How should we prioritize children’s time at the youngest ages? Many of us recognize that early childhood is a sensitive time for the kinds of learning kids do through open-ended play, being in nature, and interacting with people. Balancing these activities is more art than science.
Our emergent "curriculum" is designed to be developmentally appropriate for pre-school age children. That means we focus on foundational skills: We cultivate a school environment that builds foundations for learning and life. The most important goal we have is to foster curiosity.
Formal teaching takes a backseat to enthusiasm. However, we read books together every single day, and we have endless learning resources in our back pockets. We just can't help ourselves--we pull out our own field guides when curiosity strikes us, we let the interests of individual children spark our inspiration for learning activities. Scaffolding children's natural curiosity into learning is simply an outgrowth of being lifelong learners ourselves!
Won't my child fall behind if I don't start ____ now?
The short answer is no: for most school subjects including reading, writing, arithmetic, and computer skills, kids' brains seem to soak in these skills whether they're started at age 3 or age 7. In Finland, children don't begin formal education--including learning to read--until age 7, and Finnish students routinely beat other countries, including the U.S., on tests of reading, math, and science. At Chickadee Hollow, we nurture the desire to learn to read first--by reading fun books together! When school is fun, and kids' experiences teach them they can be successful in a school environment, they will be eager to dive into formal schooling later and approach their studies with interest and tenacity.
Besides developing intrinsic motivation for learning, our program emphasizes those things that ARE important to begin early. Here is a sample of what a day might look like at Chickadee Hollow:
9:00 GROSS MOTOR PLAY
9:45 EAGLE TRAIL WALK
10:30 GROUP ACTIVITY
11:00 FREE EXPLORATION
11:30 STORY TIME
Program is fully outdoors.