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Notes for Prospective Students
Our Mission, Values and Beliefs:
"All children are strong, capable
Guided by this understanding, we at Williamsburg
Northside welcome families into beautiful and flexible environments
where children engage in independent and collaborative
Our teaching community builds a unique curriculum
from the children's interests, their experiences with one another
and the world in which they live.
We honor authentic expression and
diversity as we cultivate compassionate citizens who find joy in
Our teachers have the responsibility to
observe and document the interests, ideas, questions, struggles,
connections and insights that their students make on a daily basis.
From that documentation the environment is arranged, materials are
gathered andthe curriculum is built.
Teachers ask provoking
questions to gather prior knowledge and learn about curiosities.
They present materials that they suspect will engage and elicit
even further interest of the study.
The classroom environment plays just as important a role as the
teacher and the students.
The teachers arrange and rearrange the
classroom with intent and respect.
Materials are chosen that will
stimulate, inspire, and challenge the children as they enter the
room in the beginning of the school year.
As the year progresses,
specific needs arise, a community is built and project topics
emerge, the environment will change as a result.
For example, the
dramatic play areas will become restaurants, taxi cabs, subway
stations, post offices, and much more.
The classroom is also set up so that children may freely engage in
activities, use materials and make choices with little adult
They will be able to use art materials, select books
and serve themselves snack because of the purposeful design of the
This respectful process lends itself to children
learning independence and gaining confidence in their
The Reggio Emilia approach uses an emergent curriculum that is
developed and guided by the children's interests.
in long-term small-group and large-group projects, which involve
hands-on investigation, finding the answers to questions, reading
about a topic, visiting sites or places, talking to experts and
visually representing their learning through a variety of medium.
Assemblies are held at specific times during the school day to
allow children to plan their project ideas and to reflect and
expand upon their work.
Pre-academic and academic areas are
integrated into the project whenever possible and when
Teachers use observation and documentation techniques to capture
children's interests, learning and development.
and techniques include written anecdotes, collected samples of
children's work, photographs, video recordings and written
transcripts of children's conversations.
Documentation serves the
purpose of encouraging children to make connections between ideas
and reflect on their work, allowing adults to reflect on children's
work and predict where their work with children might go, enabling
families to experience the work and explorations of their children,
documenting children's growth over time, and communicating the
shared respect for children and their accomplishments with the
school and larger communities.
In Reggio Emilia schools, reference is often made to the Hundred
Languages of Children.
Reggio Emilia educators share the belief
that children have many methods of communicating, including
storytelling, music, art, movement, dramatic play and construction.
All of these methods of communication are respected and encouraged
in the schools by providing children with a variety of interesting
and open-ended experiences and materials, including natural and
When children represent their ideas with a
variety of different medium, they reinforce new knowledge, allow
for the formation of new questions and predictions, learn to
elaborate on their ideas and strengthen their ability to
communicate with others