When we set out to design our classrooms, the goal was to embrace, enhance and echo the Reggio Emilia approach and to support an emergent curriculum philosophy of education. Our classrooms are designed with large areas for projects to spread out and room for children to explore and discover. We add height and dimension to each room so children have a variety of spaces for multiple types of activities. We truly have created a learning laboratory!
Aesthetics is also an important part of our classroom design. Natural and artificial light introduce warmth and illumination. Warm wood tones, soothing wall colors, homey rugs and home-like decorative touches give our rooms a home away from home feel, making the children feel more comfortable and ready to learn. Plants and classroom animals give children opportunities to learn about caring for living things.
The classrooms are places where teachers, parents and children work and play together in a unique space, one that reflects their personal lives, their culture and their identity.
Our Outdoor Spaces...
Each classroom leads to the outdoor classroom or the courtyard, bringing inside and outside spaces together as one. The outdoor environments invite children to use imagination and creativity in their play as they learn important skills. Because we value children's connection to the outdoors for its many benefits, every class enjoys a large block of time outside.
Our "oudoor classroom" is a comprehensive, natural playscape meant to engage the children in micro-environments. Good Shepherd students play an active role in creating the outdoor space by helping to plant our garden, moving “loose parts” around such as logs and tires, and building structures with our Imagination Playground blocks. Children can choose to climb, ride trikes, play in our “mud kitchen”, dig under pergola vine-covered sand box, walk through our garden or hang out in the play house and wooden bus. In addition, our teachers work to make outdoor exploration time educational through dramatic play, art and science learning opportunities.
Our courtyard space is specially equiped with STEAM equipment (Science, Technology/Toosl, Engineering, Art and Math) and serves as a space for "large learning" like painting a mural, pitching a tent, or making giant block structures. It has it's own mini-garden, with a rain barrel the children use for watering the flowers, herbs and vegetables we grow throughout the year.
Children Have a Right to a Beautiful School...
In the practice of the Reggio Emilia approach, the environment is known as the “third teacher,”. Our classroom and outdoor spaces play a crucial role in the learning experience of the children. When you walk through our doors, you will sense this is a place of creative energy and caring, designed with children in mind. Our environment truly works for young children because we put much thought and intentionality into creating a place that develops the whole child. We’d love to give you a tour- check out our slideshows below!