"Our curriculum is a child centered approach. The school implements emergent curriculum focusing on Project Approach and Reggio Emilia. Teachers are observers; they document the topics that children discuss within the classroom, the materials they use, the questions they ask, and the areas in the classroom that are of interest to them. The teacher and students frequently meet to discuss their areas of interest and “brainstorm” regarding project work they would like to develop. This project work includes activities for each area of intelligence, based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate according to NAEYC criteria and includes reading and math readiness, science, art, music, multicultural, computer, large and fine motor work, and language. All work at South Hills reflects true child ownership. Children are free to create their own interpretations and choose from a variety of materials to work with, but teachers do provide photographs, models, or the “real experience” to guide their work and the learning process. This process of children’s learning is valued as much as the final product. The children’s art work is displayed throughout the room and in the hallways, foyer, and even outdoors! The children are immersed in print as they listen and “read along” to stories and poems, as they see environmental print throughout the room and school environment, as their stories and descriptions of their art work are written by dictation or invented spelling and displayed alongside their photographs and projects, and as their dialogues with their friends are displayed. The teachers spend much time observing the children and documenting what they say and do, which will later be used for assessment and for new ideas for the direction the curriculum will take. Throughout the projects, documentation takes many forms. Teachers photograph various stages of each project; the children or teacher journal the development of a project, or videotape the activities. The project can then be documented from beginning to end by the creation of a binder which is displayed in the classroom. This creates a sense of history, and an opportunity for children to “revisit” their projects.
Excerpted from the preschool's website