to share and collaborate with their peers and teachers form the foundation for later intellectual skills.
We accomplish this through our Reggio Emilia inspired project work. At our school we encourage groups of children to decide on a project they would like to study. We then set about a long term project in which we investigate the topic in depth.
Because the topics emerge from the children’s own minds and interests, its called an emergent curriculum. Last year our Lafayette toddlers studied “doggies”—the only word and enthusiasm they had in common. Our three year old children investigated “What is a teacher?” “How do you become one?” “What do they eat?” “Where do they sleep.” Our prekindergarten children studied kindergarten. “Can you mommy come with you?” “What happens if you push someone when you are on the climbing structure.” In all these projects, our goal is to develop a “can do” attitude.
We want children at Old Firehouse School to leave us with generous hearts, open minds, and positive attitudes. According to our parents, we are succeeding.