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Notes for Prospective Students

Our Mission, Values and Beliefs:

"All children are strong, capable individuals.

Guided by this understanding, we at Williamsburg Northside welcome families into beautiful and flexible environments where children engage in independent and collaborative investigations.
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 learning."

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 intervention.
They will be able to use art materials, select books and serve themselves snack because of the purposeful design of the environment.
This respectful process lends itself to children learning independence and gaining confidence in their abilities.
The Reggio Emilia approach uses an emergent curriculum that is developed and guided by the children's interests.
Children engage 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 developmentally appropriate.
Teachers use observation and documentation techniques to capture children's interests, learning and development.
Documentation tools 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 recycled objects.
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


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