Childhood is inherently a time of wonder and joy. A healthy childhood is the setting for a full adulthood and the formula is simple: sensible rhythms of sleeping, eating and playing, along with the beauty of nature, the warmth of natural colors and the feel of natural fibers. Children are nourished as much by loving adults as they are by good food. They need a safe framework for free play, sensory experiences and exploration without being overstimulated. Being worthy role models ourselves keeps the magic alive for all.
Children learn best through self-expression, arts, crafts, music, puppetry and play. When they feel protected and nurtured, they are available for learning naturally from the environment and from others. Play offers time to integrate new concepts and interact socially. It fosters deep creativity, self-reliance and the ability to solve problems. It is the foundation for lifelong skills and for the love of challenges.
Growth is best supported in noninvasive surroundings. The environment, indoors and out, should not intrude on children’s experience, but rather allow them to come to their own understanding of relationships and how things work. Be it the rules at the lunch table or the fences around the playground, it is when children come in contact with appropriate boundaries that they learn about the world and thus develop internal security. This is supported by appropriate stimulation, so the classroom and play yard should provide colors, lighting, fabrics, sounds and toys that engage the imagination rather than impose on growing cognitive capacity.
Children’s lives are enriched by a teacher that is loving and warm yet maintains firm boundaries. A teacher is often an extension of family life and takes this gift and responsibility to heart. Open, honest communication and the ability to deal with conflict are hallmarks of a good teacher. A teacher that is emotionally balanced is a strong support to growing children. She will have the ability to adapt teaching style and methods to meet the needs of individuals as well as the group. We look to our teachers to be joyful guides through these precious early childhood years and to be worthy of imitation.
Our children depend on us to be their guardians, to have reverence for life and to live meaningful lives. The task demanded of us is grand and so very well worth it. It could never be overstated that it takes a community to raise a child, for in the sense that as humans we depend upon each other, we are all children.