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Longfellow Preschool at Mount Ida College

777 Dedham Street
Newton Center, MA 02459

(617) 928-4530


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Here at Longfellow Preschool we foster the development of positive self-esteem, pro-social behavior, and respect for others. The developmental curriculum encourages curiosity and discovery, while enhancing each child's creative abilities and cognitive needs.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

From the Director:

Our school is deeply inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education, formulated by educator Loris Malaguzzi, who worked with parents in villages around Reggio Emilia in northern Italy after World War II. This approach, described as "emergent curriculum," enables teachers to capture and document the innate creativity and curiosity of children in a wide variety of curriculum opportunities: painting, drawing, molding, singing, dancing, pretending, and constructing. These are a few of the many "languages" that children use to construct their knowledge and make sense of their world. Most of all, in the words of Loris Malaguzzi, there should be "nothing without joy."

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Longfellow Pre-School program acknowledges the importance and value of the early childhood years. Our goals are to support children in these first years by providing opportunities for healthy development in a rich teaching and learning environment.

Our program design is a multi-age group model, with children from 3 to 5 years of age. The school is located in a colonial house that has been adapted to accommodate classrooms, workshops and studios for children. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the child's abilities, learning styles, and individual unique qualities. Our teaching practices acknowledge that every child has potential, which can be enhanced through developmentally appropriate curriculum and program planning.

The use of the expressive arts as a knowledge base has also been an important hallmark of the Longfellow approach to early childhood education. Teachers facilitate this knowledge by providing the materials and tools for learning in the classroom. Much of our planning is based on the ideas and the interests of the children in the group. This relationship between the teacher and the child invites children to think, share ideas and assume confidence and skill in learning.

A Typical Day

Upon entering Longfellow, children and their families discover that the cozy quarters in which the preschool is situated provides a portal to the rich, varied, and stimulating environment of Mount Ida College. Longfellow children go on regualr "mini walking field trips" to visit the animals at the Center for Veterinary Technology and Science or to the gymnasium where they participate in the specially designed movement education class. They also visit the School of Design, where their artwork is displayed during our Annual Children's Art Show, and the campus pond, where they can explore the habitat of ducks and tadpoles. Special activities and events are also a part of our program planning. These include environmental science programs, puppet shows, and family breakfasts.

Daily Schedule:
8:30 Early Drop-Off Offered for Fee
9:00 A.M. Children arrive and are greeted by teachers. During nice weather children spend a short time outside before Morning Meeting.
9:30 - 9:40 A.M. Morning Meeting
9:40 - 10:30 A.M. Children begin self-directed activities
10:30 - 10:45 Clean-up and prepare for Circle
10:45 - 11:00 A.M. Circle Time
11:00 - 11:15 A.M. Wash hands/Snack
11:15 - 12:00 A.M. Outside play/dismissal: The children will have 30 minutes of outdoor physical activity each day. During inclement weather teachers will plan indoor physical activities during this time.

Extended Day
12:00 - 12:30 P.M. Outdoor curriculum/transition to inside
12:30 - 1:00 P.M. Wash hands/Lunch
1:00 - 1:30 P.M. Quiet activities/relaxation
1:30 - 3:00 P.M. Extended Day Model

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At Longfellow Preschool, children, teachers, parents, and the College community come together to form an interactive and collaborative union. Home and school collaboration is an important component of the total education of a young child. An open door policy prevails at Longfellow Preschool. Parents are always welcome to join the children's preschool day - sharing a story, a recipe, a holiday tradition, or participating in curriculum planning. The Parent Planning Committee, a volunteer group of parents interested in organizing activities that build and support the Longfellow community, is formed each year. Parental support is valued, from organizing community service projects, volunteering for a classroom activity, or supporting a fundraising endeavor. Through parents, grandparents, and other family members, we widen our world and foster an appreciation for the diverse cultures that our children will experience.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • 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:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

When school begins in September, children are given several days of orientation with parent involvement. Short days, small groups and parental support help children to make a comfortable and secure transition from home to school.