Philosophy & Approach
We believe the true nature of preschool is a place where children come to feel happy and competent emotionally, socially, and cognitively. This is at the heart of all we do. By nurturing every child’s positive experience of school, we ensure children begin their education career with optimism and self-confidence that will endure throughout their elementary years.
Smart Love’s approach to early childhood education is guided by the well-established and endorsed Smart Love principles. At its heart, these principles promote an understanding of a child’s mind and emotions at every stage of development and help parents and teachers use this understanding to foster every child's love of learning and their potential. Smart Love teachers are trained in this approach and apply it in our classrooms. This teaching style is widely regarded as a mark of a high-quality early childhood education.
Starting school is a major life transition and the importance of this transition is widely acknowledged in national and international research. These findings suggest that children's experiences during the transition-to-school time can have long term impacts on learning resilience and self-regulation. When a child experiences a positive start to school, the more likely she will have success both socially and academically.
Our early child care education programming is designed to help parents and children with this important transition. Our program gently introduces school to toddlers in a fun and non-pressured way. Teachers engage children in all classes with developmentally appropriate games, materials and activities designed to foster curious, eager and enthusiastic learners.
SMART LOVE IN ACTION
In a Smart Love classroom, our environment is achieved by creating a positive relationship between child and teacher. When the child-teacher relationship is built on trust, understanding and compassion, the child’s emotional needs are met, allowing her to develop positive feelings about school and learning. From this place, effective social-emotional development and learning occurs in a natural, child-focused way.
An important aspect of this approach is meeting children where they are in their development, especially regarding learning to use the toilet and parent and child separation. At Smart Love, we support a child’s developmental milestone of potty training, or what we call “toilet choosing,” it’s not a requirement children are "potty trained" or have mastered toileting to enter school. We also promote and encourage parents to stay on the premises until their child feels comfortable separating, so that both parent and child feel secure while apart.
One of the pleasures of school is the fun of having friends. Due to the developing nature of the child, he learns how to be friends from having the space and freedom to choose to be one. At Smart Love, the learning environment is filled with developmentally appropriate activities that are guided by teachers who know how to respond to children in a way that promotes positive relationships among each other. This helps children navigate the ups and downs of peer relationships and become more self-regulated because they feel cared for and want to model the actions of those they admire.
Our teachers optimize learning through active play. Every activity, whether simulating an airplane ride or creating our own farmer’s market, makes learning visible so that teachers can “springboard” the joy of learning in a fun and stimulating way. In a Smart Love classroom, children experience learning as a pleasurable and dynamic activity and are eager to do more of it.
The Smart Love approach stimulates a child’s natural curiosity and her desire to show us what she knows. By understanding each child individually, our teachers can engage a child in a way that not only encourages exploration and discovery, but also strengthens the child-teacher relationship.
Learning through play is widely considered the best way for young children to learn about the world around them and others. Smart Love’s child-focused approach allows for active, guided play. This type of play helps foster a love of learning that lasts throughout life. (See All Work and No Play, by Esther Entin, The Atlantic, October 12, 2011.)
Social and Emotional Focus
Smart Love fosters children’s social and emotional development by encouraging positive relationships. This begins with their relationship with their teachers, which then fosters positive relationships with each other. These relationships create a feeling of confidence, camaraderie, flexibility and creativity that helps children gradually and successfully adjust to school life.
Smart Love teachers are extensively trained to ensure children’s emotional and social well-being while fostering their enthusiasm for learning. Each day our goal is to combine our unique curriculum and approach to learning to foster young children’s long-term school success.