At BCS, each classroom develops its own curriculum based on the unique interests, cultures, and values of the children, teachers, and school, using inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach to early education. Classrooms work on month-long projects, minute-long activities, and every depth and length of exploration in between. We prioritize using open-ended materials that allow the children to exercise their own creativity with minimal direction -- it's fascinating to see what they come up with! In addition to the traditional teaching team, usually made up of 3-4 teachers, we consider the natural environment a teacher that plays an important role in the development of our curricula. Time is set aside to communicate with parents and involve them in this development process as well -- knowing what your children's interests are and what opportunities to explore they have at home can guide our planning in new ways. The role of the teacher is to facilitate learning by listening, watching, documenting, and reflecting on what the children gravitate toward. Using these observations, teachers offer provocations that align with the children's interests while also expanding their thinking and promoting new learning!
Teachers meet regularly to discuss curriculum development with the Program Director, and often share documentation in order to understand the concepts that children are exploring and receive feedback from peers. Each teaching team is given planning time to work collaboratively toward the shared pursuit of child-led learning.
For more information on our Reggio Emilia inspiration, see the linked page below!
Our teachers are RESEARCHERS and OBSERVERS, learning alongside the children and families
Communication and Connection with Families
Families play a crucial role in our program planning at BCS. We rely on and encourage parents and families to be involved on a number of levels, in what ways feel most comfortable to them. The biggest role, of course, is to be involved and excited about their child’s learning process and to consistently communicate with teachers. Parents can be involved in the classroom by participating in regular conversations with teachers, reading and commenting on documentation displays, and through a school email listserv. Parents can volunteer for a Board of Directors position or be involved in a variety of work days or volunteer efforts throughout the school year. Fundraising is a very important part of BCS work in which families are a welcome support.
Parent/Teacher conferences happen two times per year with the child’s primary teachers. Parents may request additional conferences or meetings at any time.
We are using an online version of the Teaching Strategies Gold Assessment to track the learning and development of all children at BCS. This system uses observations and artifacts (drawings, writing samples etc.) which are entered into different categories of learning, like Social Emotional Development, Physical Development, Cognitive Development & Language Development. This assessment system is reviewed three times per year in the Fall, Winter and Spring. This system for assessment was recommended by the Burlington School District and our other Early Learning Partners. We like it because it is strengths-based, meaning that it talks about what your child can do and the progress they have made over time.
For Preschoolers participating in ACT 166, part of the agreement with the State and the participating public schools is that we share this data with them. The assessments help show that the State’s investment in early childhood education is improving outcomes for incoming kindergarteners, and some school districts use the information to prepare for incoming 5-year-olds.