The tides of education have flowed for centuries between imposed structure and internal structure; teacher-directedness and child-directedness; Froebels Conservatism and Dewey Progressivism; Back-to-Basics and Open Classrooms; back and forth, mixing, creating derivatives. Early childhood education is itself a progressive, interdisciplinary field, and all preschools, including Griffin Nursery School, have the same beliefs:
- that young children are purposeful individuals who learn by doing;
- that they learn through concrete experiences and through their senses;
- that they move through universal developmental stages that have been described by various models, but that they also have unique temperaments and learning styles;
- that play is the predominant mode in which children invent, practice, and extend who they are;,that a good education tends to children in all emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and creative respects;
- and that children need to feel competent, useful, and appreciated in their families and in their communities of peers.
Group Time IS a teacher-directed period of our day, a twenty-minute period at the end of each morning and beginning of each afternoon. In the mornings, we think a short time of enjoyable togetherness (songs, dancing, games, discussions, stories) helps build community. In the afternoon we put more emphasis on kindergarten readiness skills—listening and teamwork practices, literacy and numeracy games, and fine and large motor exercises.
We gear all our groups toward helping our children develop social and emotional literacy and body awareness and control. Blue Boy Stories (collaborative stories about school situations) and Yoga are regular features.