Little Stars Learning is a small group in-home child care located in the greater Kansas City area. Many of my parent clients are former gifted and advanced students, who see the same potential and learning needs in their children.
I strongly believe that infants need to be held and played with as much as possible until 6 months. As of 4 months, we get them down for a lot of tummy time, and by 6 months they are spending more time on individual discovery. Infants have a curriculum based upon crossing-the-midline brain training, core strengthening, language acquisition, and sensory stimulation.
My philosophy is Reggio inspired, child-led, teacher-facilitated interactive learning through play and movement, with a lot of free time to create, explore and play with loose parts. My graduates are at the top of their respective classes, with most in gifted programs. I believe in a whole-body, 5 senses learning approach with stepped concept introduction. Children are not pushed, nor are they restrained in their learning. I attempt to keep within the very narrow window of optimum learning where they are challenged and interested, never frustrated nor bored. Since the children direct most of the learning direction, they have buy-in and ownership, leading to a great deal of emergent curriculum and topicality.
Worksheets are not actively utilized unless a child achieves studies at around a second grade level, when they become developmentally appropriate. Many of my graduates have been assessed for kindergarten at a 2nd and 3rd grade level. A few worksheet are also introduced in the last few months prior to leaving for kindergarten for experience.
Many Montessori-type activities are incorporated into our school. However, unlike in a traditional Montessori program where tasks are "taught" and "practiced," here, they are simply part of our day. For instance, a classic Montessori activity is to have a tray of small items to sweep into a small dust pan. Here, the children actually do sweep. They also mop, use a vacuum, and clean up all of their own messes to the best of their ability. Practice is done through performance. I strongly follow Maria Montessori's directive:
I believe that children are supremely competent. I do not expect them to perform above their developmental capability, but also do not expect them to perform BELOW it, either.
As in the Waldorf and Nature School philosophies, we are very keen on the integration of nature through pets, insect studies, our organic garden, sensory input from the flowers and herbs, and immersion in a variety of biomes within our outdoor space. We are very farm-to-table in our learning and eating. We also strive for a preponderance of natural elements within our school environment.
This is a collaborative school with students, parents, teacher and children's extended family all having a role in shaping the environment and direction of their learning path. The school environment, rules, and expectations are intended to be extended into the home environment.
This is not a school for parents who want to plop their children in front of a television at the end of the day, or let them run rampant.
Never do for a child what he can do for himself!
3rd Friday Dinner
Community is a core value of the Reggio Emalia philosphy. Parents are invited to hang out and socialize at the end of the day, and we have regular group dinners on the 3rd Friday of every month.