Our educators at Stretch the Imagination take inspiration from the understanding that children are very capable and competent learners. We believe that children learn within the context of relationships, both with the adults and the peers they engage with. We offer hands-on explorations that support a child's innate ability to question, interact with, and experience the world around them. We believe in the importance of play and the magic of early childhood. We incorporate the arts, music and movement into our explorations with intention as we understand their developmental benefits. We understand that we are facilitators and guides in a child's educational experiences. We have much to learn with the children and we honor that this learning experience is reciprocal. We believe that it is not only what a child learns, but how a child learns that gives quality to the educational experience.
Children are dropped off in the morning or afternoon based on their age. Once at school the classes follow a flow or rhythm to the day based on the project work and the children's interests. There are however consistent elements to our days together such as, but not limited to, those listed below:
Children start their day with a community meeting where they reflect on past experiences, learn about their choices or explorations for the day to come, say hello to their friends, etc.
Classes then divide into smaller groups to explore classroom materials or engage in project work.
The children and educators comes together again to eat snack as a community.
They often divide again for more small group work, free choice play, and project work.
Classes end the day together as a community.
Once a week classes also meet with our music specialist for a 30 minutes music class. Music, singing and instruments are also incorporated throughout the day for small group explorations, transitions, and community meetings.
Children play outside each day for at least 30 minutes.
Art is a large part of our program and is woven into the curriculum throughout the day and throughout the project work. Art is used as a tool to represent and explore children's thoughts, questions and curiosities.
The Natural Classroom: All children who are at least 3 years old participate in our Natural Classroom program. Drop off and pick up take place at our natural classroom location. All 5 day programs meeting once a week in nature and all 3 day programs meet in nature every other week. Our SF school explores the Presidio and our Marin school explores the Audubon Sanctuary in Tiburon.