School philosophy

The age when children have their first school experience is also the developmental stage when they begin wanting to learn how to manage themselves. They want to be big; they want to start behaving like the grownups around them.

This short period is both exciting and stressful, and it will set the direction of a child’s entire life. We’re committed to helping parents and children get it right. 

Children learn best when they are playing and having fun – at ease and free from worry. We help them in this through respect and validation for each child’s feelings, and by helping them learn self-advocacy at an early age.

Our program provides a positive first-school experience by surrounding children with a learning team of caring adults.

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.
  • Behavioral medication should not be needed in early childhood 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: social-emotional, intellectual, physical, 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 specificiStock_000011346867smallchildren 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 books created by the teachers and the children themselves.

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 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 learning 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.
  • 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 learning team

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 as members of a learning team that applies more resources and expertise to each child’s success than other traditional programs.

This can help parents feel more informed and confident in the decisions they make about school and other aspects of their child’s life.

This holistic, family-based approach is one of the important factors that distinguishes us from other programs, and allows classroom learning to have a true, long-lasting impact.

The other members of the team are:

Teacher: Our teachers are trained and credentialed, providing an excellent classroom experience while working as part of the team to identify, discuss and help address areas in which your child may need additional developmental support.

Child Development Specialist: Often referred to as a “Family Helper,” our child development specialists are equipped with advanced degrees, extensive training and many years of experience – placing them in a separate category from parent coaches at other schools and pediatric clinics. They meet with parents regularly and make routine visits to the classroom to observe progress and facilitate communication. This helps parents understand a child’s behavior by placing it in the appropriate developmental context, and allows parents with busy working schedules to find time to focus and reflect on their child’s progress.

Your child: Not only the focus of our work together, but an active and informed participant at an age-appropriate level.

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

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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