Welcome to Little Reds!
Where learning meets play.Little Reds is a co-ed early childhood program created specifically to promote learning through inquiry, discovery, literacy and numeracy. Our classrooms embrace the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which allows for the teacher, child and classroom to work in collaboration to create independent, curious, and joyfully engaged learners.
“Our children are hardwired to be curious. This sense of curiosity and wonder applies not only to the students, but to the teachers as well. Each year, teachers and students embark on a journey together. A journey led by curiosity, interest and occurrences that take place as the journey unfolds.”
- Alice Wetzel, Director of Early Childhood Education
Our Little Reds Preschool program is for children ages 2 - 5 years old and includes a Pre-Kindergarten program for our 4-5 year olds, while our Little Reds Infant/Toddler program is for the tiniest members of our community at 6 weeks to 2 years old.
Our teachers support the growth of the whole child with a focus on 21st century skills. Our educators, starting at the youngest learners who are only a few weeks old, introduce and model skills including independence, confidence, creativity and collaboration. They observe and analyze the interactions of all students, then plan and create a learning environment to guide each student as he or she progresses. This allows our students to have hands-on, authentic learning experiences at all times either in our indoor spaces or in our outdoor classrooms and gardens.
This comprehensive and innovative approach sets our students up for intellectual and personal success by establishing a strong foundation of academics and a love of learning.
The most genuine learning happens when students are engaged through hands-on experiences. By planting a butterfly garden and watching a caterpillar on milkweed grow into a chrysalis and transform into a butterfly, our Little Reds explore the life cycle of nature, and a lifelong love of animals and the natural world is born.
The Reggio Emilia-inspired philosophy in our Little Reds program emphasizes learning through the natural world. Our students experience first-hand the food cycle, science and the environment by planting a garden, harvesting, and preparing and serving vegetables (carrots, radishes, kale, green beans) for a shared community feast. Bonus: Because the children are so invested in the process, even our pickiest eaters are willing to experience new flavors and try all of the vegetables. After the harvest, our children have a salad bar party!
No matter the weather, every week the Little Reds explore the backwoods, five acres of trees, wetlands and a stream. Discoveries abound: the crunch of fallen leaves, the wetness of green moss, the pop of flowers in springtime, the mystery of footprints in crisp white snow. The Reggio Emilia-inspired approach to learning encourages curiosity and hands-on experiential learning.
As children start exploring the world around them, a great place to start is with themselves. In the Reggio Emilia-inspired philosophy, self-portraits help children understanding symbolic representation. This creates an opportunity to discuss who we are as individuals in relation to the world around us.
Our Little Reds explore the world beyond their classroom, from the innovation spaces at RPCS to the local library and grocery store, to encourage community and collaboration. Relationship building and teaching empathy and compassion are key components of the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach.
Our children use the playground to climb, jump and run, and also to read, write, learn, explore, and create art. It is a place to interact with each other and the natural world. We select greenery that encourages visits from butterflies, insects, hummingbirds and squirrels. We hang feeders in hopes of spotting feathered friends. We have decomposing logs and rocks for our children to turn over and find worms, centipedes and other critters. Plus, we go outside in all kinds of weather: warm, cold, wet, snow. With all of these different seasonal elements in play, we constantly have new and exciting learning opportunities to explore seasons and nature’s life cycle.
The Reggio Emilia-inspired approach at Little Reds harnesses the children’s interests to build critical thinking and developmental skills. After many of our families traveled over the winter break, the students pored over maps to see where they went and then created maps of their own, an intentional exercise that encourages fine motor skills as well as mental imaging and spatial representation.
In the Little Reds classroom, no two arts and crafts projects are alike, as our teachers plan and provide materials, but not end products. The Reggio Emilia-inspired approach encourages students to come up with their own artistic vision and plan. The result? Beautiful, original artwork that encourages fine motor skills and emphasizes creativity, individuality and innovative ideas.