Northside preschool classrooms learn through an emergent, Reggio Emilia inspired, curriculum that is constructed by faculty through student individuality and class observations. The faculty employ student interests and weave in age-appropriate skills, questions, objectives, and a collective knowledge of child development. Classes take part in in-depth investigations of topics that we refer to as projects. Through both child-directed and teacher-facilitated activities, children are given the opportunity to fully explore the world around them. The project topics are often connected to something the children have had experiences with and can be concrete (i.e. babies, subways, fire trucks, etc.) or abstract (i.e. water, light, measurement, etc.). A multi-sensory approach is used to meet the varying learning styles and developmental needs of each child. Children will engage with and express themselves through a variety of media, including, but not limited to, paint, clay, collage, music, dance, storytelling, blocks, natural materials, and recycled materials.
Teachers use the developmental milestones set forth by the New York State Early Learning Guidelines as well as their own professional experience, to provide opportunities that help each student meet age appropriate expectations. Projects are considered a vehicle by which the children construct knowledge and gain a sense of ownership over their own learning. While time working on projects is an important part of the day, all aspects of the preschool schedule are filled with numerous opportunities for skill building and learning.
Consistency and predictability within the preschool daily schedule is an important factor toward building community and relationships among peers and adults alike. While there is flexibility in routine, the components of the day remain the same from class to class. Each group participates in group conversations at morning assembly, time for project work, and opportunities for gross motor exercise. Ample time is also allotted for meals, play, read aloud, rest time and bathroom breaks. Students in the preschool have a rich schedule that is supplemented with music, and art.