THE RIVER EAST PHILOSOPHY
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” - Aristotle
We believe children naturally learn about the world around them through active exploration and play, which is heightened by conscious awareness and support of their individual strengths and interests. We believe teachers are most effective when they develop and implement a curriculum that respects and explores each child's creative potential. We've designed the River East School environment to offer a rich landscape of opportunities for each child to learn according to their own pace and interests.
We regard the environment, our nutrition program, atelier, and diverse early literacy library as essential components of our program, among others. New concepts and skill-building opportunities are presented at appropriate developmental stages and then built upon through both structured activities, as well as imaginative and inquiry-based play. Our philosophy incorporates principles found in Reggio Emilia, Malaguzzi's Hundred Languages of Children, play and inquiry-based learning, the constructivist approach to learning, and RIE methodology.
KEY TENETS TO OUR PHILOSOPHY
We believe education is a journey we chart together- for learning and development to happen organically, it must be communal and symbiotic--meaning the friends curiosities and observations guide our teacher's every decision. We truly develop the curriculum together.
We favor expansive thought processes and elastic knowledge over fixed information or rote response.
At RES, our aim is to deepen the friends' ability to problem-solve. One of the many ways that we help to develop and deepen their inquiry is by starting our conversations with an open-ended question.
We incorporate research-backed principles from the science of wellness, health, and mind-body connection into our daily routines, activities, and interactions.
We see children's play as intellectual discourse, and a unique language for the expression of ideas, collaboration, and movement. As well as an opportunity to practice what they are learning. As we always say, " Play is the friends' language".
We believe that the highest form of learning is teaching. We feel that children of all ages are well-suited to come together, so they can both learn from, and along with, one another.
BACK TO BASICS
We celebrate “slow” experiences with food, such as baking bread in-house, grinding our own flour blends, or heading out to the coop to care for our chickens and thank them for supplying our school with eggs each day.
We believe that by exposing the friends to the process, they develop a deeper level of respect and appreciation for the product.
We meet each friend where they are at and move at the child's desired pace. We differentiate everything we do to meet each child at their unique zone of proximal development.
We encourage creative collaboration and often work together as a community on projects, focusing on the process, rather than the product, and what we experience as we work together.
We see the environment as the third teacher. Based on this belief, a great deal of care goes into the physical space to make it as cognitively and emotionally engaging as it is aesthetically pleasing.
FOSTERING A LIFE-LONG LOVE AND APPRECIATION FOR FOOD
We elevate mealtimes by making and serving delicious (and nutritious) organic meals, which is an integral component of our learning process and school experience each day. Each meal is enjoyed while gathered around the table, exchanging ideas, and encouraging adventurous food choices to help facilitate a healthy relationship with food and nutrition.
The power behind a community is something we discuss with the friends daily. Community is something that we constantly feel so grateful for because we truly believe that it takes a village and we have seen the power that comes from bringing together a group of like-minded families and we could not do this without them.
At River East School, at the root of everything we do, is with a very specific goal in mind: to help the friends become the very best version of themselves. They have a role to fill in our community, and in the world, that only they can fill because it is unique to them.
At River East, our intent is to help each child thrive in a deeply caring environment by offering tools for constant learning and multifaceted expression. We hope to encourage and develop each child's sense of self, capacity for care, imagination, and critical thinking abilities. We value the process of learning over academic instruction, which can hinder out-of-the-box, or beyond-the-box thinking and intuitive, relational understanding. We aspire to engage children’s hearts and minds as we practice hands-on learning, empathy-building, conflict resolution, and effective teacher role modeling. We believe in the power of language and effective communication, and it's ability to break down barriers and allow greatness to unfold.
We believe children are born with innate intelligence, profound inner worlds, and emotional depth. We aspire to bring forth their innate wisdom and capabilities by allowing and observing their unique expression, which manifests through the language of play, exploration of the arts, immersive sensorial experiences, opportunities for gross and fine motor skill development, meditative and grounding breath work, and consistently nutritious and delicious elevated organic meals and snacks each day. We believe positive early childhood experiences are vital to individual and social progress, which is why we endeavor to support children's growth in the most intentional, artistic, consistent, and loving way possible.