Escuela Viva was developed with two main goals in mind. The first is to provide an enriching environment that supports the spiritual, academic and humanistic needs of our children. The second is to support the development of both English and Spanish language skills. As our program is a dual language program, children will be taught in their native language while providing more and more opportunities to hear a second language.
The Reggio Emilia Approach
“The Reggio Approach is about guiding children’s ideas with provocations-not pre-determined curricula… If you can believe in the image of the competent child who can produce theory, then you can understand why the first verb of the Reggio schools is ‘to listen’ (Rinaldi)” Karen DeBord, PhD
Education For Life Philosophy
“Education for Life is a philosophy of holistic education that emphasizes experiential learning, spiritual development, and practical skills for living… underlying all our academic efforts is the understanding that happy children make the best learners.” (edforlife.org)
Escuela Viva’s Guiding Principles
Love and respect permeate every aspect of our school community
Children are competent, active learners
Children, parents, teachers, and the environment are partners in the learning process
Children have an amazing capacity to learn language
Children are celebrated and empowered when their learning is made visible
Without compromising the fundamentals, we take a holistic approach to education that enables children to grow towards full maturity. This includes helping children understand how their bodies work, how their emotions affect their behavior, and how to focus their energy in such a way as to enhance learning.
The overall goal is that our children grow to understand how to live the best possible life filled with joy and happiness. We incorporate Spanish language learning into our school day, as our teachers share with the students their love for the Spanish language in conversation and interactions throughout the day. We welcome the opportunity to share our philosophy with you and your children.
Our Approach to Spanish
Our philosophy related to second language acquisition is that children will develop a love for language and become a partner in learning.
Nothing can be more frightening than to start your academic career and not understand what your teachers are saying to you. Immersion works well….it just isn’t how we approach this learning.
There are plenty of moments in your child’s life where they will feel pressure to learn. That isn’t how we approach any learning at Escuela Viva. We will make the learning, albeit Spanish, a new dance/song, or how to be a contributing member of their classroom, an experience they will carry for a life time. A time where they were allowed to learn at their pace, their interests were valued, and they felt competent in mind and body.
The Early Childhood Movement
Since Escuela Viva’s birth in July of 2004, the hope has been that we would be part of a group of educators leading the movement to professionalize early childhood education. At the heart of this desire lies the understanding that all children deserve a quality education.
Additionally, no one will argue that many children, especially those from disadvantaged homes, start their educational career ill-prepared to learn. As a social worker working in the field of child abuse prevention I was surprised to learn that early childhood education is one of the key prevention strategies to prevent child abuse.
Parents As Partners
In order to be effective teachers we must have consistency between home and school. We offer a variety of means for achieving this goal; open communication, parent-teacher conferences, emails, parent’s meetings, newsletters, and planning committees.
We value your input. Parents are key to the success of Escuela Viva. Without your support and commitment we could never achieve our maximum potential.
Our Educational Foundations
Constructivism is at the heart of The Reggio Emilia approach. The fundamentals of constructivism are evident throughout the work we do with the children. Pulling from the Education for Life philosophies we have the framework to see children as unique and individual learners, having their own set of tools for learning about themselves and the world around them. This allows us to teach the whole child. The four tools of maturity offer a lens into these different modalities. We connect each child’s learning styles within the Developmental Domains listed below.
Developmental Domains for Curriculum/Project Planning (Tools of Maturity)
Physical development – fine/gross motor (physical)
Problem solving (will)
Children all have different ways of learning. The four tools of maturity are found within us all in varied degrees and amounts. By working to incorporate all four tools of maturity into the students project work, teachers are able to reach more students. Finding ways to incorporate all four tools of maturity in the work we do with the children is the major way for evaluating children’s development, planning and tracking projects, as well as tracking progress and assessment.