Philosophy

During preschool years, children move from the family nest to a new world of learning, friends and teachers. This is an exciting time, but it can stir anxieties and questions for children and families.

boy with scissors i 300x199 Philosophy

A positive first-time experience with school will set the stage for future learning and the ability to make friends. With a team-based approach involving the parent, teacher and a child development specialist, Hanna Perkins gently guides the child through this transition.

Hanna Perkins’ philosophy is to invest wholeheartedly in these critical years. It’s a short period that will set the direction of a child’s entire life, and we are committed to helping parents and children get it right.

We do this by applying our 60-plus years of internationally renowned expertise in child development to create an empathic, respectful and nurturing environment for growth, learning and the development of emotional intelligence.

Development during the early years is the foundation on which all later abilities are realized – to learn, work, form healthy relationships and enjoy life. But each child is unique, bringing to school his or her own individual set of experiences and abilities.

That’s why our students receive the highest level of individualized attention through a unique partnership among parents, teacher and a dedicated child development specialist. This means more resources and expertise are focused on each child’s success.

In their early years, children form a sense of who they are and what they can do. A child who has developed secure, trusting relationships during these formative years is more likely to have the confidence to be inquisitive, explore and learn. Relationship-based interactions are also opportunities to support the ability of children to perceive, understand and use their emotions and emotional knowledge to enhance thinking.

Preschool children who have positive relationships with teachers tend to know more letters, have higher math scores, and demonstrate advanced language and literacy skills.

–Center for Social and Emotional Education; Hower and Tirchie, 2002; Gallagher and Mayer, 2008

Caring relationships and respect for feelings are central to all other learning. At Hanna Perkins School, we help children cultivate strong relationships with teachers and peers. Our program is built on empathy and respect – and working together with parents to help children make a good transition to school.

Essentials of our philosophy:

  • Preschool-age children are moving from dependence to independence.
  • Parents are the most important partners in a successful pre-school experience.
  • Success at this stage establishes a lifetime of important skills and behaviors.
  • Each child will manage this important time in his or her own way, and therefore requires a well-rounded and individualized approach to emotional intelligence and early learning.
  • Parents can use this time to gain important insights into their child’s development and non-verbal behavior.
  • Behavioral medication should not be a necessary part of early childhood development and learning.
  • Self control can be learned, and self-control leads to self esteem.
  • A child benefits most from an education that address four key areas: intellectual, physical, social-emotional and creative.
  • All children struggle at this age – with concerns ranging from scary dreams, to setbacks in toilet training, to trouble making friends. Working with the parents and child to address the underlying anxieties can make the pre-school years enjoyable as the child works to assert his or her independence.

Our educational model

We provide an individualized curriculum that meets the needs of the specific children in the group. There is a strong emphasis on self care, increasingly independent functioning, and the internalization of controls.

  • Language and writing skills are built into all aspects of the curriculum, frequently using teacher- and children-made books.
  • Numbers and math are taught using concrete materials, allowing the children to discover math concepts as they explore the wide variety of manipulatives provided.
  • Social studies, science and art are taught using an emergent-curriculum approach.
  • We help children put their feelings into words, use their own good thinking, and make choices based on what will make them feel good about themselves.

 Essentials of our educational model:

  • Small classes with a 6:1 student-teacher ratio, providing ample time for teachers to work with and understand children individually.
  • Teachers with extensive training based on emergent practices, ongoing research and a 60-year record of success.
  • Use of childhood development specialists as part of the educational team – providing more resources dedicated to each child.
  • Respect for each child as an individual with unique strengths and weaknesses, and a curriculum tailored to his or her specific needs.
  • Academic focus on language, reading, math and science skills through hands-on exploration of creative material.
  • Recognition of parents as the cornerstone of a child’s well-being.
  • Regular meetings with parent(s) to provide consistency from home to school.
  • Encouragement for each child to explore and master a variety of skill sets, while making limits and boundaries explicit so children develop their own inner controls.
  • Practices that empower children to resolve differences with others in cooperative and constructive ways.

The parent partnership

Parents know more than anyone else about their own child, and are respected at Hanna Perkins as the child’s first and most influential advocates and supporters. Parents are integrated into their child’s school life through regular meetings with a child development specialist. That means more resources and expertise are focused on each child’s success.

Our child development specialists are equipped with advanced degrees, extensive training, and many years of experience – placing them in a separate category from parent-coaching practices that have begun to sprout at other schools and pediatric clinics.

Our specialists meet with parents on a regular basis as part of the Hanna Perkins curriculum, and make routine visits to the classroom to observe progress and facilitate communication.  They can help parents to understand a child’s behavior by placing it in the appropriate developmental context. In this way, parents are able to gain a deeper understanding of a child’s motivations and behavior, and are empowered to help the child in effectively dealing with their daily challenges. Regular meetings with the Family Helper also allow parents with busy working schedules to find time to focus and reflect on their child’s progress.

All of this can help parents be more confident in the decisions they make – about school and every other aspect of their child’s life. In today’s world, many parents find that having someone to talk with about their child’s triumphs and struggles is a valuable resource. This holistic, family-based approach is one of the important factors that distinguishes us from other preschool programs, and allows classroom learning to have a true, long-lasting impact.

The best way to experience our programs is by visiting. To schedule a tour, please click here to contact our Educational Director.

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