WHAT WE DO:
We educate young children in a respectful and evocative learning environment, helping them grow into self-aware, empathetic, capable learners for life.
WHY WE DO IT:
Educate a child in his youth…and it will stay with him forever. (Proverbs)
During the years of early childhood, the brain – the only organ not fully formed at birth – develops, and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid. Although not part of our conscious memory, the experiences and relationships we have in our youngest years have a direct affect on the adults we become. At Zimmer, we honor our roles as teachers because the education we invest in young children shapes them for the rest of their lives.
HOW WE DO IT:
Our methodology is shaped by the shared values of Judaism, and constructivist
approaches to early childhood including Reggio Emelia, Montessori and Waldorf.
1. A child has deep reservoirs of competency and capability.
Too often, society either undershoots (patronizes) the child, or overshoots (misses their developmental abilities). When we envelop the child with authentic expectations, really acknowledge their competency and empower them with the necessary tools, they rise to the occasion. Visitors to our school are often amazed at the quality of our children’s “work product” and interpersonal interactions.
2. A child’s mind is open to learning when her emotional needs are met.
We all want our children to learn. However, a child’s emotional wellbeing is a precursor to that. Seeing the child as an individual, with a particular voice, individual needs, and unique strengths sits at the foundation of their learning. The peacefulness that pervades our school is a result of our attitude.
3. True freedom happens within structure.
Discovery and open-ended creativity thrive within the framework of a consistent schedule, classroom rules, and organized spaces. Perhaps paradoxically, boundaries produce possibilities because the child knows what to expect. They feel safe to explore within the structure of our classrooms.
4. The teacher is most effective when s/he is completely in tune with the classroom vibe.
The role of the teacher is to capture the myriad learning opportunities that present themselves throughout the day. When a teacher is "present" or "in tune" with the dynamically changing classroom vibe, the opportunities for authentic learning are maximized. Our teachers prepare carefully and intentionally, but - with assessments in real time - they can purposely adjust a lesson or take advantage of the teachable moment that arises organically.
5. The learning should be visible.
The child’s work – both the process and the product – is documented and showcased. This provides a concrete forum upon which the teacher can re-listen, re-visit, re-see the child’s growth. Additionally, parents have a window into the learning, and the child feels accomplished.
6. Teachers and parents who work in partnership are impactful.
When a child is fortunate enough to have a seamless flow between his home and school life, it fills her with a sense of security and clarity. We work to build two way communication and trust with our parent body so that we can provide consistent messages to our children.
7. The physical environment has great significance on the child’s learning.
Creative and inspired spaces – organized, well-lit, and filled with meaningful and interesting objects – invigorate the child’s learning.
8. Time spent in nature connects the child to the world around them.
Today’s technological world deprives us of the many benefits we reap from fresh air, running fields, planting veggies, and caring for animals. Connecting with nature builds within our children a sense of appreciation and responsibility back to the world from which we get so much.
9. Humor, always humor.
Laughter has a way of making any endeavor more productive.