Providing high quality pre-school education in all of our communities is a constant focus at FWSU. Preschool provides a foundation for learning both socially and academically, that experts agree, will help children in elementary school. The mission of FWSU’s Early Education program is to nurture young children’s sense of wonder while laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning through a play based, inclusive environment. We are fortunate to have an outstanding early education team at FWSU. Working together this year, the Franklin West Early Education Teachers (FWEET) and FWSU Act 166 Coordinator Diana Langston, have been sharing their knowledge and expertise with each other. Discussions on pedagogy and curriculum have enabled the team to define the mission statement, philosophy and program goals of FWSU’s Early Education program. In addition, the team also developed an Early Education Handbook for the 2017-2018 school year. The handbook will be a guide for parents wanting to understand more about our programs.
The following is an overview of our program’s philosophy.
Our early education programs are based on the belief that young children learn best through active involvement in their environment and develop their skills and knowledge through these experiences. This involvement promotes the growth and development of the whole child; physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.
We believe that children learn best in a hands-on environment that is nurturing, inviting, and supportive to experiment and take risks. Ultimately, children are encouraged to embrace their own specific learning style. Our classroom learning environments are designed to make children feel safe physically, psychologically, socially and intellectually. This environment allows children to explore and interact with adults, other children and to self select a variety of materials. With compassion and insight, we implement best practices in our work with young children across all developmental domains.
Our teachers focus on developing relationships, taking time to get to know all children, their families and background, their interests and passions, their learning styles and the way they think. Teachers act as facilitators: asking questions, presenting challenges, and supporting the children’s efforts to make meaning. Sometimes teachers take a more active role by introducing new content, ideas and materials. Teachers create a community within the classroom where all children feel encouraged to share ideas and opinions. They observe, document, cheer and reflect in order to nurture children’s self esteem and skill development. The children learn as much from each other as they do from adults in their learning community.
Teachers include families in the learning community. Each child’s family and cultural identity is respected as partnerships are formed between home and school. Ongoing communication is vital so that teachers and families work together to support the uniqueness of each child’s learning and development. Teachers are architects of a community of learners, wherein all children have a sense of belonging. Working together, teachers and families can fortify this sensibility outside of home and school, constructing a caring community into which every child can step with confidence.
“Childhood, we believe, is of itself, important and to be cherished.” – Franklin West Early Education Teachers.
Target 2 – Leadership FWSU students and staff lead innovative, personalized learning opportunities, both locally and globally.
Action Step -Design multiple avenues for staff to lead, advocate, and serve within the school and community
Indicator of Success – Staff leaders innovate and take risks when faced with new challenges