Our Mission and Philosophy
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Our Mission and Philosophy

Growing Place is committed to providing the young children of working families with an exceptional quality, all-day, year round early education program. We are a learning community sustained by a close collaboration of parents, teachers, and students.

We believe that children are competent learners, capable of engaging fully with ideas and the world around them. We are committed to hiring, developing and supporting the best teaching staff possible.

Teachers and children research and co-construct knowledge and foster curiosity, experimentation and the expression of ideas. Teachers use documentation of the process of learning to revisit the children’s ideas and to include parents in the life of the school. Through the continuing evolution and enrichment of Growing Place sites, we acknowledge the role of the environment in children’s development.

Growing Place believes that education should focus on each child in relation to a community of others, rather than each child in isolation. Our curriculum emphasizes the development of children’s social skills, including building friendships, respect for others, conflict resolution and advocating for one’s needs and ideas. Our goal is to promote self-esteem and problem-solving abilities, which helps children gain the confidence to face new experiences.

We value diversity as reflected in our tuition assistance program, curriculum and the tools our children learn to use to address each other’s differences. The Growing Place helps children develop a positive disposition toward learning, which provides a foundation for academic success. Through collaboration with other schools, agencies, and an extensive mentoring program for students of child development, we support the field of early education and our community.

Competent Children

Children As Capable

Growing Place is committed to providing the young children of working families with an exceptional quality, all-day, year round early education program. We are a learning community sustained by a close collaboration of parents, teachers, and students.

We believe that children are competent learners, capable of engaging fully with ideas and the world around them. We are committed to hiring, developing and supporting the best teaching staff possible.

Teachers and children research and co-construct knowledge and foster curiosity, experimentation and the expression of ideas. Teachers use documentation of the process of learning to revisit the children’s ideas and to include parents in the life of the school. Through the continuing evolution and enrichment of Growing Place sites, we acknowledge the role of the environment in children’s development.

Growing Place believes that education should focus on each child in relation to a community of others, rather than each child in isolation. Our curriculum emphasizes the development of children’s social skills, including building friendships, respect for others, conflict resolution and advocating for one’s needs and ideas. Our goal is to promote self-esteem and problem-solving abilities, which helps children gain the confidence to face new experiences.

We value diversity as reflected in our tuition assistance program, curriculum and the tools our children learn to use to address each other’s differences. The Growing Place helps children develop a positive disposition toward learning, which provides a foundation for academic success. Through collaboration with other schools, agencies, and an extensive mentoring program for students of child development, we support the field of early education and our community.

Working With Parents

Parents as Partners 

 

Parents play an important role not only in transmitting knowledge and values, but by providing the emotional base from which a secure child can move out into the world. Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. We see ourselves as partners and never replacements for parents. Since parenting is such a complex job, we offer support to parents in each stage of the child’s development.

  • We offer a parenting series with a variety of topics related to parenting young children, and host a Reflective Parenting class facilitated by Family Services of Santa Monica.
  • The tuition contract requires that all families participate in at least one school maintenance day, “Pitch-In” Day, and that each parent support with time, talents and resources. Parents are also required to contribute ten volunteer hours to the program annually. We seek meaningful engagement with parents and welcome parent’s talents.

The learning community we are today is built upon the commitment of the time, talents & resources that families have so generously shared with us.

Role Of The Teacher

The Role of our Teachers 

First and foremost the teacher is a keen observer of the children: listening and watching. Teachers notice the children’s competencies, ways of approaching the world, styles of interaction, preferred modalities for learning and support them to expand these as they encounter other children who may not share their perspective. She shares her observations on each child as a member of the group with her teaching team and with the parents of each child in a formal conference twice a year and informally all throughout the year.

 

The teacher assists children in making bridges to other children and adults in our school community. Our teachers encourage building relationships through shared experiences but also by teaching social skills, modeling problem solving, and providing language and strategies for conflict resolution. Our teachers slow things down so that the child can understand how their actions and words have effect. Teachers also provoke children into considering other ideas and strategies to expand their repertoire of skills and ideas.

 

Our teachers work with children in small groups and ask think starter questions rather than give answers to a child’s inquiry. As researchers along with children, our teachers are receptive to following the children’s lead in what to explore next.

To do this kind of teaching, the Growing Place staff is engaged in continuous reflection of their own work. All teachers must have a BA to be certified, and they continue their own growth by attending workshops, courses and visiting other schools using innovative practices. The teachers and staff are our most critical resource we have and they are the ones who make a difference in each child and each family’s experience in our programs.