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5 Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning

Young girl reading a book at preschoolInquiry-based learning is an open-ended approach to education. The students primarily guide this approach through their questions, research, and overall curiosity. At Bartram Academy, we are committed to allowing children to find their path when it comes to learning and to investigate, question, and be curious about anything and everything that interests them. Below are five benefits of inquiry-based learning for preschool children.

  1. It nurtures passions and talents. When children are passionately engaged in learning, they become empowered and will feel more in control of the information they take in. Being actively involved allows them to grow more focused on the subject and develop a strong connection with what they enjoy.
  2. It increases their motivation and engagement. By being engaged in their learning, children are more likely to be more motivated to continue learning new information and skills.
  3. It allows them to develop research skills. Research skills are something your child will need all throughout their life, and developing them early in an engaging way will enable them to enjoy the research aspect of learning both in school and on their own.
  4. It fortifies the importance of asking questions. Good questions can open their minds and help develop children into creative thinkers. When children are encouraged to ask questions, it opens them up to a deeper understanding of their interests and the confidence to continue researching them.
  5. It allows children to take ownership of their education. Allowing children to think for themselves will benefit them all throughout their life. As one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, we encourage all of our students to find their path towards learning and creating.

Using Mirrors for Reggio-Inspired Activities

Colored pencils reflected in a mirrorWhen looking to incorporate Reggio-inspired activities into your home, stocking up on a variety of different materials is essential. One fantastic material to use in your child’s at-home activities is mirrors. You can find mirrors in different shapes and sizes that can help inspire their creativity in many various projects. Whether they are using the mirror as a work surface or a canvas for painting, they can add an extra element to your child’s creative play time.

As with everything Reggio, they need to have a purpose in your child’s daily activities. Pay attention to how your children currently interact with mirrors in your home and encourage them to use them in different ways.  By placing a few in the play area, they may be more inclined to see how different objects appear when reflected and may even utilize them as a whole other dimension to their art projects.

Mirrors are an excellent inquiry tool for preschool age students, as they can help them see things in an entirely different way. If you are interested in seeing how your child reacts to these materials, try putting one underneath or behind the next activity you do with them at home. Be sure to let them discover the mirror on their own and do not explicitly direct their attention to it.

Bartram Academy is one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, that teaches based on the Reggio Emilia method. If you are interested in enrolling your child, contact us today at (904) 419-7563.

Important Words to Know When Enrolling at a Reggio Emilia School

Child drawing with thick crayonsWhen enrolling your child at a preschool that follows the Reggio Emilia model, they will experience a form of education that is catered entirely to their interests and needs. Learning in this environment utilizes a variety of materials, such as clay, paint, and dramatic play along with partaking in individual and group projects.

When your child is set to attend a Reggio-inspired preschool, there are some important words you should be aware of to help you understand the learning approach.

Documentation: Whether through a project or a series of drawings, your child is encouraged to document everything they learn. This is a great way to showcase your child’s progress, as well as seeing how they interpret the information presented to them.

Co-construction: Reggio-inspired schools actively encourage children to work together to increase their learning. Co-construction opens the door for active communication and collaboration between students and teachers.

Portfolios: Teachers will collect your child’s work over the course of the year to put together a portfolio. This will showcase all of their work in the school year and is a great way to keep all of their artwork in a neat collection.

Art Explorations for Preschool Students

Colorful stack of Playdough shapesOne way to artistically engage your preschooler is to allow them to explore a variety of different mediums. From paints to colored paper, there are so many ways for a child to express their creativity. At Bartram Academy, we encourage all of our students to delve into their artistic nature, making us one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL that practice the Reggio Emilia approach.

Below are just some of the various materials your child can use to create with.

Clay and Playdough: These materials are excellent because they allow your child to mold their shapes. Their imaginations can run wild while they create figures, buildings, and everything else they can conjure up.

Chalk: Whether you have a large blackboard for your child to draw on or let them have free range of the driveway (supervised, of course), chalk can be an excellent material for your child to use. It easily wipes and washes away, so as a parent, you will not have to worry too much about the mess.

Watercolors: Acrylic paints are great for bright, bold expression. Watercolors, however, provide an extra element to painting and require your child to think about color blending and painting in an entirely different way.

Create Colors with Your Child

Rainbow colored paint strokesIf you are looking for a way to engage in a creative activity with your child that falls in line with the Reggio Emilia model, mixing colors is always a fun time. Through mixing colors to create new ones, your child will learn which blend best and which ones will end up as a murky brown or green. Watching what each color combination turns into can be exciting for your child and an excellent way for them to learn outside of the classroom.

Having your child create their own colors allows them to have a variety of unique shades for all of their arts and crafts projects. Whether they are painting before bedtime or working on a particular project, they will have a variety of their own personal colors to use and express their vision with.

How to Set Up

  • Find some small, clear craft containers or empty jars to store your new colors in.
  • Lay out your existing colors in shallow containers, such as baking pans so that they can be easily dipped into with spoons or Popsicle sticks.
  • If you do not already own one, purchase a color wheel and some different color swatches to help teach your child about different shades and how to mix them to create the color they want.
  • Lay down some newspaper to protect your floors and furniture and start mixing!

Physical and Mental Development at Bartram Academy

Boy playing on playground slideAt Bartram Academy, our goal is to provide a variety of enrichment activities for children attending our preschool. Physical activity is one of the most critical aspects of a child’s development. Often, children are stuck sitting in classrooms for long periods of time, becoming fidgety and unable to focus on the task at hand. When working with younger children, our staff incorporates exercise into as many activities as possible to help keep their energy managed and mind engaged.

We offer a variety of activities that promote physical and mental development in children. We have a certified children’s yoga instructor to guide children ages 3 and up through simple poses and breathing exercises. We also offer Zumba lessons for kids ages 2 and under to help them get up and moving to fun, upbeat music. Our most exciting physical activity is the My Gym Children’s Fitness Center classes, full of obstacle courses, tumbling, and variety of other kid-friendly exercises.

Not only do all of these activities help children use up their energy and remain focused throughout the day, but it also promotes mental development. Yoga classes give children an opportunity to learn essential breathing exercises and mindfulness. Working together in an obstacle course encourages the growth of social skills, confidence, and teamwork.

If you are interested in learning why Bartram Academy is one of the best preschools in Jacksonville, FL, give us a call today at (904) 419-7563. We will provide additional details on all of the Reggio Emilia inspired activities that we offer for preschool-aged children.

Fundamental Principles of Reggio Emilia

little girl playing with blocksThe Reggio Emilia model was developed to provide a unique approach to early childhood learning and education. First originating in Reggio Emilia, Italy, this way of teaching has been adopted throughout schools all over the United States. Typically applied to preschools and early childhood settings, the basic principles of Reggio Emilia can be implemented in the home as well. If you are interested in learning more about this approach to early childhood education, the fundamental principles are as follows:

  • Children can construct their learning. Children are driven primarily by their interests and utilizing these, we can help them understand and know even more in a way that is catered specifically to each individual.
  • Children learn their place in the world through interactions. The Reggio Emilia model focuses heavily on social collaboration, encouraging children to work in groups and develop knowledge through communicating with others.
  • A child’s environment is also their teacher. A child learns just as much from the environment they are in as they do from their parents and teachers. Providing a creative, nurturing environment for a child to play and learn will only increase the amount of knowledge they take in.
  • The adult is their guide. The Reggio Emilia approach is very much child-led, and it is up to the adults in their lives to help guide them towards a path of learning and creativity.
  • Document your child’s thoughts. Children are inspired to make their ideas visible in many different ways, from taking photographs to writing to painting. The Reggio model puts great focus on documenting these thought progressions as your child learns.
  • Children have many languages. Children utilize many different ways to communicate their thoughts and feelings and to express themselves. The Reggio Emilia approach focuses on encouraging children to explore all of these various aspects and learn how to communicate not only through speech but art and play as well.

How to Teach Your Child about Sustainability

Child harvesting vegetablesWith resources dwindling and the population growing, leading a sustainable lifestyle is more important than ever, especially when it comes to our children. Teaching them how to live sustainably early in their life can help them make more environmentally conscious choices as they grow. At Bartram Academy, we believe in expressing sustainability in childcare to help young children develop into innovators for the future. Below are a few tips on how you can incorporate sustainability into your child’s life at home.

  • Be the example: Children learn by mimicking what the people around them do, which makes it important for the parents to set an appropriate example. If you want your child to grow up with an understanding of a greener lifestyle, you will need to make the switch and commit to it. Even simple acts such as recycling, turning lights off when you’re not in the room, and conserving water can have a lasting effect on how your child chooses to live their life as an adult.
  • Get them involved: Not only should you be practicing what you preach, but you should find fun ways to get them involved in these everyday tasks. Make a game out of sorting the recycling or dedicate some quality time to plant a garden together and watch as it grows and provides food for the family.
  • Volunteer together: A great way to get out of the house and help establish a real connection with the world is to volunteer together. Bring your kids to a park cleanup day, help them serve food at a shelter, or take them to the local ASPCA to care for the animals. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that can help show young children the joy of helping others.

The Best Back-to-School Supplies for Reggio Emilia Students

Rainbow colored art and school suppliesPurchasing back to school supplies can be an exciting and stressful time. New supplies mean a fresh start for your children, but it also means that as a parent, you need to be certain you’re purchasing everything they need. When it comes to Reggio Emilia preschools in Jacksonville, FL, many of the supplies are already provided to students. However, it’s always a great idea to purchase additional supplies to supplement your child’s learning at home. Below is a list of what we recommend your child have on hand.

  • Expo markers/dry-erase boards/laminated tracing materials: Reggio Emilia schools are all about making sustainable choices. In an effort to go green in the home, provide your child with dry-erase boards and markers. This allows them to write and draw as they please, but does not use up a large amount of paper.
  • Art supplies: Reggio Emilia schools put a lot of emphasis on a child’s creativity and expression. Ensuring your child has a variety of art supplies means they can get to work at any time throughout the day. These supplies include glue sticks, crayons, watercolors, markers, sketch pads, etc. We also encourage the use of recycled materials for home projects.
  • After-school art box: A great way to encourage your child’s creativity outside of school is to have an after-school art box ready to go when they get home. Fill it with a variety of art materials, switching them up every now and then to keep things interesting, and encourage your child to create something each and every day. This can also help keep children occupied during meal prep or when you’re in need of some downtime.
  • At-home “work” area: Creating a space for your child to work and play at home can help encourage them to expand upon their interests. Giving them a place to sit down and craft, play pretend, or read can help keep them occupied and engaged in learning long after the school bell rings.

Benefits of a Reggio Emilia Daycare

child coloring with crayonsWhen it’s time to enroll your child in their very first day care, researching all of the local facilities and their level of care can be stressful. When you enroll your child in a Reggio Emilia daycare in Jacksonville, FL, you’ll be allowing them the freedom to choose how they want to learn and be encouraged to pursue the areas they excel at the most.

With a focus more on personal development and less on exams, a child’s early education experience can be much more rewarding for the long-term. Being educated in this way allows for children to understand their creativity and feel comfortable expressing it, allowing them to be better writers, speakers, and artists. The Reggio Emilia approach can also positively impact social skills and behavior. In some studies, many children educated under this method have been more likely to interact in a positive way with other children.

At Bartram Academy, we have a wonderful staff full of teachers dedicated to helping your child succeed and meet key developmental stages in their early life. We encourage cooperative play both in the classroom and outside on the playground by allowing the children to guide their daily activities. If you’re interested in enrolling your child in our daycare in Jacksonville, FL, contact us today at (904) 419-7563.