Our teachers are responsible for implementing our well-developed, high-quality program. All of our teachers have some formal teacher preparation experiences in early childhood education and training and continue to receive professional development experiences through their working with Little Wing. Our teachers are very keen observers of the individual interests and needs of each child, and they monitor and track the respective progress of each child and communicate with parents on a regular basis. They recognize signs of receptivity and readiness and prepare the environment accordingly to meet the child’s needs. They serve as guides, not as dictators, of children’s learning.
We believe that children learn best via sensory-rich, hands-on exploration of subject materials, rather than through traditional schooling methods, such as teacher lecturing and drilling and worksheets. Each classroom has a rich supply of learning materials for each area of the curriculum, and they are neatly arranged on low, open shelves so that children can access them independently. Teachers rotate some materials in and out as children’s needs and proficiencies change, and they introduce new items with new challenges. Our teachers are keen observers of the children and know when the time is right to encourage a child to take something further or to take more time with a particular subject or activity.
At Little Wing Preschool, we believe that competition in education should be introduced only after the child has gained confidence in the use of basic skills. We believe that a child should never be allowed to risk failure until they have been given a reasonable chance of success. Each child relates only to their previous work, and their progress is not compared to the achievement of other children or to artificial benchmarks. When children work in pairs or groups, they learn to work together toward a common goal, drawing on each other’s equally-valued contributions to achieve that goal.
Materials are introduced to the children one-on-one or in small groups by the teacher; after that, the children are welcome to work with the materials further on their own or with the teacher. The materials come with built-in error controls; for example, when a knobbed cylinder does not fit in a hole, the child easily perceives the error. Children are able to solve problems on their own, building independence, analytical thinking, and the satisfaction that comes from true accomplishment. As the child’s exploration continues, the materials interrelate and build upon each other.