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New School West

12731 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066

(310) 313-4444

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Teachers facilitate children's exploration of themes, work on short and long term projects, and guide experiences of joint, open-ended discovery and problem solving. To know how to plan and proceed with their work, teachers listen and observe children closely. Teachers ask questions, discover children's ideas, hypotheses, and theories; and provide occasions for discovery and learning.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • a very 'print-rich' environment exposes children to the written word -- in all areas
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • blocks, manipulatives, scales, measruing tapes/tools, rulers, lists to sign, games...
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • a variety of open-ended materials that can be used in many ways -- placed in all areas
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • science is indoors and out--it's their world. Blocks, magnifying glasses, mirrors, platforms...
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • tapes, records, cds, talented teachers and parents
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • beautiful art books for inspiration, clay, wire, beads, jewels, stones, shells, weaving materials...
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • music, scarves, moveable equipment for building...
Other subjects taught NSW does not plan pre-planned curriculm calendars. Children work on projects that are developed through emergent curriculum and their interest. We will extend their learning with openended questions/materials so the children are active learners. WE encourage them to seek their own answers.

From the Director:

The children make choices from a variety of centers. There is teacher support/instruction when needed to extend learning. We set the environment up to enhance group work and collaboration of ideas. We are aware of developmental milestones and know how to tap into outside resources. The developmental program supports the five domains of 'selves' of the whole child -- social, emotional, physical, cognitive an creative and provides activities and materials that enhance and develop the 5 domains. Teacher encouragement and instruction are available in all centers throughout the day.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

New School West (NSW) uses developmentally appropriate practices to learning that are largely influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early childhood education. NSW believes all children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interst in constructing theri learning, negotiating with everything their enviornment brings to them. The approach focuses on each child in relation to other children, the family, the teachs and the community rather than on each child in isolation. There is an emphasis on work in small groups. Careful consideration and attention are given to the presentation of the thinking of the children and the adults who work with them. Documentation serves many purposes: it makes parents aware of their children's experiences; and it allows teachers to better understand children, to evaluate their own work, and to exchange ideas with other educators. Additionally, NSW uses the Environment as a third teacher. The design and use of space encourage encounters, communication, and relationships. There is an underlying order and beauty in teh design and organizatin of all the space in a school and the equipment and materials within it.

A Typical Day

Typical day for 4 and 5 year olds: 7:30-9:00 -- Arrivals/inside free play time
8:55 -- Five minute Call (Time for Parents to say goodbye)
9:00-9:15 -- Morning Circle
9:15-9:30 -- Apoointment Time
9:15-11:50 -- Centers Open/free choice/focused activites/inside & outside
9:30-10:30 -- Community Snack
11:50 -- 5 minute call
11:55 -- Clean up time
12:00-12:15 -- Small circle time (individual groups)/toileting/washing hands
12:15-12:45 -- Lunch time (half day children depart)
12:45-1:00 -- Transition to rest time 1:00-2:00 -- Rest time/story tapes/ quiet individual activities
2:00-2:30 -- Pack up time/inside activity tables/large circle time
2:30 -- Afternoon children arrive and join large circle
2:45-4:00 -- Snack time

2:45-5:00 -- Inside time/outside time

4:50 -- Five minute call
4:55 -- Clean up time
5:00-5:30 -- Circle time/quiet book time 5:30 -- Say goodbye

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

New Parent Orientation; parent conferences; Back to School Night; Special Topic Night; Coffees with Roleen (parent question; parent education; child development issues); Yahoo group/email correspondence; end of the day/news posted in classroom; Parent Handbook; E-newsletter (bi monthly); day to day availability for teachers input.We have a Kindergarten Night the year prior to starting kindergarten when past families come and share their information and experiences. We pass along phone numbers of families who are in various schools of interest so families can gather information and make personal choices.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions

Handling Separation: From the Director

Every family is is important to make personal connection, gather ample information and work together to provide a secure transition. Your child's first days with us ar very important. The time children take to settle into a group an become accustomed to parent good-byes varies enormously. Before your start date, we will schedule play days for you and your child. Their purpose is for your and your child to get acquainted with us at your comfort level and gain the trust needed for open communication.