Playing and Learning in Early Childhood
Stepping Stones Children Center, Inc. is a Vermont licensed, NAEYC accredited preschool located in the Five Sisters neighborhood in Burlington, Vermont. To learn more about our program please contact us.
Stepping Stones focuses on the development of the whole child. We look to nurture the cognitive, physical, emotional, social and creative life of the child, believing every child is unique, competent and developing at his or her own pace. Through observation and documentation teachers research and reflect upon the children's play and topics of interest with all members of the community: creating challenges, provoking curiosity, encouraging problem-solving, and delighting in discoveries made through child, teacher and parent engagements. For the inside scoop on how this works Clay Play , In The Kitchen, and Permission to Talk share stories of our everyday experiences and practices.
We believe that children learn best through hands on experiences and play. We encourage children to be life-long meaning-makers, to develop self-control and to be self-directed by offering opportunities to contribute, initiate, investigate, and follow through on interests within a dynamic community context. Children are encouraged to make choices and learn to develop healthy relationships with their peers and community.
We believe that children thrive when parents and teachers establish strong relationships through respectful communication and collaboration. Daily conversation about home and school events, journal exchanges, community meetings, and participation in emergent curriculum/project development, are some of the ways we enjoy our partnership. Like John Dewey, we believe that "education should be child centered; [it] must be both active and interactive; and [it] must involve the social world of the child and the community." We believe it is in this kind of setting that children have the greatest opportunity to thrive. As teachers, we welcome parent's values and their vision for their children as a way of educating our school and practices.
We believe that when children are holistically respected, teachers are present, attending, and participating in each child's life with responsible kind-hearted intention. We believe that it is important for children to have plenty of open time to construct their understanding about the world both independently and interdependently. It is important to enable children to impact the culture of their school, to be affected by the group and to feel a contributing member. When a child feels safely belonging to a community this experience sets a positive tone for lifelong learning and playful meaning-making.