"Children enter The Learning Workshop with different experiences and abilities, learning at their own unique rates and in their own styles. Children's individual needs are met through individualized activities. These activities are designed to suit individual learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and processing styles (right-, left-, or whole-brained).
In addition to teacher-directed activities, children are given the opportunity to freely explore and play with materials. Child development experts refer to play as the work of the child. Through play–exploration, imitation, and imagination–children make sense of their world. Through play children develop symbolic thought. Understanding the concept that one item (a spoon or a scribble) can be used to represent another (a person or a word) is necessary to becoming literate.
Symbolic thinking is also encouraged when we provide opportunities for children to learn and express their learning through all of their communicative languages whether they be words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play, or music. For example, when exploring land forms children look at books, paint pictures, write stories or puppet shows, model in clay, act out and sing songs about mountains and other land forms. This provides multi-level understanding and honors all learning styles and intelligences.
During the exploration and representation of concepts and skills, children discuss their understandings with other members of the learning group. As children interact with and challenge each other, their thinking is expanded and solidified. It is in the process of exploring, experimenting, practicing, pretending, and discussing that children learn.
Understanding and mentally organizing experiences is a time-consuming process involving trial and error, practice, and refinement of skills and ideas. Therefore, students are given blocks of time to engage in their activities rather than being hurried from one activity to another. Independence and responsibility are fostered through child-initiated activities and expanded blocks of time which allow children to finish projects. The teacher's role throughout the process is to continue to provide models and stimulation, appreciate with enthusiasm each attempt, and offer the child specific feedback.
For children to be ready to learn, question, and explore, they must trust their group to accept them without ridicule, treat them with kindness, and respect their ideas and feelings. At The Learning Workshop we preserve each child's dignity and self-respect, confidence and curiosity, humor and patience, warmth and trust. Children are given opportunities to develop friendships by spending lots of time together, playing, working, and eating. Children have the opportunity to learn social skills and appropriate behavior by watching demonstrations, practicing, receiving feedback, and refining skills. Through discussions and activities we develop the values of service, non-violence, gentleness, flexibility, working the problem, confidence, respect, gratitude, optimism, effort, determination, responsibility, common sense, and self-reliance.
Excerpted from the preschool's website