The Prince of Peace Preschool philosophy is based on love, God, and meaningful learning. We believe strongly that every child has multiple gifts and that our job as educators is to discover and help children build on those strengths. Our preschool teachers offer provocations as well as probing questions to stimulate the children’s innate curiosity and interest in the world around them. Teachers listen for the ideas and theories of the children and provide them with materials and projects to explore their ideas and theories. Families and community greatly enrich children’s lives and are encouraged to participate in school activities. We follow established best practices in Early Childhood Education outlined by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).
Reggio Emilia – Inspired Philosophy
The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education was developed in a town in northern Italy bearing that name. The Reggio Emilia educational system is commonly recognized as one of the best programs for young children worldwide.
The Image of the Child
We view every child as strong, capable, independent, curious, and full of imagination. We empower children to think, question, investigate, explore, and help navigate the journey of learning.
Teachers observe and document the interests, interactions, and conversations of children then scaffold their learning with those ideas in mind. By developing learning opportunities from these observations, the curriculum “emerges” from children’s interests and ideas.
The teachers allow children to explore these areas of interest in detail by developing project work. Teachers are thoughtful about introducing a broad range of opportunities, from art to music to early language, math, science and nature experiences, in support of the project. By exploring projects of children’s interest in great detail, children are excited by the learning process. This enthusiasm for knowledge, combined with the ability to experience project work in detail, will foster a predisposition for “life-long” learning.
The Role of the Teacher
The teacher is viewed as a partner in learning, with the children. By listening, observing, and documenting children’s work, the teacher is equipped to guide children’s learning experiences, and “co-construct” knowledge.
The Role of Environment
The environment of the school (its classrooms, common spaces, and playground) is viewed as the “third teacher.” The environment should be a reflection of the children, teachers, and parents who live and learn there. It should be thoughtful, imaginative, enticing, and respect the image of the child.
We encourage parents to participate in project work, special events, and the daily life of the school. We seek to build an learning community, where teachers, parents, and administrators work together to meet the needs of the children.
Teachers help make the children's learning visible through photographs, videos, writing, and other documentation. Every child has a portfolio, consisting of art , photographs, information related to developmental milestones, and teacher observations.
Dr. Kristine Sunday, Assistant Professor of Teaching at Old Dominion University, began a research and professional development collaboration with POPP in 2015 to support the staff in their development of Reggio inspired practices. Her work, with the teachers, is designed to extend and deepen their understanding of how young children learn and how the teachers can use their understanding of that learning in the development of curriculum. At the same time, the teachers and Dr. Sunday are working together to help parents and the community see the advantages of following children’s interests and strengths, and how a Reggio inspired approach fully integrates the skills and dispositions necessary for a successful life in school, while simultaneously providing time for play, creativity and self-directed exploration.
Dr. Kristine Sunday is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning at ODU. She earned her PhD in Art Education from the The Pennsylvania State University in 2011, where she also worked as a faculty member from 2010-2014. Dr. Sunday’s research and expertise is focused on children’s learning, specifically the role of the visual arts in children’s thinking. She has been a featured speaker, invited author, and guest editor for international, national, and local audiences and publications.